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The story of the monkey Juan, the “first Argentine astronaut” to reach space

A monkey from the missionary jungle, weighing one and a half kilos and his name was Juan, became the “first Argentine astronaut” in December 1969 when he was sent into space.

mono juan

A monkey from the   missionary jungle  , weighing one and a half kilograms and his name was  John , became in December 1969 the "  first Argentine astronaut   "was sent into space five months after man's arrival on the moon.

“The flight of the  monkey Juan  takes place in a context where   Argentina   had its space agency, which at the time was called the  National Commission of Investigations Spatiales  (which today is the  Conae  ) and which had an intense program of work, including the development of vectors and the development of rockets,” said  Diego Bagu  , director of the  Planetarium of the City of   Silver .

 On December  23, 1969, at 6.30, the  Canopus II  sounding rocket was successfully propelled with the monkey  John  as a crew member on an eight-minute suborbital flight (did not enter orbit), up to a height of about 90 km, bordering the Earth's atmosphere with outer space.

It was launched from the  Missile Launch and Experimentation Center 

Self-propelled Chamical, in   La Rioja  .

After the trip, the monkey  Juan  lived for more than two years in the zoo of the city of   Cordoba   .

The experience was carried out by a team of  Argentine engineers, biologists and physicians , with technologies developed in the country, within the framework of a project called Experiencia BIO, headed by the  National Institute of Aeronautical and Space Medicine and the National Space Research Commission .

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 '67 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 things above rockets and especially the acceleration produced by these launches.”

“The point is that  Belisario  endured it and continued to live several years after that experiment,” said  Bagu  .

 In this line he stressed that “with the experience of Belisario, Argentina became the fourth country in the history of the world to experiment with living things in rocket launches after the United States, Soviet Union and France.” 

Publication Date: 16/08/2019

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