The First Chimp in Space
So, we’ve had humans, and we’ve had doggos sent out to space. You know there have been other animals too, of course. NASA and others have sent all kinds of life forms sent out to space – toads and cats and plants, oh my! On January 31, 1961, Ham became the first chimp in space. His name is an acronym for the Holloman Aeromedical Laboratory (Holloman Aero Med). The original flight plan called for a 115-mile altitude flight with speeds ranging up to 4400 mph, though technical issues led to poor Ham experiencing 157 miles of altitude and going as fast as 5857 miles per hour.
These technical issues also meant he landed about 422 miles farther than planned, but thankfully there were no severe issues beyond a bruised nose, some fatigue, and slight dehydration. Ham experienced 6.5 minutes of weightlessness during his 16.5-minute flight. After all the excitement of being an astrochimp, he got to live out the rest of his life in the North Carolina Zoological Park until he died in 1983. Most of his remains are buried in front of the International Space Hall of Fame in Alamogordo, New Mexico. However, the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology has kept his skeleton for ongoing examination.