Foton - M4

Foton-M4 is a Russian microgravity research satellite that was launched successfully aboard a Russian Soyuz 2-1A launch vehicle from the Baikonur Cosmodrome on July 18, 2014.

Foton-M4 carried 22 experiments into space to study the effects of the harsh space environment on organisms and manufacturing materials, including marigold and corn seeds. After six weeks in orbit, the Foton-M4 descent module parachuted back to Earth and was recovered 1 September 2014.

Learn more about Foton-M4

Plant Growth Research Project

The purpose of the international plant growth research project is for students to compare the growth of seeds exposed to space radiation (space-based) to seeds not exposed to space radiation (land-based).

The current growth experiment runs from early February 2015 until plant harvest. For participating schools, use the following downloads for guidelines and harvest protocol.

Marigold experiment plan

Marigold harvest protocol

Collected Data




Kasaoka City, Okayama Prefecture Chuou Elementary School

United States

North Hollywood, California Campbell Hall School
Honolulu, Hawaii Punahou School
Wendover, Nevada West Wendover Junior High
Ephraim, Utah Ephraim Middle School
Gunnison, Utah Gunnison Valley Middle School
Gunnison, Utah Gunnison Valley High School
Logan, Utah Mount Logan Middle School
Logan, Utah Logan High School
Mt. Pleasant, Utah North Sanpete Middle School
North Davis, Utah North Davis Junior High
Salt Lake City, Utah Dual Immersion Academy
Vernal, Utah Eagle View Elementary
Wendover, Utah Wendover High School
West Valley, Utah West Valley High School

Foton-M4 is equipped with a data handling system that will collect and store payload data and provide a daily status summary that is downlinked to ground stations. Photo courtesy Tsenki

Foton-M4 satellite was launched July 18, 2015 atop a Soyuz 2-1A rocket blasting off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome. Photo courtesy Roscosmos

Foton-M4 retrieved September 2014. Photo courtesy Roscosmos