Non-binding pre-order for basic ICARUS satellite tags

Published by admin on Wed, 03/16/2016 - 13:51

The experimental and not-for-profit ICARUS animal tracking system will be launched to the ISS in early spring 2017. Non-binding pre-orders for basic ICARUS tags are being accepted now with the aim to provide sufficient numbers of tags immediately after the system is operational (late spring/early summer 2017). The tag specifications are available here.
Current design plans also include an ear tag for mammals and an aquatic/marine popup tag. Stay tuned – more information coming in summer 2016.

In short, basic ICARUS tags weigh <5 grams and in average solar conditions get 12 GPS points per day, as well as 3D-acceleration, 3D-magnetometer and temperature data. Expect one daily transmission of these data via satellite. Additional data (at good sunlight conditions) are written into the tag's memory for later readout with a portable base station.

The approximate costs will be:

  • 500-700 € / basic ICARUS tag (price depends on number of pre-orders)
  • 150 € annual service fee per tag for the ICARUS User Data Center

Once operational, ICARUS data will be available in your private and password-secured Movebank account. Thanks to the bi-directional communication link, ICARUS tags can be re-programmed via your web-interface to the ICARUS User Data Center. The ICARUS data are expected to become public after 1-3 years in The Movebank Data Repository, similar to other remote sensing data, except for sensitive data (ICARUS data policy will soon be announced).

Please follow the link below to pre-order basic ICARUS tags now to ensure you will be part of the first delivery of tag:

ICARUS Cosmonaut Training has started

Published by Max Planck Institute on Wed, 01/10/2018 - 09:48

End of December 2017 Russian News confirmed: The ICARUS cosmonaut training has started. 

"The members of the new crew of ISS-56 in the Center of training cosmonauts trained to go into space to install on an external surface of the station equipment of the ICARUS experiment for the study of migrations of wild animals, the release may take place after may 2018, according to the message of the cosmonaut training Center (CTC) named after Gagarin."

Read more:

ICARUS lifts off

Published by Max Planck Institute on Sat, 10/14/2017 - 13:38

At 10:46 CET today, a Soyuz-2 rocket lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Its cargo includes the Icarus onboard computer, the future brain of the German-Russian animal observation system.

The central computer unit of Icarus will be installed in the pressurized cabin of the ISS international space station’s Russian module. In future, it will be responsible for decoding the signals received by the Icarus antenna and separating the different data streams from each other.

The plan is for the onboard computer to be connected and switched on after the antenna goes into operation at the beginning of February 2018. The researchers working with Martin Wikelski from the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology can then test the communication chain between the onboard computer and the user data centre on Earth for the first time and – if necessary – remedy any teething troubles.

A new era in behaviour research is dawning with the Icarus global animal observation system of Martin Wikelski from the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology. Researchers will then be able to observe the migration of small animals around the globe, investigate the spread of diseases, and maybe even forecast natural disasters.


The next steps for ICARUS are already planned:

  • Dec. 2017:                       Short functional tests and packing of the Antenna Block at RSCE/Moscow
  • Jan. 2018:                        Shipment of the ICARUS equipment to Baikonur and pre-launch tests
  • Jan. 2018:                        Start of the crew training in Moscow
  • 11. Feb. 2018:                  Launch of the Antenna Block at Baikonur
  • March/Apr. 2018:             Flight of the trained Cosmonauts to the ISS
  • May/July 2018:                 EVA (Space Walk) and implementation of the ICARUS hardware at the ISS, Russian MS-Module
  • July 2018:                         Start of the ICARUS operational phase


More information at

1.ICARUS user workshop and successful tag testing, 23.-24.09.2017 in Konstanz

Published by Max Planck Institute on Wed, 09/27/2017 - 10:39

More than 80 international scientists from all over the world attended the 1.ICARUS user workshop from 23.-24.09. at the Konzil in Konstanz where we had a first and successful testing of the ICARUS tag prototype.

Testing of the ICARUS flight hardware successfully finalized

Published by Max Planck Institute on Fri, 06/02/2017 - 14:00

All partners (Roscosmos, DLR, RSCE, STI, MPIO and I-GOS) met from 29.5.-2.6.2017 at Lake Constance to hold the German part of the acceptance test of the ICARUS flight model. The ICARUS hardware will now be shipped to Moscow for the final tests in July. Ready for launch, the ICARUS flight model will then be transported to Baikonur approximately one month prior to the launch in October.