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Ham (chimpanzee)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Ham
Ham in January 1961, just before his suborbital flight into space
SpeciesCommon chimpanzee
SexMale
BornJuly 1957 (1957-07)
French Cameroon
DiedJanuary 19, 1983(1983-01-19) (aged 25)
North Carolina Zoo, North Carolina, U.S.
Resting placeMuseum of Space History New Mexico
Known forFirst hominid in space

Ham (July 1957 – January 19, 1983), a chimpanzee also known as Ham the Chimp and Ham the Astrochimp, was the first great ape launched into space. On January 31, 1961, Ham flew a suborbital flight on the Mercury-Redstone 2 mission, part of the U.S. space program's Project Mercury.[1][2]

Ham's name is an acronym for the laboratory that prepared him for his historic mission—the Holloman Aerospace Medical Center, located at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico, southwest of Alamogordo. His name was also in honor of the commander of Holloman Aeromedical Laboratory, Lieutenant Colonel Hamilton "Ham" Blackshear.[3][4]

YouTube Encyclopedic

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  • The Tragic Tale of Ham the Chimp
  • What Happened to Ham in Space? *Sad Story of Ham*
  • Ham the Astro-Chimp
  • HAM was the first chimp in space, 1961
  • The Story Of Ham: 1st Chimp In Space

Transcription

Early life

Ham was born in July 1957 in French Cameroon,[5][6] captured by animal trappers and sent to the Rare Bird Farm in Miami, Florida. He was purchased by the United States Air Force and brought to Holloman Air Force Base in July 1959.[5] Ham was sold to the United States Air Force for $457.[7]

There were originally 40 chimpanzee flight candidates at Holloman. After evaluation, the number of candidates was reduced to 18, then to six, including Ham.[8]: 245–246  Officially, Ham was known as No. 65 before his flight,[9] and only renamed "Ham" upon his successful return to Earth. This was reportedly because officials did not want the bad press that would come from the death of a "named" chimpanzee if the mission were a failure.[10] Among his handlers, No. 65 had been known as "Chop Chop Chang".[11][10]

Ham being given a physical examination by a doctor in 1961.

Training and mission

Launch of Ham's mission, January 31, 1961
Ham and his trainer, Joseph V. Brady

Beginning in July 1959, the two-year-old chimpanzee was trained under the direction of neuroscientist Joseph V. Brady at Holloman Air Force Base Aero-Medical Field Laboratory to do simple, timed tasks in response to electric lights and sounds.[12] During his pre-flight training, Ham was taught to push a lever within five seconds of seeing a flashing blue light; failure to do so resulted in an application of a light electric shock to the soles of his feet, while a correct response earned him a banana pellet.[13]: 312  Ham was trained for 219 hours during a 15-month period.[14]: 21 

While Ham was the first great ape, he was not the first animal to go to space, as there were many other types of animals that left Earth's atmosphere before him. However, none of these other animals could provide the significant insight that Ham could provide. One of the reasons that a chimpanzee was chosen for this mission was because of their many similarities to humans. Some of their similarities include: similar organ placement inside the body and having a response time to a stimulus that was very similar to that of humans (just a couple of deciseconds slower). Through the observations of Ham scientists would gain a better understanding of the possibility of sending humans into space.[9]

Ham receives an apple following his successful recovery from the Atlantic

On January 31, 1961, Ham was secured in a Project Mercury mission designated MR-2 and launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on a suborbital flight.[1][13]: 314–315  Based on dental eruption, Ham was 44 months old at the time of the flight.[14]: 21 

A number of physiological sensors were used to monitor the vital signs (electrocardiogram, respiration, and body temperature) of Ham.[15]: 25  A commercial rectal thermistor probe was used instead of the probe used on the human Mercury astronauts.[16][15]: 27  The probe was inserted 8 inches deep into Ham's rectum.[15]: 27  The physiological sensors were placed on Ham about 10 hours before liftoff.[17]: 9  Ham's ability to complete tasks during the flight were assessed by the psychomotor apparatus.[18]: 15  The apparatus gave Ham a visual cue in the form of colored lights and required a response from two levers; if he succeed in his task, drink and food pellet would be awarded; failure would be punished by a shock to the soles of his feet.[18]: 15–16 

Due to a valve malfunction, the Redstone rocket delivered thrust higher than intended.[19] The anomaly triggered the emergency escape rocket and subjected Ham to 17g's of acceleration.[19] The jettison of the spent escape rocket also caused the retro rocket pack to be prematurely jettisoned.[19] The lack of the retro rocket caused the capsule to reenter the atmosphere with excessive speed.[19] Ham was subjected to 14.7 g's during reentry.[19] Ham's capsule splashed down in the Atlantic Ocean and was recovered by the USS Donner later that day.[13]: 316  The capsule was damaged during splashdown and settled deeper in the water than designed.[19]

The post flight examination found a small abrasion on the bridge of Ham's nose; he was also dehydrated and lost 5.37% body weight; he was otherwise in good physical condition.[15]: 29  His flight was 16 minutes and 39 seconds long.[20] He would become agitated when the press approached him and panic when his handler would try to situate him into a capsule for photos.[21]: 316, 576 

