Gordo Monkey in Space
Monkey Gordo was the ninth monkey that American scientist sent to space during
the early years of U.S./Soviet Union space race. Objective of his mission was
observation of his life signs during the takeoff, landing and weightlessness.
Gordo was a squirrel monkey of South American descent and he was chosen for this
mission because of his human anatomical similarities and temperature
sensitivities. He was trained to spend his time suited in special type of space
suit that would protect him from the vacuum if the capsule became compromised.
Surface of the suit was equipped with various monitoring devices witch
transmitted their findings back to earth in real-time.
Launch of his Jupiter AM-13 was executed in the early morning on
December 13, 1958 at Cape Canaveral, Florida. During his 15 minutes
flight time he traveled over 1500 miles, reached altitude of 310 miles and had
over 8 minutes of weightlessness. Scientists who monitored his life signs were
pleased to see that he was reacting really well to the conditions in outer
space. Sadly his parachute module failed on re-entry and Gordo died hitting the
surface of South Atlantic Ocean.
Death of Gordo proved that space conditions did not change the life
functions, and several more missions were commissioned to confirm those claims.
Soon after two monkeys Able and Baker survived similar mission as the Gordo and
just few months before US’s first manned flight chimpanzee Ham also went to
space - not as a passenger but with a mission to actively manipulate buttons in
front of him.
Gordo and his capsule were never recovered.