MOSCOW, April 19 (Xinhua) -- Russia launched Friday a satellite with over one hundred living creatures as its "crew," Federal space agency Roscosmos said.
"The Soyuz-2.1A rocket-carrier has been launched at 14:00 Moscow time (1000 GMT) from Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan," the Roscosmos website said.
The rocket has also placed six small communication satellites made in Germany, the United States, Republic of Korea on a near-earth orbit at an average altitude of 575 km.
Aboard the Bion-M vehicle are mice, lizards, snails as well as strains of bacteria, plants and seeds.
The 6,300-kg Bion-M vehicle will return to Earth on May 18 after over 70 experiments, Roscosmos said.
Prior to the launch, scientists had to replace a group of male mice after one mouse was killed by its fellows.
This is the first space flight of the small animals and plants after a six-year break. In September 2007, the Foton-M biological satellite spent 12 days on an orbit.