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Biocapsule, Primate


Display Status:

This object is on display in the Apollo to the Moon exhibition at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC.

Collection Item Summary:

This biocapsule carried Able, a female rhesus monkey, during the first flight to recover a primate from space. On May 28, 1959, an Army Ballistic Missile Agency Jupiter rocket at Cape Canaveral launched Able and Baker (a female squirrel monkey housed in a separate capsule) in its nose cone. Their biomedical condition was monitored throughout the flight as part of Department of Defense experiments to determine the effects of spaceflight on living animals. They reached an altitude of approximately 300 miles, a maximum speed of 10,000 mph, and were recovered alive some 1,500 miles downrange by U.S. Navy ships. The flight provided important biomedical data for the human spaceflight program. The capsule was built by the Army Ballistic Missile Agency, which transferred it to NASM in 1960.

Collection Item Long Description:

Data Source

National Air and Space Museum


Do not reproduce without permission from the Smithsonian Institution, National Air and Space Museum

Credit Line

Transferred from U.S. Army Ballistic Missile Agency


  • Components: Plastic
  • Overall - Aluminum
  • Wiring - Copper, Steel


  • 3-D (Body): 111.8 × 66 × 92.1cm (44 × 26 × 36 1/4 in.)
  • 3-D (Lid): 10.5 × 49.5cm (4 1/8 × 19 1/2 in.)

Country of Origin

United States of America


SPACECRAFT-Manned-Test Vehicles

Inventory Number