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Zenit - Korolyov's Legacy


Tyneside, UK
2020 Aug 14
Friday, Day 227

Maintained by:



















Foton-M Missions

Photon-M is an updated version of the original photon spacecraft carrying over systems from newer versions of the Zenit, on which it is based.

The Photon-M 4 mission was a hybrid design that uses a Zenit-type recoverable cabin attached to a Yantar instrument unit. Although it contained elements of Zenit, it is not included here because it is a radical design change rather than an evolution of earlier models.


Photon-M 1 (Foton M-1)              
2002 Oct 15, 18:20 UTC
Plesetsk Cosmodrome
Soyuz-U
Microgravity research satellite based on the Zenit imaging satellite with cameras replaced by the research payload. Uprated version of the earlier Foton. Carrying 600 kg of European, US, Canadian, Japanese and Indonesian experiments. Lost when the launch vehicle's first-stage Block-D strap-on booster separated from the launch vehicle and fell back onto the pad about 30s after lift-off. There was a fatality as a result of falling debris from the subsequent explosion. The launch was delayed from 2002 Oct 9.
Not Recovered

Photon-M 2 (Foton M-2)       2005-020A       28686
2005 May 31, 12:00 UTC
Baikonur Cosmodrome
Soyuz-U
2005 May 31:  259 x 292 km,  63.0 deg,  90.1 min
Microgravity research satellite based on the Zenit imaging satellite elements of both Zenit-2M and Zenit-4MKT with cameras replaced by the research payload. Uprated version of the earlier Foton. Carrying 385 kg payload of 39 experiments provided by the European Space Agency. Retro-fire was quoted by ESA as lasting for 45s and the landing was near Kustanai. The mission was to have included the Fotino re-enty capsule but it was removed from the manifest shortly before launch for budgetary reasons.
Landed:
2005 Jun 25, 07:37
VHF Transmit:
239.500 MHz, FM

Photon-M 3 (Foton M-3)       2007-040A       32058
2007 Sep 14, 11:00 UTC
Baikonur Cosmodrome
Soyuz-U
2007 Sep 14:  260 x 281 km,  63.0 deg,  90.0 min
Microgravity research satellite based on the Zenit imaging satellite with cameras replaced by the research payload. Uprated version of the earlier Foton. Carrying approx 400 kg payload of 40 experiments provided by the European Space Agency. Included was the YES-2 tether that successfully unreeled but signals were not received from the attached Fotino capsule so it is unknown whether it re-entered successfully. Foton M-3 Landed 150 km south of Kustanai and a search helicopter touched down nearby six minutes later.
Landed:
2007 Sep 26, 07:58
VHF Transmit:
239.500 MHz, FM


Page date: 2011 September
Descriptions updated 2019 September

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