Astronomy and Space Travel Animals in Space Part 3

About the use of animals in space travel testing, names, species, crafts, the nations that sent them and the effects.


Date: Jan. 31, 1961

Name: Ham

Species: Male chimpanzee (3ft. tall, 40 lb.)

Spacecraft: Mercury-Redstone 2

Nation: U.S.

Ham was launched on a 16 1/2-minute "suborbital" flight down the Atlantic missile range after training at the Aeromedical Research Laboratory in New Mexico. He reached a maximum speed of 5,800 mph and a height of 156 mi., and was weightless for about 1/4 of the time. On launching, his rocket's thrust control jammed open, and due to overacceleration, Ham's landing site was off by 128 mi., his oxygen supply ran short, and he had to absorb two extra minutes plus three extra g's--14 instead of the expected 11--of crushing deceleration forces. During the flight, Ham was pinned by a nylon vest to his cushioned couch and was required to operate several levers correctly with his hands or be subjected to a 160-volt low-current electrical shock. Throughout the calamity, Ham continued to operate the levers successfully, receiving only three shocks. Ham's capsule was recovered by helicopters 414 mi. downrange from Cape Canaveral and delivered aboard the U.S.S. Donner, where he was rushed into medical examinations and declared unharmed and unshaken. Ham now resides at the Washington National Zoological Park.

Date: 1961

Name: Enos

Species: Male chimpanzee

Spacecraft: Unknown

Nation: U.S.

Enos successfully completed the first U.S. orbital flight and was, like Ham, required to pull levers throughout the two-orbit voyage. Enos pulled correctly and was to receive banana pellets and water. However, the circuitry became fouled up and he got many incorrect shocks. Although he was seen to bare his teeth at the lever each time he was unfairly shocked, Enos kept pulling the levers and even continued to enjoy banana pellets after recovering from his flight.

Date: Mar, 9, 1961

Name: Chavnushka

Species: Female Samoyed husky

Spacecraft: Sputnik 9--Spacecraft 4

Nation: U.S.S.R.

Chavnushka successfully completed one orbit and ate heartily throughout the voyage. As an important step leading to a manned flight, the main concern was to return Chavnushka in good condition from an elliptical orbit.

Date: Mar. 25, 1961

Name: Zvezdochka ("Little Star")

Species: Female Samoyed husky

Spacecraft: Sputnik 10--Spacecraft 5

Nation: U.S.S.R.

"Little Star," who successfully completed 17 orbits, was named by Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, whose historic flight followed hers on Apr. 12, 1961.

Date: Feb. 22,1966

Name: Veterok and Ugolyok ("Blackie" and "Breezy")

Species: Male Samoyed huskies

Spacecraft: Cosmos 110

Nation: U.S.S.R.

Veterok and Ugolyok, along with yeast mold, blood serum and albumin, chloral hydrates and bacteria, were sent out in preparation for manned flights further into space. During their record three weeks in orbit, their capsule made repeated passages through the radioactive Van Allen belts without benefit of the prohibitively heavy shields that were thought to be required for orbiting spacecraft. Veterok was given automatic injections of a drug to counteract the effects of radiation and weightlessness; Ugolyok was not. On return, Veterok and Ugolyok were weak and exhibited symptoms of dehydration as expected, but showed no ill effects from radiation. However, the prolonged period of weightlessness had allowed the blood and urine to absorb calcium from the bone, and both dogs suffered serious decalcification.

Although the U.S. has stopped sending chimps aloft, the U.S.S.R. intends to continue using dogs to test uncharted space routes, and will also include them on long-term future voyages, as companions to humans.

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