Russia on Friday successfully launched the Bion-M1 satellite with various species of animals on board on Friday, said federal space agency Roscosmos.

The Bion-M1 launched from Baikonur, Kazakhstan, is laden with 45 mice, eight Mongolian gerbils, 15 geckos, snails, fish eggs, plants and various microorganisms.

The bio capsule carried by the powerful Soyuz 2 rocket is the world's only returnable satellite.

Bion-M1 scheduled to orbit space for 30 days will conduct various physiological, biological and genetic experiments regarding the future possibility of flights to Mars and other planets.

The bacteria and fungi were attached to a heat resistant material with tiny holes on the outer skin of the capsule. The microbes will be subjected to extreme temperatures and space vacuum.

The satellite is also carrying smaller satellites from US, Germany, Korea which will be released in the coming days for their respective missions.

BION-M1's advanced solar panels, larger fuel tanks and better life support techniques allows it to survive in space for three months.

The biological satellite is slated to return earth on 18 May following the completion of 70 experiments.

Just before the take off, three male mice had to be replaced as one of them were killed in an aggressive fight.

BION-M1 is Russia second biological satellite to be sent to space after a gap of 15 years.