A "Project Mercury" space craft - combining and 83 ft Redstone rocket and a space capsule containing a chimpanzee - was launched from Cape Canaveral, Jan 31, as a final step towards manned space flight.
SV & CU Chimpanzee "Ham"
Sequence shots of "Ham" being presented for capsule
Sequence shot of "Ham" in capsule
Sequence shot of capsule taken away and placed in rocket
Sequence shots of reporter and cameramen
GV Rocket, countdown and rocket away
Two shots of radar scanners
GV Rocket into space
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Background: A "Project Mercury" space craft - combining and 83 ft Redstone rocket and a space capsule containing a chimpanzee - was launched from Cape Canaveral, Jan 31, as a final step towards manned space flight.
Wearing a baby's nappy underneath his space suit, the chimpanzee - one of six trained for the job - was strapped in a plastic cradle, fitted into the capsule, and hoisted to the top of the rocket.
After a delay of nearly four hours, caused by loosened springs in the missile's tail assembly, the launching went off as planned. The 37 1/2 lb monkey hurtled through the skies at a top speed of 5,000 miles an hour, and was subjected to forces equivalent to 12 times the pull of gravity as his space craft slowed down. By pulling signal levers in answer to flashing lights, the chimpanzee showed observers on the ground that he was untroubled by these forces and five minutes of weightlessness. The whole flight took 15 minutes.
Due to unexpectedly high rocket thrust, the capsule soared to an altitude of 155 miles and overshot the intended 290-miles range by 130 miles. The nearest ship was some hours away, and recovery, by the landing ship "Donna", was not made until the evening. The chimp - officially known as "No 65" and subsequently christened "Ham" - was reported alive and well.