Ham, Astronaut Chimpanzee Comes to NZP

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Ham, the chimpanzee astronaut, is retired by the United States Air Force and enters the National Zoological Park's ape quarters. On January 31, 1961, Ham soared through space for 16.5 minutes in a capsule boosted by an 83-foot Redstone rocket. This test cleared the way for flights of human astronauts in the U.S. Project Mercury Space Program.


  • Ham
  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration)
  • National Zoological Park (U.S.)
  • United States Air Force


Chronology of Smithsonian History


Annual Report of the Smithsonian Institution for the year 1963. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1964, p. 107.

Contact information

Institutional History Division, Smithsonian Institution Archives, 600 Maryland Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20024-2520, SIHistory@si.edu


April 5, 1963


  • Astronautics
  • Astronauts

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