Ham's lever-pushing performance in space was only a fraction of a second slower than on Earth, demonstrating that tasks could be performed in space.[13]: 316  Of the two shocks Ham received in flight, the one shortly after the launch was due to an error in the testing apparatus; the other one due to the lack of response after experiencing 14g deceleration during reentry.[14]: 22–23  The results from his test flight led directly to Alan Shepard's May 5, 1961, suborbital flight aboard Freedom 7.[22]

Later life

Ham is greeted by the commander of the recovery ship after his flight
The Mercury-Redstone 2 capsule that carried Ham to space on display at the California Science Center in Los Angeles, California
Ham's grave at the New Mexico Museum of Space History in Alamogordo, New Mexico

Ham retired from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in 1963.[23] On April 5, 1963, Ham was transferred to the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. where he lived for 17 years[8]: 255–257  before joining a small group of chimps at North Carolina Zoo on September 25, 1980.[24]

Ham suffered from chronic heart and liver disease.[23] On January 19, 1983, at age 25, Ham died.[25] After his death, Ham's body was given to the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology for necropsy. Following the necropsy, the plan was to have him stuffed and placed on display at the Smithsonian Institution, following Soviet precedent with pioneering space dogs Belka and Strelka. However, this plan was abandoned after a negative public reaction.[26] Ham's skeleton is held in the collection of the National Museum of Health and Medicine, Silver Spring, Maryland,[6] and the rest of Ham's remains were buried at the International Space Hall of Fame in Alamogordo, New Mexico. Colonel John Stapp gave the eulogy at the memorial service.[27]

Ham's backup, Minnie, was the only female chimpanzee trained for the Mercury program. After her role in the Mercury program ended, Minnie became part of an Air Force chimpanzee breeding program, producing nine offspring and helping to raise the offspring of several other members of the chimpanzee colony.[8]: 258–259  She was the last surviving astro-chimpanzee and died at age 41 on March 14, 1998.[8]: 259 

