60 Years Since The First Chimp Flew In Space

On January 31 1961, Ham was the first terrestrial being to be launched into orbit and return safely to the Earth.

At a boot camp for captured chimpanzees, dubbed “astrochimps”, were trained to pull levers, with a banana pellet as a reward and an electric shock to the feet for failure. The chosen chimp would test life support systems and demonstrate that equipment could be operated during spaceflight.

Ham showed great aptitude, and was selected the day before the flight. Incredibly, the flight lasted a mere 16 minutes, with almost seven minutes weightless.

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