Science Alert's These Are 7 of The Strangest Experiments Humans Have Ever Done in Space talks about two tortoises that flew aboard Zond-5 spacecraft on 2 September 1968, then later goes on to say:

We'd like to say that no one ever sent tortoises to space again, but... two more tortoise missions took place. Zond 7 in 1969 carried tortoises. In 1975, the Soyuz 20 spacecraft ferried a tortoise around for 90 days. And two tortoises flew on the Salyut-5 space station in 1976.

I count three more from the wording of that paragraph;

  1. Zond 7 in 1969
  2. Soyuz 20 in 1975 (which went to the Salyut-4 space station)
  3. Salyut-5 in 1976

Question: Have there been four Soviet missions with tortoise payloads in toto; Zond 5 and three more rather than two?


1 Answer 1

  • Bion-1 in 1973

  • Bion-2 in 1974

  • Bion-3 in 1975

http://biosputnik.imbp.ru/download/pdf/BION.pdf (20 pages, in both English and Russian)


  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Wow! The BION.pdf is excellent! I now realize that "turtle" and "tortoise" are nonscientific classifications and are somewhat interchangeable, in Russian; черепахи. I had a few pet Box Turtles when I was young, and it is hard for me to imagine them floating around an enclosure and "swimming" with any degree of success. Now I'm really curious about both why tortoises were studied to such an extent and the practicalities of their mobility. $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Commented Dec 30, 2020 at 22:21
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @uhoh I once read the memoirs so that turtles were mentioned. The reason is simple - turtles do not need to be fed for a long time. They can be easily fixed inside the spacecraft. And these turtles were caught in the steppe on the territory of the cosmodrome. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_tortoise $\endgroup$
    – A. Rumlin
    Commented Dec 31, 2020 at 6:26
  • $\begingroup$ Oh of course! Yes that certainly makes sense, they can be surprisingly comfortable static, no treadmills necessary for these creatures. $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Commented Dec 31, 2020 at 7:30

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