Photo Of The Day

Ham The AstroChimp Ham The AstroChimp After His Historic 1961 Suborbital Flight.

In 1956, a little chimp was born in Cameroon, West Africa, he was captured and sold to a Florida bird farm, which resold him to the United States Air Force.  The Air Force named him number 65, and his name was later changed to HAM, an acronym for, Holloman Aero-Medical, where he was prepared for … Mission In Space.

On the morning of January 31, 1961, in South Florida, Ham the  five year old chimpanzee, ate a breakfast of baby cereal, condensed milk, vitamins and half an egg, and then the unassuming 37 pound primate went out and made aeronautic history. Aboard an NASA space capsule, travelling thousands of miles an hour almost 160 miles above earth, Ham became the first chimp in space.

The success of Hams flight helped ratchet up even further, the frantic contest for scientific and space supremacy between the U.S and the Soviet Union – and it briefly made Ham a star, he appeared in a movie with Evel Knievel.

Ham lived at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C.  after the flight, and then moved to the North Carolina Zoo, where he died at the age of 26, in 1983.

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