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Enos (chimpanzee)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Mercury-Atlas 5 Enos with handler (cropped).jpg
Enos, the only chimpanzee and third primate to orbit the Earth
DiedNovember 4, 1962
Notable roleOnly chimpanzee to achieve Earth orbit
Years active1960–1962
Enos being prepared for insertion into the Mercury-Atlas 5 capsule in 1961.
Enos being prepared for insertion into the Mercury-Atlas 5 capsule in 1961.
Enos’ space capsule during the Mercury-Atlas 5 mission, on display at the Museum of Life and Science, in Durham, North Carolina
Enos’ space capsule during the Mercury-Atlas 5 mission, on display at the Museum of Life and Science, in Durham, North Carolina

Enos (died November 4, 1962) was the second chimpanzee launched into space by NASA. He was the first and only chimpanzee, and third hominid after cosmonauts Yuri Gagarin and Gherman Titov, to achieve Earth orbit. Enos's flight occurred on November 29, 1961.[1]

Enos was brought from the Miami Rare Bird Farm on April 3, 1960. He completed more than 1,250 training hours at the University of Kentucky and Holloman Air Force Base. Training was more intense for him than for his predecessor Ham, who had become the first great ape in space in January, 1961, because Enos was exposed to weightlessness and higher gs for longer periods of time. His training included psychomotor instruction and aircraft flights.[citation needed]

Enos was selected for his Project Mercury flight only three days before launch. Two months prior, NASA launched Mercury-Atlas 4 on September 13, 1961, to conduct an identical mission with a "crewman simulator" on board. Enos flew into space aboard Mercury-Atlas 5 on November 29, 1961. He completed his first orbit in 1 hour and 28.5 minutes.[2]

Enos was scheduled to complete three orbits, but the mission was aborted after two due to two issues: capsule overheating and a malfunctioning "avoidance conditioning" test subjecting the primate to 76 electrical shocks.

The capsule was brought aboard USS Stormes in the late afternoon and Enos was immediately taken below deck by his Air Force handlers. Stormes arrived in Bermuda the next day.[citation needed]

Enos's flight was a full dress rehearsal for the next Mercury launch on February 20, 1962, which would make John Glenn the first American to orbit Earth, after astronauts Alan Shepard, Jr. and Gus Grissom's successful suborbital space flights.

On November 4, 1962, Enos died of shigellosis-related dysentery, which was resistant to then-known antibiotics. He was constantly observed for two months before his death. Pathologists reported no symptoms that could be attributed or related to his previous space flight. Many believe[who?] Enos's remains were dissected like Ham, who was extensively studied postmortem at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology.

Some of Ham's remains, minus the skeleton (which remained with AIP), were buried at the International Space Hall of Fame in New Mexico. Later attempts by space scholars to locate Enos's remains were unsuccessful. A post-mortem study was undertaken. His remains were then packed and sent to the Smithsonian Institution according to James E. Cook, a veterinary pathologist who was involved in Enos's autopsy and was also the Head of the Chimp Consortium at Holloman AFB at the time of Enos's death.[citation needed]

See also


  1. ^ "Operational Trouble Shortens Chimp's Ride". The Daily Advertiser. Lafayette, Louisiana. Associated Press. November 29, 1961. p. 1 – via
  2. ^ Animals In Space: From Research Rockets to the Space Shuttle, Chris Dubbs and Colin Burgess, 2007

External links

This page was last edited on 25 March 2022, at 03:20
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