Foton Capsule, Spacecraft
Foton is an unmanned recoverable spacecraft, designed and manufactured by TsSKB-Progress in Samara (Russia). Fifteen Fotons were launched between 1985 and 2007, initially from Plesetsk, later from Baikonur. The launch vehicle is a Soyuz-U. The reentry capsule is spherically shaped with a diameter of 2.3 m. Touchdown in the border zone of Russia and Kazakhstan. Payload consisting of scientific and technological experiments with often significant contributions from Western Europe. Power provided by batteries, flight duration therefore limited to 10–16 days. Orbital parameters: inclination 63°, period 90 min, orbital shape: near-circular, cruising altitude around 300 km. Foton has frequently been used for space exposure studies in astrobiology and astrochemistry (Biopan) as well as reentry experiments (Stone).