Icarus lifts off

The Icarus on-board computer, the first component of the global animal observatory system, has gone into space

After the launch of a Soyuz 2 rocket scheduled for October 12 was postponed by two days, the carrier rocket yesterday docked with the ISS. On board: the Icarus board 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.

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

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