Primate Rescue Center

The 50th Anniversary of Ham the Chimpanzee’s Space Flight

April Truitt January 31, 2011

Born and captured by trappers in Cameroon, Ham was one of 40 chimpanzees purchased by the Air Force and used to test flight equipment at Holloman Air Force Base. The Chosen One, Ham launched into space aboard the Mercury-Redstone rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida, so engineers could test his vital signs. Upon his successful return, Ham spent 17 years living at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., and a second zoo in North Carolina before his death in 1983.

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