Experience acquired during BIOBOX design, first operative flight and refurbishment activities 941379
BIOBOX is an ESA Incubator Facility able to accommodate a variety of biological experiment in a controlled, predetermined temperature environment. It has been designed as a Payload for the unmanned Russian satellites of the BION, FOTON and RESURS families.
The first operative flight took place in December 1992. Some anomalies prevented the mission to be a complete success. A study was initiated by ESA Microgravity Division to identify the causes of the anomalies and to take the needed countermeasures to avoid they will occur again on future flights. The study was performed jointly by ESA/ESTEC and the Industry by means of theoretical analyses and tests.
The results indicated that the main cause of the anomalies was the harsh thermal environment determined by the lack of eclipses during the mission time. However, they also pointed out to the need for refurbishment and design improvements of the original design of the facility.