8 /10 Returning To Earth

His capsule landed in the Atlantic Ocean, and the USS Dover recovered him the same day after his flight into space.

He only received a small bruise on his nose as his sole injury. In total, his flight was 16 minutes and 39 seconds long.

Ham’s test flight results would later directly help Alan Shepard’s mission on May 5th, 1961, on Freedom 7.


7 /10 Flight Candidates For The Air Force

At the Holloman Air Force Base, 40 chimpanzee flight candidates were collected. After a series of tests, the number was reduced to 18, and then finally to six.

Ham was one of them. Before his flight, he was officially referred to No. 65 and then renamed to Ham after successfully returning to Earth.

The name Ham came from the Holloman Aerospace Medical Center letters. This occurred to limit bad press from the death of a chimpanzee with a name if the mission was unsuccessful.

He was also referred to as Chop Chop Chang by his handlers. The purpose of having the chimpanzees conduct tests was to determine if an astronaut could perform motor tasks in space.

As chimpanzees could behave similar to humans and have the same response time and organ placement, they could test out life-support systems and have them perform simple tasks in space.


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *