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Primate Flights

Mission # Date Occupant Comments
V-2 Number 37 11 Jun 1948 Albert (monkey) Died on impact
V-2 Number 47 14 Jun 1949 Albert II (monkey) Died on impact
V-2 Number 32 16 Sep 1949 Albert III (monkey) Died on impact
V-2 Number 31 8 Dec 1949 Albert IV (monkey) Died on impact
Aerobee USAF-12 18 Apr 1951 unnamed monkey Died on impact
Aerobee USAF-19 20 Sep 1951 Yorick (monkey) Survived, but died from heat exhaustion a few hours later
Aerobee USAF-26 22 May 1952 Patricia and Mike (monkeys)   
AM-13 Bioflight 1 13 Dec 1958 Gordo (monkey, aka Little Old Reliable) Sub-orbital, lost at sea
AM-18 Bioflight 2 28 May 1959 Able and Baker (monkeys) Sub-orbital
LJ-2 4 Dec 1959 Sam (a monkey) 53 miles
LJ-1B 21 Jan 1960 Miss Sam (a monkey) 9 miles
MR-2 31 Jan 1961 Ham the Chimp Sub-orbital
SP Pod 13 10 Nov 1961 Goliath (monkey) Atlas blew up
MA-5 29 Nov 1961 Enos the Chimp 2 Orbits
SP Pod 6 20 Dec 1961 Scatback (monkey) Sub-orbital, lost at sea
Biosatellite 3 29 Jun - 8 Jul 1969 Bonny (monkey) Orbital, became sick, died few hours after landing
Bion 6/Kosmos 1514 14 Dec 1983 Abrek and Bion (monkeys) Soviet life science satellite
5 day flight
Spacelab 3 (STS-51B) 29 Apr - 6 May 1985 No. 3165 and No. 384-80 (monkeys)   
Bion 7/Kosmos 1667 10 Jul 1985 Verny (Faithful) and Gordy (Proud) (monkeys) Soviet life science satellite
7 day flight
Bion 8/Kosmos 1887 29 Sep 1987 Yerosha (Drowsy) and Dryoma (Shaggy) (monkeys) Soviet life science satellite
13 day flight
Bion 9/Kosmos 2044 15 Sep 1989 Zhakonya and Zabiyaka (Troublemaker) (monkeys) Soviet life science satellite
14 day flight
Bion 10/Kosmos 2229 29 Dec 1992 Krosh (Tiny) and Ivasha (monkeys) Russian life science satellite
12 day flight
Bion 11 24 Dec 1996 Lapik and Multik (Cartoon) (monkeys) Russian life science satellite
14 day flight
Multik died durin post-landing checkup


sam.jpg (24993 bytes)
Credit - NASA
Sam, prepping for flight.
ham3.jpg (32768 bytes)
Credit - NASA
Ham with his trainer.
ham2.jpg (15942 bytes)
Credit - NASA
Ham, prior to his flight.
ham.jpg (69546 bytes)
Credit - NASA
Ham, after his sub-orbital flight.
enos.jpg (23436 bytes)
Credit - NASA
Enos prepping for flight.
enos2.jpg (17502 bytes)
Credit - NASA


The MR-2 flight of Ham lasted 16 minutes, 39 seconds, and travelled to an altitude of 157 statute miles. A malfunction of the booster caused Ham to experience 15 Gs on reentry instead of the expected 12 Gs. While awaiting pickup, the capsule began to leak and 800 lbs of seawater entered the capsule. Ham was recovered by a helicopter from the USS Donner. NASA personnel tried to get Ham back into his couch for a photo session several days after his flight, but he refused to go near it. Ham was later housed in the Washington National Zoo, then moved to a zoo in North Carolina where he eventually died of an enlarged heart on 17 January 1983. Ham was born in the French Camaroons in July 1957. His name was an acronym for Holloman Aero Med.

The MA-5 flight of Enos lasted 3 hours, 20 minutes, 59 seconds. Recovery was by the USS Stormes which arrived about a hour and 15 minutes after spashdown. Despite a malfunction in the reward system which caused Enos to be punished for correct actions and rewarded for errors, he performed flawlessly. Enos dies from a severe form of dysentery six months after his flight.

The Bion missions were launched by Russia (before 1992, the Soviet Union). Research partners have included (but were not limited to) Canada, China, the European Space Agency, France, Germany, and the United States.

Additional information in the form of videos is available from "ONE SMALL STEP: The Story of the Space Chimps".


Page last modified: 16 August 2015 14:51:57.