Ham the Chimp
Date Of Birth:
Date Of Death:
19 January 1983
Place Of Birth:
Best Known As:
America's first chimpanzee in space
Ham the Chimp was one of the chimpanzees specially trained by NASA rocket scientists to fly in tests of American space capsules. On January 31, 1961, Ham blasted off from Cape Canaveral and traveled 157 miles in a Mercury capsule before splashing down in the Atlantic ocean. The trip took 16.5 minutes in all. The first American human astronaut, Alan Shepard, followed Ham into space three months later. After his flight, Ham lived at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. for 17 years before finally passing away at a zoo in North Carolina in 1983.
Ham the Chimp was not the first animal in space. That honor goes to Laika the dog, who was sent into orbit by the Soviet Union in 1957.
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