Cultural references

  • Ray Allen & The Embers released the song "Ham the Space Monkey" in 1961.
  • Tom Wolfe's 1979 book The Right Stuff depicts Ham's spaceflight,[28] as do its 1983 film and 2020 TV adaptations.
  • The 2001 film Race to Space is a fictionalized version of Ham's story; the chimpanzee in the film is named "Mac".[29]
  • In 2007, a French documentary made in association with Animal Planet, Ham—Astrochimp #65, tells the story of Ham as witnessed by Jeff, who took care of Ham until his departure from the Air Force base after the success of the mission. It is also known as Ham: A Chimp into Space / Ham, un chimpanzé dans l'espace.[30]
  • The 2008 3D animated film Space Chimps follows anthropomorphic chimpanzees and their adventures in space. The primary protagonist is named Ham III, depicted as the grandson of Ham.[31]
  • In 2008, Bark Hide and Horn, a folk-rock band from Portland, Oregon, released a song titled "Ham the Astrochimp", detailing the journey of Ham from his perspective.[32]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b "Chimp survives 420-mile ride into space". Lewiston Morning Tribune. Idaho. Associated Press. February 1, 1961. p. 1.
  2. ^ "Chimp sent out on flight over Atlantic". The Bulletin. Bend, Oregon. UPI. January 31, 1961. p. 1.
  3. ^ Swenson Jr., Loyd S.; Grimwood, James M.; Alexander, Charles C. (1989). "This New Ocean: A History of Project Mercury". NASA History Series. NASA Special Publication-4201. Retrieved November 10, 2017.
  4. ^ Brown, Laura J. (November 13, 1997). "Obituary: NASA Medical director Hamilton 'Ham' Blackshear". Florida Today. Retrieved November 10, 2017.
  5. ^ a b Gray, Tara (1998). "A Brief History of Animals in Space". National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Retrieved May 12, 2008.
  6. ^ a b Nicholls, Henry (February 7, 2011). "Cameroon's Gagarin: The Afterlife of Ham the Astrochimp". Archived from the original on August 1, 2020. Retrieved January 12, 2014.
  7. ^ Nicholls, Henry (January 30, 2011). "The chimp that took America into space". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved January 24, 2024.
  8. ^ a b c d Burgess, Colin; Dubbs, Chris (January 24, 2007). Animals in Space: From Research Rockets to the Space Shuttle. Springer-Praxis Books in Space Exploration. ISBN 978-0-387-36053-9. OCLC 77256557.
  9. ^ a b Hanser, Kathleen (November 10, 2015). "Mercury Primate Capsule and Ham the Astrochimp". airandspace.si.edu. Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum. Archived from the original on May 20, 2018. Retrieved May 20, 2018.
  10. ^ a b Haraway, Donna (1989). Primate Visions: Gender, Race, and Nature in the World of Modern Science. New York: Routledge. p. 138.
  11. ^ "Chop Chop Chang Commemorative Patch (HAM the Astrochimp)". Retrorocket Emblems. Archived from the original on May 20, 2018. Retrieved May 20, 2018.
  12. ^ House, George (April–June 1991). "Project Mercury's First Passengers". Spacelog. 8 (2): 4–5. ISSN 1072-8171. OCLC 18058232.
  13. ^ a b c d Swenson Jr., Loyd S.; Grimwood, James M.; Alexander, Charles C. (1966). This New Ocean: A History of Project Mercury. NASA History Series. National Aeronautics and Space Administration. OCLC 00569889. Retrieved May 11, 2008.
  14. ^ a b c Rohles, Frederick H. Jr.; Grunzke, Marvin E.; Belleville, Richard E. (1963). "Performance Aspects of the MR-2 Flight". In Henry, James; Mosely, John (eds.). Results of the Project Mercury Ballistic and Orbital Chimpanzee Flights. Washington, D.C.: Office of Scientific and Technical Information. pp. 21–24.
  15. ^ a b c d Ward, William E.; Britz, William E. Jr. (1963). "Medical and Physical Aspects of the MR-2 Flight". In Henry, James; Mosely, John (eds.). Results of the Project Mercury Ballistic and Orbital Chimpanzee Flights. Washington, D.C.: Office of Scientific and Technical Information. pp. 25–32.
  16. ^ Wheelwright, Charles D. (1962). Physiological sensors for use in Project Mercury (Technical report). National Aeronautics and Space Administration. 3-5.
  17. ^ Stingely, Norman E.; Mosely, John D.; Wheelwright, Charles D. (1963). "MR-2 Operations". In Henry, James; Mosely, John (eds.). Results of the Project Mercury Ballistic and Orbital Chimpanzee Flights. Washington, D.C.: Office of Scientific and Technical Information. pp. 7–13.
  18. ^ a b Brown, E. J.; Iwan, R. D. (1963). "Behavioral Apparatus for the MR-2 and MR-5 Flights". In Henry, James; Mosely, John (eds.). Results of the Project Mercury Ballistic and Orbital Chimpanzee Flights. Washington, D.C.: Office of Scientific and Technical Information. pp. 15–19.
  19. ^ a b c d e f Burgess, Colin (2014). Burgess, Colin (ed.). Freedom 7: The Historic Flight of Alan B. Shepard, Jr. Springer Praxis Books. Cham: Springer International Publishing. pp. 29–64. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-01156-1_2. ISBN 978-3-319-01156-1.
  20. ^ "NASA Project Mercury Mission MR-2". National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Archived from the original on September 1, 2000. Retrieved May 11, 2008.
  21. ^ Alexander, C. C.; Grimwood, J. M.; Swenson, L. S. (January 1, 1966). "Tests Versus Time in the Race for Space". This New Ocean. A History of Project Mercury.
  22. ^ Burgess, Colin (2014). "The Mercury flight of chimpanzee Ham" (PDF). Freedom 7. Springer. pp. 58–59. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-01156-1_2. ISBN 978-3-319-01155-4.
  23. ^ a b Schierkolk, Andrea (July 2015). "HAM, A Space Pioneer". Military Medicine. 180 (7): 835 – via Oxford Academic.
  24. ^ "Ham the astrochimp: hero or victim?". The Guardian. December 16, 2013.
  25. ^ "Ham, First Chimp in Space, Dies in a Carolina Zoo at 26". The New York Times. January 20, 1983. ProQuest 122119079.
  26. ^ Schierkolk, Andrea (July 2015). "HAM, A Space Pioneer". Military Medicine. 180 (7): 836. doi:10.7205/MILMED-D-15-00033. PMID 26126257.
  27. ^ Roach, Mary (2010). Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void. Norton. pp. 160–163. ISBN 978-0393068474.
  28. ^ Wolfe, Tom (March 4, 2008). The Right Stuff. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. p. 178. ISBN 9781429961325.
  29. ^ Foundas, Scott (March 14, 2002). "Race to Space". Variety. Retrieved January 30, 2019.
  30. ^ Kerviel, Sylvie (July 13, 2007). "Ham, un chimpanzé dans l'espace". Le Monde (in French). Retrieved January 30, 2019.
  31. ^ Space Chimps at AllMovie
  32. ^ For Melville, With Love Archived February 24, 2021, at the Wayback Machine, by Ezra Ace Caraeff, August 14, 2008, Portland Mercury

Further reading

  • Farbman, Melinda; Gaillard, Frye (June 2000) [2000]. Spacechimp: NASA's Ape in Space. Countdown to Space. Berkeley Heights, New Jersey: Enslow Publishers. ISBN 978-0-7660-1478-7. OCLC 42080118. Brief biography of Ham, aimed at children ages 9–12.
  • Rosenstein, Andrew (July 2008). Flyboy: The All-True Adventures of a NASA Space Chimp. Windham, Maine: Yellow Crane Press. ISBN 978-0-9758825-2-8. A novel about Ham and his trainer.
  • Burgess, Colin; Dubbs, Chris (January 24, 2007). Animals in Space: From Research Rockets to the Space Shuttle. Springer-Praxis Books. ISBN 978-0-387-36053-9. Book covering the life and flight of Ham, plus other space animals.

External links

This page was last edited on 26 April 2024, at 05:40
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