Monday, April 3, 2017

Sam, the Space Monkey - From Outer Space to the San Antonio Zoo.

It took me a while, but I finally found a photo of Sam the Space Monkey. Sam went from a trip to outer space to a n extended stint at the San Antonio Zoo

   Sam was the first Texan to travel into space. Born in 1957 at the University of Texas, Sam, a rhesus monkey, was designated for the U.S. space program because he was a stand-out at the U.T. Balcones Research Center. On December 4, 1959, Sam was launched into space from Wallops Island, Virginia. After a seventeen-hour countdown, Sam was launched fifty-five miles into space and spent a total of twelve minutes there.
   After his famous flight, Sam was brought to the School of Aerospace Medicine at Brooks Air Force Base, where he was put under medical scrutiny. The space chimp made the cover of Parade magazine in 1960, but his fame was short-lived when John Glenn became more popular.
   Sam was kept at Brooks AFB for a mere eleven years when the air force figured they had gathered enough evidence on the effects of twelve minutes of space flight on monkeys. Sam then moved to a cage at the San Antonio Zoo where he was given a companion, though he was now too fat to mate. A plaque on his cage told zoo goers of the accomplishments of Sam.

   The space pioneer passed away on September 19, 1978. The chimp's body was taken back to Brooks for an autopsy, where more was learned of the effects of weightlessness.

As Featured in the book San Antonio Uncovered