1959: Able and Baker, the first surviving monkeys
The first monkeys to survive a trip to and from space were Able, a rhesus monkey from Kansas, and Baker (pictured), a squirrel monkey from Peru. Their flight launched on May 28, 1959, and reached an altitude of 360 miles.
Though both monkeys survived the flight in good condition, Able died four days later due to complications during surgery according to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.
Baker lived to the ripe old age of 24; she’s buried at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama where fans still honor her by leaving bananas on her grave.