Saturday, May 30, 2009

Primates in space - 50-year anniversary

On 28 May 1959, two monkeys named Able and Baker were strapped into a compatment of a modified Jupiter missile nose cone and launched into space on a suborbital mission lasting 16 minutes. Both survived the flight, although Able died a few days later of an unrelated cause.
The Air Force, years earlier, had tried giving monkeys rides in modified V-2 nosecones, but it didn't work out well. A NASA history says one monkey flight featured a malfunction of the mecahnism for separating the primate's parachute-euipped capsule and resulted in "No ill effects on money until impact of V-2."

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