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Enos with handler
Enos being prepared for insertion into the Mercury-Atlas 5 capsule in 1961.

Enos (died November 4, 1962) was a chimpanzee that was launched into space.

Enos was purchased from the Miami Rare Bird Farm in April 3, 1960. He completed more than 1,250 hours of training for his mission at the University of Kentucky and Holloman Air Force Base. His training was more intense than that of Ham, the Americans' first chimp in space, because Enos would be exposed to weightlessness and a higher g for longer periods of time. His training included psychomotor training and aircraft flights.

Enos was selected to make the first orbital animal flight only three days before the launch. Two months before allowing a chimp to be launched into orbit, NASA had launched Mercury Atlas 4 on September 13, 1961, to conduct the same mission with a "crewman simulator" in the spacecraft. Enos flew into space on board Mercury Atlas 5 on November 29, 1961. He completed his first orbit in 1 hour and 28.5 minutes.[1]

Enos was originally scheduled to complete three orbits, but was brought back after the second orbit because the spacecraft was not maintaining proper attitude. According to observers, Enos jumped for joy and ran around the deck of the recovery ship enthusiastically shaking the hands of his rescuers. Enos' flight was a full dress rehearsal for the next Mercury launch on February 20, 1962, which would make Lt. Colonel John Glenn the first American to orbit the Earth, after astronauts Alan Shepard, Jr. and Gus Grissom's successful suborbital space flights.

On November 4, 1962, Enos died of dysentery caused by shigellosis, which was resistant to antibiotics of the time. He had been under constant observation for two months before his death. Pathologists reported that they found no symptom that could be attributed or related to his space flight a year before. Enos' remains are thought to have suffered a fate similar to those of his astro chimp predecessor Ham. Ham is known to have been subjected to extensive study at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology after his death. Some of Ham's remains, minus the skeleton (which remained in the custody of AFIP) were buried at the entrance to the International Space Hall of Fame in New Mexico. Recent attempts by space scholars to determine the fate of Enos' remains have been unsuccessful. It is known that some post-mortem study was undertaken, but there is no further trail beyond that, and Enos' body is assumed to have simply been unceremoniously discarded after the examinations were completed.


  1. ^ Animals In Space: From Research Rockets to the Space Shuttle, Chris Dubbs and Colin Burgess, 2007

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