What Was the First Human Spaceflight Program of the United States and How Many Spaceflights Included Monkeys?

Project Mercury was the first human spaceflight program of the United States and ran from 1959 through 1963 at a cost of $384 million dollars.

Four of the Project Mercury spaceflights included monkeys, or non-human primates.

Sam, a Rhesus macaque, was launched on 4 December 1959 on Little Joe 2 to 85 km altitude.

Miss Sam, a Rhesus macaque, was launched on 21 January 1960 on Little Joe 1B to 15 km altitude.

In January 1961, the first Mercury was tested with a chimpanzee named Ham in a successful suborbital flight.

Ham survived.

Enos, a chimpanzee, was launched on 29 November 1961 on Mercury-Atlas 5 for a 2-orbit flight.

Several months later, astronaut Alan B. Shepard also survived a successful suborbital flight.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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