After her role in the Mercury program ended, Minnie became part of an Air Force chimpanzee breeding program, producing nine offspring and helping to raise the offspring of several other members of the chimpanzee colony. Take your favorite fandoms with you and never miss a beat. Ham had his vital signs and tasks monitored using computers on Earth. Ham the Chimp was one of the chimpanzees specially trained by NASA rocket scientists to fly in tests of American space capsules. [7]:315 Ham's lever-pushing performance in space was only a fraction of a second slower than on Earth, demonstrating that tasks could be performed in space.

[13], On January 31, 1961, Ham was secured in a Project Mercury mission designated MR-2 and launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on a suborbital flight. Ham's remains, minus the skeleton, were buried at the International Space Hall of Fame in Alamogordo, New Mexico. After evaluation, the number of candidates was reduced to 18, then to six, including Ham. Originally called subject 65 due to the reluctance to send a named chimp into space if anything were to go wrong, Ham was sent on the suborbital flight on the 31 st of January, 1961. Ham joined the ranks of fruit flies and dogs in the pantheon of space test animals. [1][12]:314–315 [7]:314–315 During the mission, the Mercury capsule lost pressure, but Ham was saved by his space suit. (NASA) In reality, the original Ham was selected from 40 chimps brought to New Mexico by the Air Force in 1959. On January 31, 1961, the chimp, dressed in a mini space suit, was launched aboard a Mercury-Redstone rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida. During his sub-orbital flight, computers on the ground measured normal vital signs, letting mission control know their brave chimp was alive. However, this plan was abandoned after a negative public reaction. Ham (July 1956 – January 19, 1983), also known as Ham the Chimp and Ham the Astrochimp, was a chimpanzee and the first hominid launched into space, on 31 January 1961, as part of America's space program. [6], Ham's backup, Minnie, was the only female chimpanzee trained for the Mercury program. Sign up for our Newsletter and get weird news and exclusive offers to Ripley's, delivered straight to your inbox! [3][4], Ham was born in July 1957 in French Cameroon (now Cameroon),[5][6] captured by animal trappers and sent to Rare Bird Farm in Miami, Florida. [12]:315 Ham's lever-pushing performance in space was only a fraction of a second slower than on Earth, demonstrating that tasks could be performed in space. On January 31, 1961, Ham flew a suborbital flight on the Mercury-Redstone 2 mission, part of the U.S. space program's Project Mercury. Ham fitted into a special biopack couch prior to flight to space. In his pre-flight training, Ham was taught to push a lever within five seconds of seeing a flashing blue light; failure to do so resulted in an application of positive punishment in the form of a mild electric shock to the soles of his feet, while a correct response earned him a banana pellet. After her role in the Mercury program ended, Minnie became part of an Air Force chimpanzee breeding program, producing nine offspring and helping to raise the offspring of several other members of the chimpanzee colony.

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