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Ham the Astro Chimp was launched on a sub-orbital flight on January 31, 1961 atop a Mercury-Redstone rocket as part of Project Mercury. The name “Ham” was given to the chimpanzee only after his successful mission. NASA was concerned with the potential of bad publicity surrounding the possibility of a failed mission with a named chimp on board, so until after his mission, Ham was known as “No. 65” and among his handlers, he was known as “Chop Chop Chang”.

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