In January 1961, a three year old chimp named
Ham rocketed into
outer space and propelled the United States a step closer to the quest
for manned space flight. In November 1961, the five year old chimp
orbited Earth and paved the way for John Glenn's momentous flight. While
Ham and Enos received world wide attention, their triumphs were
quickly forgotten once their human counterparts acheived space travel.
Also forgotten was the remaining 141 astrochimps until a 1997 Air
Force announcement that the chimps would be "retired" from the space
Thirty of the chimponauts were retired to a primate sanctuary. One hundered
and eleven chimps were not "retired" but given to a biomedical research
facility to be used for experimental testing.
IS THIS THE WAY WE REWARD OUR SPACE
One Small Step will recount the early days of primate space flight and
will examine the status of the remaining astrochimp colony.