The re-entry module of the Foton-M2 spacecraft, which has been in low-Earth orbit for the last 16 days made a successful landing today in an uninhabited area 140 km south-east of the town of Kostanay in Kazakhstan, close to the Russian border at 09:37 Central European Time, 13:37 local time.
The unmanned Foton-M spacecraft, which was launched on 31 May from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, carried a European payload of 385 kg covering 39 experiments in fluid physics, biology, crystal growth, meteoritics, radiation dosimetry and exobiology.
All de-orbit to landing procedures went according to plan beginning with the jettison of the Foton-M2 battery module three hours prior to landing. At an altitude of about 300 kilometres, travelling at 7.8 km/s and 30 minutes prior to landing, the retro-rocket situated on the Foton service module was fired for 45 seconds slowing the spacecraft down to reduce its altitude. The Foton-M2 service module was hereafter separated from the re-entry module and, as planned, burnt up in Earth’s atmosphere.
Dieter Isakeit | EurekAlert!
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