Miss Baker – The first U.S. space animal rests in Huntsville

The squirrel monkey who was to become known as Miss Baker was purchased at a pet shop in Miami, Florida, and brought to the Naval Aviation Medical School in Pensacola.

Miss Baker was a squirrel monkey who became, along with rhesus macaque Miss Able, one of the first two animals launched into space by the United States and safely returned.

The ASPCA awarded Miss Baker with a Certificate of Merit for Distinguished Service

On May 28, 1959, a Jupiter rocket lifted Miss Baker and Miss Able to an altitude of 480 km through an acceleration of 38 gs for a 16-minute flight which also included 9 minutes of weightlessness. The flight traveled 2,400 km downrange from the pad at Cape Canaveral launch complex 26B to the Atlantic Ocean near Puerto Rico where the capsule was recovered by USS Kiowa.

In 1984, Miss Baker died of kidney failure at a clinic at Auburn University after attaining the record for oldest living squirrel monkey. She is buried on the grounds at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center. Her tombstone routinely has one or more bananas on top.

Her tombstone routinely has one or more bananas on top / Image source

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