On January 21, 1960, a monkey named Miss Sam launched on a Little Joe rocket to help NASA test the launch escape system for its new Mercury spacecraft.
This spacecraft would ultimately carry the first American astronauts into space. Miss Sam didn't fly all the way to space; the rocket only reached an altitude of about 9 miles. To test her psychomotor performance during the flight, Miss Sam was trained to pull a lever using a light as a cue.
She nailed the test and fared well during the 8.5-minute flight, and the escape system worked according to plan.
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