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  • Birth Jul 1956 Cameroon
  • Death 18 Jan 1983 Asheboro, Randolph County, North Carolina, USA
  • Burial Alamogordo, Otero County, New Mexico, USA
  • Memorial ID 2646

Animal Figure. The first chimpanzee in space. Born in present-day Cameroon, captured by animal trappers and sent to Miami, FL. Ham's name is an acronym for the lab that prepared him for his historic mission — the Holloman Aerospace Medical Center, located at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico. Purchased by the United States Air Force and brought to Holloman Air Force Base in 1959, he was selected from among a group of six chimpanzees (four female and two male). They trained to perform a series of simple tasks while in space to ascertain whether a human might be able to do the same tasks under space flight conditions. On January 31, 1961, Ham blasted off from Cape Canavaral becoming the world's first AstroChimp. He proved that it was possible for a human to venture into space by taking a 16½ minute, 2000 mph ride atop an 83-foot Mercury Redstone rocket known as the MR2. Three months later the first American human, Alan Shepard, followed him into space. After his space mission, he lived in the National Zoo in Washington, DC, for 17 years. Animal activists worried that he languished there, since he lived alone. In 1981 he was moved to the North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro, North Carolina. There he socialized with other chimps, and found a mate. He died, peacefully, at age 27. Ham's body was shipped west, and is buried in the front lawn of the International Space Hall of Fame in Alamogordo, NM. His grave is marked by a bronze memorial plaque at the flag poles in the cactus garden.

Bio by: Vincent Astor





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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 1 Jan 2001
  • Find A Grave Memorial 2646
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Ham (Jul 1956–18 Jan 1983), Find A Grave Memorial no. 2646, citing New Mexico Museum of Space History, Alamogordo, Otero County, New Mexico, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .