Capsule, Mercury, MA-5

Display Status:

This object is not on display at the National Air and Space Museum. It is either on loan or in storage.

Collection Item Summary:

On November 29, 1961, the chimpanzee "Enos" made two orbits in this capsule on the Mercury-Atlas 5 (MA-5) mission. The flight followed the two American manned sub-orbital flights and the one-orbit, automated flight of a Mercury capsule on MA-4. MA-5 was the first orbital mission by an American primate. Because of a malfunctioning control jet and an overheated inverter, Enos was brought down after two orbits, instead of the three planned, but both problems could have been solved if an astronaut had been aboard. MA-5 met its two primary objectives, testing the spacecraft's environmental control system and the procedures for recovering an astronaut, and thus was considered a complete success. It paved the way for the first manned orbital flight, MA-6, by John Glenn in February 1962.

In September 1967 the Smithsonian received this artifact from the NASA Manned Spacecraft Center (now Johnson Space Center) in Houston.