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Ham the Chimp... 1st into space...



Item # 571981

January 31, 1961

LEOMINSTER DAILY ENTERPRISE, Massachusetts, January 31, 1961 

* Ham the Chimp 
* 1st into space 
* Mercury-Redstone 2 space flight
 

This 8 page newspaper has a one column headline on the front page: "Space Ride For Chimp Is Delayed"

Tells of the very 1st hominid to be launched into outer space.

Other news of the day throughout. Minor spine wear, otherwise in good condition.

wikipedia notes
: Ham was born July 1956 in Cameroon, captured by animal trappers and sent to Rare Bird Farm in Miami, Florida. He was purchased by the United States Air Force and brought to Holloman Air Force Base in 1959.[1]

There were originally 40 chimpanzee flight candidates at Holloman. After evaluation the number of candidates was reduced to 18, then to 6 including Ham. Officially, Ham was known as #65 before his flight, and only renamed "Ham" upon his successful return to earth. This was reportedly because officials did not want the bad press that would come from the death of a "named" chimpanzee if the mission were a failure. Among his handlers, #65 had been known as Chop Chop Chang.

Beginning in July 1959, the two-year-old chimpanzee was trained at the Holloman Air Force Base Aero Medical Field Laboratory to do simple, timed tasks in response to electric lights and sounds.[5] 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 would result 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.[6]:243 After all of the training, it was time to find out whether he could function under the stress and pressure that comes with space travel. What differentiates Ham's mission from all the other primate flights to this point is that he was not merely a passenger, and the results from his test flight led directly to the mission Alan Shepard would make on May 5, 1961 aboard the Freedom 7. On January 31, 1961, Ham was secured in a Project Mercury capsule labeled MR-2 and launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, into outer space.[6]:314-315 Ham had his vital signs and tasks monitored using computers back on Earth.[7] The capsule suffered a partial loss of pressure during the flight, but Ham's space suit prevented him from suffering any harm.[6]: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.[6]:316 Ham's capsule splashed down in the Atlantic Ocean and was recovered by a rescue ship later that day.[6]:316 He only suffered a bruised nose. His flight was 16 minutes and 39 seconds long.

Ten months later, another chimp, named Enos, successfully orbited the earth. This was several months after Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin's orbital flight and Shepard and Grissom's suborbital flights, but before US astronaut John Glenn's orbital flight aboard Mercury's Friendship 7.

Category: The 20th Century

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