This Day In History – Ham The Chimp Traveled Into Outer Space – Mike Swanson (01/31/2018)

On January 31, 1961 the chimpanzee survived the US Mercury Program test flight with just a bruised nose.

From Wikipedia:

After the flight, Ham lived for 17 years in the National Zoo in Washington, D.C.,[5] before joining a small group of captive chimps at North Carolina Zoo.[13]

After his death in 1983, Ham’s body was turned over to the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology for necropsy. Following the necropsy, the plan was to have him stuffed and placed on display at the Smithsonian, following Soviet precedent with pioneering space dogs Belka and Strelka. However, this plan was abandoned after a negative public reaction. Ham’s remains, minus the skeleton, were buried at the International Space Hall of Fame in Alamogordo, New Mexico. Colonel John Stapp gave the eulogy at the memorial service.[14] The skeleton is held in the collection of the National Museum of Health and Medicine.[4]

Ham’s backup, Minnie, was the only female chimpanzee trained for the Mercury program. 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.[5]: She was the last surviving astro-chimpanzee and died at age 41 on March 14, 1998.[5]:

Share This Post