Monkey, Able

    Able (monkey) in Apollo to the Moon

    The capsule and couch used by one of America's first spacefarers, a rhesus monkey named Able, is displayed in Apollo to the Moon. Able and a companion squirrel monkey named Baker were placed inside a Jupiter missile nose cone and launched on a test flight in May 1959.

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This is Able, a preserved female rhesus monkey. Born in Independence, Kansas, she flew inside a Jupiter nose cone with Baker, a female squirrel monkey on May 28, 1959, in an Army experiment designed to test the biomedical effects of space travel. Launched from Cape Canaveral, they reached a maximum altitude of 300 miles and travelled downrange 2,000 miles at speeds reaching 10,000 mph before reentering the Earth's atmosphere and being recovered by Navy ships. Both monkeys survived the trip well, but Able died from the anesthesia during a routine post-flight operation.

The Army transferred Able to NASM in 1960 and the National Museum of Natural History preserved her.