Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Able and Baker fly into space

On May 28, 1959, aboard the JUPITER AM-18, Able, a rhesus monkey, and Miss Baker, a squirrel monkey, became the first monkeys to successfully return to Earth after traveling in space.

Able was born at the Ralph Mitchell Zoo in Independence, Kansas.

They travelled in excess of 16,000 km/h, and withstood 38 g (373 m/s²).

Able died June 1, 1959 while undergoing surgery to remove an infected medical electrode, from a reaction to the anesthesia.

Baker died November 29, 1984 at the age of 27 and is buried on the grounds of the United States Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

Able was preserved, and is now on display at the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum.

Their names were taken from a phonetic alphabet.

...Miss Baker wore a tiny helmet lined with rubber and chamois leather plus a tiny jacket for launch, in addition to a respiration meter affixed to her nose with model cement, and she was fitted into a snug capsule of shoebox size, 9¾ x 12½ x 6¾ inches (24.8 x 31.8 x 17.1 cm) insulated with rubber and fiberglass. Life support was an oxygen bottle with a pressure valve, and lithium hydroxide to absorb moisture.

On May 28, 1959, at 2:39 A.M., a Jupiter rocket lofted Miss Baker and Miss Able to an altitude of 300 miles (480 km) through an acceleration of 38 gs for a 16-minute flight which also included 9 minutes of weightlessness. The flight traveled 1,500 miles (2,400 km) downrange from the pad at Cape Canaveral launch complex 26B to the Atlantic Ocean near Puerto Rico where the capsule was recovered by USS Kiowa...

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