First chimpanzee in space. Ham, the first chimpanzee in space, with recovery ship Commander after his suborbital test flight. On January 31, 1961, a Mercury-Redstone rocket carrying the chimpanzee was launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, USA. The rocket reached a peak of 254 kilometres above the Earth. During the flight, Ham had to pull a lever in response to a flashing light. After a 16.5 minute flight, the Mercury capsule landed and Ham was recovered alive. NASA launched several animals in test flights before launching the first American astronaut, Alan Shepard, on 5th May 1961. Image taken 31st January 1961.
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