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. 

https://spaceflightnow.com/2017/10/14/soyuz-progress-ms-07-launch/

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
  • 13. Feb. 2018:                  Launch of the Antenna Block at Baikonur
  • March/Apr. 2018:             Flight of the trained Cosmonauts to the ISS
  • May 2018:                        EVA (Space Walk) and implementation of the ICARUS hardware at the ISS, Russian MS-Module
  • May/June 2018:               Start of the ICARUS operational phase

 

More information at www.animal-sensors.mpg.de/en