THE ABLE EXPERIMENT
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.
The Able Experiment was a project of the U.S. Army Medical Research and