This medal was awarded posthumously by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to Able, a Rhesus monkey. Able, along with Baker (both Squirrel monkeys) were the first two animals sent into space by the United States to test the effect of space travel on humans. On May 28, 1959, the two monkeys rode in a specially-configured Jupiter nose cone for a distance of almost 2,000 miles. During the flight, the monkeys experienced 9 minutes of weightlessness and nearly 40 times the normal force of gravity. The two animals were monitored constantly throughout the flight and were recovered in good condition. Able died shortly thereafter from the effects of surgery for a condition unrelated to the flight.
The medal was transferred directly to the National Collection from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals at the time of the ceremony accepting Able and the capsule from the U.S. Army Ballistic Missile Agency in 1960.
Gift of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals