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  May 28, 1959: Remembering Able and Baker

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Author Topic:   May 28, 1959: Remembering Able and Baker
Chris Dubbs
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Posts: 143
From: Edinboro, PA USA
Registered: Nov 2004

posted 05-27-2009 11:15 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Chris Dubbs   Click Here to Email Chris Dubbs     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Get ready at midnight to toast the 50th anniversary of the Able-Baker monkey flight, May 28, 1959. It was the first successful US flight to take animals to space and return them alive. National Public Radio's "Morning Edition" radio show will do a segment on it tomorrow.

ColinBurgess
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Posts: 1567
From: Sydney, Australia
Registered: Sep 2003

posted 05-27-2009 03:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ColinBurgess   Click Here to Email ColinBurgess     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Here's to the memory of Able and Baker, but also to the little squirrel monkey Gordo who accomplished a similar mission into space five months earlier, but whose spacecraft was lost at sea after splashdown.

50 years? Goodness me. Where have those years gone?

Cliff Lentz
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Posts: 639
From: Philadelphia, PA USA
Registered: Mar 2002

posted 05-27-2009 06:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Cliff Lentz   Click Here to Email Cliff Lentz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I made my pilgrimage to Miss Baker's grave site a few years back at Space Camp. Several counselors told me about her lazy mate, George who is buried next to her near the entrance to the Rocket Center.

My first trip to Space Camp in 1989, the museum had a display of live spider monkeys. I don't know if they were offsprings, but I was able to help feed them since I'm an early riser and would sneak in the main hall everyday before it was open to the public.

sts205cdr
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Posts: 534
From: Sacramento, CA
Registered: Jun 2001

posted 05-27-2009 06:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for sts205cdr   Click Here to Email sts205cdr     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I always leave a banana on Miss Baker's tombstone when I'm attending Space Camp.

mikej
Member

Posts: 374
From: Germantown, WI USA
Registered: Jan 2004

posted 05-28-2009 07:13 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for mikej   Click Here to Email mikej     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have a photo of Miss Baker's grave on my web site.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 05-28-2009 07:34 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Fast Company: 50th Anniversary of Space-Monkey Success
Fifty years ago, two girls, Able and Baker, went to space. After their brief spaceflight on May 28, 1959, the two pioneers were hailed as heroes and made the cover of LIFE, which lauded them as America's Space Travelers. Able, a seven-pound rhesus monkey, and Baker, a one-pound squirrel monkey, paved the way for the modern astronaut--they were the first primates to survive the trip to space as well as the landing.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 05-28-2009 08:35 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Chris Dubbs:
National Public Radio's "Morning Edition" radio show will do a segment on it tomorrow.
NPR: After 50 Years, Space Monkeys Not Forgotten
Able and Baker were not the first living creatures to return to Earth alive from space, although that myth seems to be out there, says Chris Dubbs, co-author of the book Animals in Space: From Research Rockets to the Space Shuttle.

In 1947, the United States sent up fruit flies, which were the first living things to travel into space, Dubbs says. "And then they started sending monkeys."

sts205cdr
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Posts: 534
From: Sacramento, CA
Registered: Jun 2001

posted 05-28-2009 10:45 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for sts205cdr   Click Here to Email sts205cdr     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In 1947, the United States sent up fruit flies, which were the first living things to travel into space, Dubbs says.
To be completely accurate, the first living animals in space were bacteria (and who knows what else) on the V-2s launched during WWII.

Joe Frasketi
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Posts: 182
From: Florida USA
Registered: Aug 2003

posted 05-28-2009 01:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Joe Frasketi   Click Here to Email Joe Frasketi     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Though its been 50 years ago and my memory had dimmed I do remember working this particular space flight since it was one of the early animal flights, I was a telemetry technician manning the radio receivers at the Grand Turk AAF Tracking station, one of the many stations of the Atlantic Missile Range.

Being a cover collector as well as an autograph collector, I tried something different, which is obtaining the footprint of Miss Baker in 1968. At that time she was living at the Naval Aerospace Medical Institute in Pensacola Florida. I had luck, which is shown on the below cover which I held for cancelling on the 10th anniversary of flight in 1969:

When I received my two covers back they were accompanied by a letter which is their provenance.

Has anyone heard or seen any other examples of the actual footprint(s) of Miss Baker?

spaceflori
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Posts: 1376
From: Germany
Registered: May 2000

posted 05-28-2009 01:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceflori   Click Here to Email spaceflori     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by sts205cdr:
To be completely accurate, the first living animals in space were bacteria (and who knows what else) on the V-2s launched during WWII.
Question is aside from the Oct. 3rd launch which A4 really reached space and how you define the border?

That said the first animals in a rocket were put by Stephen Smith in India in the 1930s.

FFrench
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Posts: 3093
From: San Diego
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 05-28-2009 02:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by sts205cdr:
...to be completely accurate, the first living animals in space were bacteria (and who knows what else) on the V-2s launched during WWII.
Bacteria do not fall under the classification of animals. They are single-celled monera, I believe, not animalia.

sts205cdr
Member

Posts: 534
From: Sacramento, CA
Registered: Jun 2001

posted 05-28-2009 03:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for sts205cdr   Click Here to Email sts205cdr     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by FFrench:
Bacteria do not fall under the classification of animals.
I'm just a dumb Shuttle Jockey, what do I know? Critters, the first critters in space.

yeknom-ecaps
Member

Posts: 458
From: Northville MI USA
Registered: Aug 2005

posted 05-28-2009 08:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for yeknom-ecaps   Click Here to Email yeknom-ecaps     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Joe Frasketi:
Has anyone heard or seen any other examples of the actual footprint(s) of Miss Baker?
I remember seeing a couple of examples of Baker footprints over the years. One on an index card and one on a sheet that tied in with NASA Marshall SFC. Sorry I never got copies of them back then to refer to.

ColinBurgess
Member

Posts: 1567
From: Sydney, Australia
Registered: Sep 2003

posted 05-29-2009 01:10 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ColinBurgess   Click Here to Email ColinBurgess     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From an article I have here that appeared in the Huntsville Times, December 19, 1971: 'A bag of mail arrived recently from an elementary school class in Louisville, Ky. Most of the children just wanted to wish Miss Baker a happy Christmas, tell her they had read about her and how smart she is. Some asked that she write back. The children are being sent an 8x10 photo of Miss Baker, complete with paw print and bearing best wishes.'

spaceman1953
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Posts: 933
From: South Bend, IN United States of America
Registered: Apr 2002

posted 06-03-2009 07:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceman1953   Click Here to Email spaceman1953     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
My dear friend Will Sirus finally made our way to the AIR ZOO in Kalamazoo ...must have been May 20 or 21 (more later about that!) and there is an interactive exhibit in their "space" area where they have "stuff" for the "monkey" flights. The interactive exhibit talks about how the "monkeys" had to learn how to push buttons or pull levels on their flights and that they would be rewarded with a banana if they did right. And then you get a chance to put on a touch screen as directed and see if you can do as good as the "monkeys".

I have a video of me and Will punching on the screen that I shall post on YouTube "soon".

All times are CT (US)

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