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Primate Flights

Mission #
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)
4 Dec 1959
Sam (a monkey)
53 miles
21 Jan 1960
Miss Sam (a monkey)
9 miles
31 Jan 1961
Ham the Chimp
SP Pod 13
10 Nov 1961
Goliath (monkey)
Atlas blew up
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 splashdown. 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.

* - "Chimp to Space" originated in 1958 at the Holloman Aeromedical Laboratory in New Mexico. There were 65 chimpanzees who began training in 1959. Six chimpanzees (two male, four female) were taken to Cape Canaveral in January of 1961. Chimp Number 65, also known as Chop Chop Chang, was also given the name "Ham" (after Holloman Aeromedical Laboratory) during his 1961 flight. Number 85 was also know as Enos. Minnie is the only other chimpanzee of the group about which any real record exists. She died in 1998, age 41, having had nine offspring.

Additional information: The Astrochimps (Air Force Magazine, 1 Sept. 2011


Page last modified: 28 October 2023 20:00:33.