A US Army Jupiter missile, taking two female monkeys for a 1,500 mile space ride - and bringing them back safely - was filmed May 28 by Visnews as it left the Cape Canaveral firing range.
LV. Missile on pad.
SV.PAN.Fired and booster rocket drops away.
LV. Booster dropping.
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Background: A US Army Jupiter missile, taking two female monkeys for a 1,500 mile space ride - and bringing them back safely - was filmed May 28 by Visnews as it left the Cape Canaveral firing range.
The monkeys, 'Able' and 'Baker', first living creatures to be hurled into space and brought back alive, were put in capsules at the base of missile's nose cone. Then the tiny passengers began their epoch-making fifteen-minute journey, travelling to an altitude of 300 miles. The rocket reached a top speed of 10,000 m.p.h.
It was known one minute before the monkeys landed (92-minutes after firing) - between 30 and 60 miles north of Antigua - that they were well and alive. US Navy tugboats were waiting five miles away to recover the rocket cone.
'Able, a 7-lb American-born rhesus monkey was clothed in a special protective space suit and helmet, and placed in a 250-lb capsule. She was trained to perform physical movements in flight and operate scientific instruments.
'Baker', a 1-lb squirrel monkey, in a plastic helmet over a chamois cap, made the trip in a small box. Both monkeys were strapped to a rubber bed on a specially designed couch.
Two days (May 30) after the flight, the monkeys returned to Washington for a Press Conference. They are now under observation for "flight-reaction." A number of animals have survived rocket journeys - but none has penetrated as far as 'Able' and 'Baker'. Last August Russia claimed two dogs had been brought back to earth by parachute after a journey of 281 miles into space.
This achievement is the first step of "Project Mercury", the American plan to put man into space, possibly in 1961.