"100 YEARS OF LI.ST" (1961) 🕰

Inspired by @jakebrandman
  1. On January 31, NASA launches a Mercury-Redstone 2 rocket into space.
  2. It's a test flight of the Project Mercury capsule, designed to carry United States astronauts into space.
  3. Americans are riveted.
  4. Why?
    Because of the rocket's passenger.
  5. Meet America's first astronaut, Ham.
  6. He flies alone.
  7. He is Ham Solo, badass space chimp. #swagger
  8. Ham undergoes rigorous testing to prepare for his mission. The three-year-old is trained under the direction of neuroscientists to do simple, timed tasks in response to electric lights and sounds.
  9. The 37-pound primate receives medical testing to be sure he can handle the rigors of space flight.
  10. Ham even learns to talk with the media.
  11. Unlike previous primate space flights, Ham is not merely a passenger, and the results from his flight lead directly to Alan Shepard's space mission aboard Freedom 7 four months later, on May 5.
  12. Ham's lever-pushing performance in space is only a fraction of a second slower than on Earth, demonstrating that tasks can be performed in the weightlessness of space.
  13. Ham the Astrochimp's suborbital space flight lasts 16 minutes and 39 seconds.
  14. After his flight, Ham is greeted with a handshake by the commander of the recovery ship, USS Donner, in the Atlantic Ocean.
  15. Ham suffers a bruised nose while in space. I like to think it was from pushing his face against the window glass to see a sight no man had ever seen:
  16. Ham will move on to a career in Hollywood. (Just kidding! After flight, Ham lives for another 17 years in the National Zoo in Washington, D.C.)
  17. Ham's grave at the New Mexico Museum of Space History in Alamogordo, New Mexico. Rest in peace, AstroChimp: July 1956 – January 19, 1983
  18. Ham the Space Chimp!
    The first hominid in space!