On July 18, 2014 at 20:50 UTC the “Soyuz-2.1a” rocket-carrier was launched from Baykonur Cosmodrome. The rocket orbited the “Foton” retrievable Russian satellite.
The “Foton” is due to spend up to 60 days in orbit, hosting 22 experiments supplied by Russian and German institutions probing questions in biological and materials sciences. A high-flying package of live animals, plant seeds, and materials samples are aboard the spaceship. When the mission is complete, the spacecraft will break apart and its spherical landing capsule -- fitted with a heat shield -- will return to Earth with a parachute-assisted landing in Russia.