Wednesday March 23rd, 2016
Primates and the Space Program – the Holloman Connection(Alamogordo, New Mexico, March 21, 2016) - Across the tracks and behind the chamber of commerce, near the old sawmill, is a very large metal building that most people probably never notice. Those who’ve been in Alamogordo for a long time remember it as the old Stanley Hardware. About 25 years ago, the International Space Hall of Fame purchased the building and donated it to the Museum of Space History. Today the often overlooked facility is the museum’s “support center” – housing literally thousands of artifacts from nuts and bolts to a Redstone rocket and everything in between. Tools of all description are at the ready for restoration and exhibit projects.
Astrochimps HAM and Enos training for their Mercury flights at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico. In this Saturday’s Warehouse 1402 tour, learn about their training and be one of the first to see behind the scenes at the Museum Support Center.
As part of the museum’s ongoing 40th anniversary events, a new quarterly behind the scenes tour is being introduced this Saturday – Warehouse 1402. The tour is named after the support center’s address, which is 1402 Eddy Drive. Each quarter, museum curatorial staff will highlight different artifacts at the support center and offer a free presentation to the public beginning at 9:00 am. The inaugural program is Primates and the Space Program – the Holloman Connection, presented by museum curator Sue Taylor and assistant curator Jim Mayberry.
Most everyone knows that primates played an important role in the U.S. manned space program, but did you know that their training program was right here at Holloman Air Force Base? Or that the name HAM is an acronym for Holloman Aero Medical? Having HAM on Mercury-Redstone 2 and Enos on Mercury-Atlas 5, flying right before Alan Shepard and John Glenn, helped the technicians and engineers troubleshoot problems that they otherwise might not have known about. Both men, in the book We Seven, credited HAM and Enos for enduring the challenges of their missions. If not for the chimpanzees, the astronauts would have assumed the potential risks. As it was, both manned flights were successful thanks to these Astrochimps.
Ever wonder what kind of training the primates went through? In this tour, you will have the opportunity to find out. One of the many jobs that take place in the support center is the conservation and replication of objects. One such project that has just been completed is the replication of the chairs used by the primates to sit in front of their training consoles. Although the chairs are replicas, the consoles are original. In addition to learning about the primate training program, you will be able to sit in the chairs and get a chimp’s eye view of how the consoles worked. Photographs are encouraged!
The Warehouse 1402 quarterly tour is free to the public and starts at 9:00 am at the museum support center, 1402 Eddy Drive. Coffee and donuts are compliments of the International Space Hall of Fame Foundation.
The New Mexico Museum of Space History, a Smithsonian affiliate, is a division of the NM Department of Cultural Affairs. For more information, call 575-437-2840 or toll free 1-877-333-6589 or visit the website at www.nmspacemuseum.org. Like us at: www.facebook.com/NMSpaceMuseum.