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A monkey from the missionary jungle , weighing one and a half kilos and was named John , became in December 1969 the " first Argentine astronaut "when he was sent into space, five months after man's arrival on the moon.
“The flight of the monkey Juan occurs in a context where Argentina had its space agency which at that time was called the National Commission of Investigations Space (which is today the Conae ) and had an intense program of work, including vector development and rocket development,” said Diego Bagú , director of the Planetarium of the City of La Plata .
On December 23, 1969, at 6.30 a.m., the Canopus II probe rocket was successfully boosted with the monkey John as a crew member in an eight-minute suborbital (not orbit) flight, up to one height of about 90 km, crossing the boundary of the earth's atmosphere with outer space.
It was launched from the Center for Experimentation and Missile Launching
Self-propelled from Chamical, in La Rioja .
After the trip, Monkey Juan lived for more than two years in the zoo in the city of Córdoba .
The experience was carried out by a team of engineers, biologists and Argentine doctors , with technologies developed in the country, within the framework of a project called Experience BIO, headed by the National Institute of Aeronautical and Space Medicine and the National Commission for Space Research .
The BIO project, “in charge of the aeronautical engineer Aldo Zeoli , considered one of the parents of Argentine astronautics , proposed as its main objective the experimentation of living beings in rocket launches and, if you could reach space, much better”, said Bagu.
“The first living being tested with a rocket was Belisario , a laboratory rat, an April 1967 experience that was successful,” he said.
He said that “the rocket reached almost three kilometers high, much less than reaching space (100 kilometers) but allowed to experiment with living beings on top of rockets and especially the acceleration that these launches produce.”
“The point is that Belisario endured it and continued to live several years after that experiment,” said Bagú .
In this line he stressed that “with Belisario's experience, Argentina became the fourth country in the history of the world to experiment with living beings in rocket launch after the United States, Soviet Union and France.”
Publication Date: 16/08/2019
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