Space History, a Half Century Ago: Little Joe-2

Fifty years ago today — December 4, 1959 — the “Little Joe-2” rocket launched from Wallops Flight Facility, Virginia, with a very special passenger: the rhesus monkey “Sam.”

(Rhesus monkey “Sam” in fiberglass protective shell. NASA image from Wikimedia Commons.)

Sam reached an altitude of over 50 miles and traveled nearly 200 miles downrange before landing in the Atlantic Ocean. The US Navy recovered Sam and the boilerplate Mercury capsule; here’s a link to a post-flight photo of Sam.

Lucky space monkey . . . .

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