Tuesday, November 29, 2016
Enos the Chimp launched in Mercury-Atlas 5, 1961
Although the Soviets had already put two cosmonauts (Yuri Gagarin being the first) into orbit by November 1961, NASA was still debating putting a man into orbit. On November 29, 1961, Enos, a chimpanzee, was launched in the Mercury-Atlas 5 from Cape Canaveral. He made two orbits of Earth and splashed down off the coast of Puerto Rico a little over three hours from lift-off. Enos carried out a series of tests and came through unharmed.
The Mercury spacecraft was deemed ready for human occupants.