June 14, 1949

On June 14, 1949, Albert II, a rhesus monkey, rode a V-2 rocket to an altitude of 83 miles, becoming the first ‘MONKEY IN SPACE’. Albert II asked what happened to Albert I, a year earlier. NASA informed him that Albert I successfully rode his V-2 rocket up to 39 miles high, but he unfortunately died from suffocation. Albert II said, “WHAT?!” NASA reassured him that they’d fixed the air problem, and they did. Albert II survived the trip up. Sadly for him, NASA was still having problems with the parachutes, so Albert II died on impact when the rocket crashed back into the Earth. Albert III died when his V-2 rocket exploded at 35,000 feet. Albert 4 tried to claim his name was Steve, but NASA had thought he’d might try to do that, so they’d already sewed his name on his jumper. Albert 4 died when his V-2 rocket crashed because the parachute didn’t deploy. Albert V died due to parachute failure, also. Albert VI flew his rocket up to 72 miles and survived the landing and became the first monkey to go to space and live. Which he did for two hours, when he then died. It was because Albert VI couldn’t crack a window in the spacecraft and he overheated in the sealed capsule in the hot New Mexico sun while waiting on the recovery team. It’s a shame that New Mexico didn’t have statutes that outlawed pets in hot vehicles back in the 1950s, because Albert VI might have lived.

About Joel Byers

Born in North Georgia and educated at some very fine public institutions. Real education started after graduating from college and then getting married and raising two boys. Has the ability to see the funny and absurd in most things and will always remark on it, even if it means getting the stink-eye from his victims.
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