Ham, the Chimponaut


Christoph B.            

             HAM Stamp


Astrochimp Ham was carried into space aboard MERCURY-REDSTONE 2. The purpose of this suborbital flight was to test the operational capabilities of the MERCURY capsule's systems in a space environment. Ham survived the mission safely, paving the way for the May 5, 1961 suborbital flight of astronaut Alan B. Shepard. When people tried to put Ham back into his capsule one day after the flight, it turned out that Ham had probably been traumatised.

The first American human to orbit the earth, John Glenn, was rewarded with a seat in the U.S. Senate. Ham's reward was an apple.

After his space mission, Ham lived in the National Zoo in Washington, DC, for 17 years. Fretting animal activists worried that he languished there, a lonely superstar with a single tire hanging from his ceiling. So in 1981 Ham was moved to a zoo in North Carolina. There he socialized with other chimps, and found a special lady chimp to love. He died, peacefully, of old age on January 19, 1983, at age 27.

Ham's body was shipped west, and is buried in the front lawn of the International Space Hall of Fame in Alamogordo, NM, under the first slab of natural-tone concrete poured in Otero County.


Created March 2002, by Andreas Aste.
Back to the personal homepage