Saturday, May 28, 2005

The First Chimp in Space Comes Back

The First Chimp in Space Comes Back

The First Chimp in Space Comes Back (2000)

From Fifties Web Pop History:

Able, a seven-pound female rhesus monkey, and Baker, a one-pound female spider monkey were launched into space on May 28, 1959 in the nose cone of JUPITER Missile AM-18.

They reached an altitude of 300 miles and a distance of 1500 miles while traveling at speeds over 10,000 miles per hour on their brief trip into space. They successfully withstood forces 38 times the normal pull of gravity on earth and were weightless for approximately 9 minutes. This mission marked the first successful recovery of living beings after their return from space.

Able and Baker were unharmed after their 15 minute space flight. But a couple of months later, Able died from effects of anesthesia given for removal of electrodes they had implanted. Baker survived a similar operation.

Able in Repose

"My morphine drip has a major malfunction..."

From NASM-- Apollo to the Moon:

Able's fiberglass couch, lined with polyurethane foam, held her in a position similar to that which was to be used by the Mercury astronauts. During the flight, a 16-mm movie camera photographed Able, while her biological reactions were telemetered to ground recording stations.

As part of a physiological experiment, scientists planned to have the rhesus monkey press a telegraph key (under the right paw) when a light flashed. The rhesus monkeys initially trained for the mission, though, were born in India where the rhesus is sacred and are not used as experimental animals. To avoid diplomatic repercussions, the American-born Able was substituted, two weeks before the mission. As she did not have time to learn her drill, the experiment was cancelled.
Baker died on Nov. 29, 1984, in Huntsville, AL., of kidney failure at the age of 27.

From Pixies/Debaser -- lyrics from "Monkey Gone to Heaven" by the Pixies:

The creature in the sky
Got sucked in a hole
Now there's a hole in the sky
And the ground's not cold
And if the ground's not cold
Everything is gonna burn
We'll all take turns
I'll get mine, too

From Operation Crossroads: Bikini Atoll -- Naval Art from the Atomic Bomb Tests:

Operation Crossroads was an atmospheric nuclear weapon test series conducted in the summer of 1946 at Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands. The series consisted of two detonations, a low altitude test and a shallow water test. The devices, each with a yield of 21 kilotons, were named shots ABLE and BAKER. A planned third test, a deep underwater detonation, was canceled after the second test.

The series was intended to study the effects of nuclear weapons on warships, equipment, and material. These tests would provide important information on the survivability of warships in the event of nuclear war. Both the Navy and the Army Air Forces were, given the possible budgetary effects of such tests, very interested in the outcome of these experiments. From a scientific point of view, technical experiments were also planned on nuclear weapon explosion phenomena and radiation contamination.

[...]

That blowed up real good

Plus 1 Second, Carlisle and Gillian Transports Take It
on the Bottom
by Grant Powers (1946)

Do to a bombing error, the ABLE device exploded almost directly over the attack transport USS Gillian (APA-57). It was flattened by the force of the blast and sank in under one minute. USS Carlisle (APA-69) was tossed about 150 yards by the blast. Battered and on fire, the ship sank in flames shortly thereafter. To the right is former Japanese cruiser Sakawa, which sank the next day following severe superstructure and hull damage.

A monkey is now strapped into a desk chair in the Oval Office. And Star Wars isn't on the screen. It's playing on the skies over our heads.

And as Lou Reed and John Cale sing in their song "Open House" from Songs for Drella:

Fly me to the moon, fly me to a star
But there are no stars in the New York sky
They're all on the ground

Houston -- we have a problem...

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