JFKPOF-095-023-p0004: Photograph, President Kennedy and Astronaut John Glenn, Cape Canaveral, Florida, 23 February 1962

A male chimpanzee nicknamed "Ham" was rocketed 420 miles over the Caribbean in a test of the Mercury capsule that is to carry a human astronaut into orbit. The thirty-seven pound chimp apparently performed as expected and was apparently in good condition when a helicopter pulled the capsule from the water almost three hours after the launching. (1:3-4) In California, meanwhile, the United States successfully fired a Samos spy satellite into polar orbit. (17:5) – February 1, 1961

The Soviet Union announced it had put into orbit a huge space vehicle weighing more than seven tons by means of improved multi-stage rockets. There was no indication that anything living was aboard the device, but the launching was apparently part of Moscow's program of tests leading up to the placing of man into space flight. (1:1) – February 5, 1961

The White House disclosed that United States intelligence knew of the Sputnik launching before it was announced in Moscow and had informed President Kennedy of it Friday night. The disclosure underscored the continued effectiveness of various intelligence efforts directed toward the Soviet Union despite the discontinuance of U-2 reconnaissance flights. (1:2) – February 5, 1961

The Soviet Union has rejected the first overtures by the Kennedy Administration for cooperation in developing the peaceful uses of outer space. Moscow declined to participate in the development of plans for international use of weather satellites. (3:5-6) - February 11, 1961

A rocket bearing a pendant with the Soviet coat of arms hurtled towards Venus yesterday after having been launched from a heavy earth satellite orbited earlier in the day. Radio and other equipment aboard was said to be functioning normally, with the rocket expected in the area of Venus in the latter half of May. What it would do when it got there was not explained. (1:2-4) – February 13, 1961

In space, the Soviet interplanetary station sped toward Venus along its assigned course, while on earth, its masters discussed a future probe of Mars. Soviet scientists expect a wealth of new data about little known Venus if their latest device and the densely shrouded planet cross paths in May. (1:5) – February 14, 1961

On the launching pad, the United States took a nearly four to-one lead over the Soviet Union in number of earth satellites. The Air Force orbited a 2,450-pound Discoverer--the largest and heaviest Discoverer yet--and planned a capsule recovery attempt Tuesday. (1:2) And the space agency found that lost polka-dot balloon satellite fired Thursday-- orbiting almost exactly where it should have been. (1:1) – February 18, 1961

The Administration also informed Congress that it was adopting, at least for the time being, the $965,000,000 budget drafted by the Eisenhower Administration for the space agency. (4:34) – February 28, 1961

Defense Secretary McNamara issued a direction giving the Air Force virtually exclusive responsibility for military space-development projects, including a plan to perfect "anti-satellites." (1:6-7) – March 9, 1961

The Russians launched another dog into orbit and then safely brought back the five-ton vehicle and its canine passenger. The dog and other biological subjects were under TV surveillance during the trip. (1:2-3) – March 10, 1961

The United States and the Soviet Union both took giant steps into space in preparation for manned flight. From Cape Canaveral, a 78-pound package of scientific instruments was fired into a wide-swinging earth orbit designed to take it 120,000 miles into space to chart safe paths for space travel. (1:2) – March 26, 1961

Soviet scientists launched into orbit and brought back safely another five-ton vehicle with a canine passenger. (1:3) – March 26, 1961

The President asked Congress for a $125,670,000 increase in the space agency’s budget to permit accelerated development of huge launching vehicles that would match or excel the weight-lifting capacity of Soviet rockets. (12:3) – March 29, 1961

President Kennedy assured Congress that he had no intention of subordinating the activities of the civilian space agency to those of the military. (1:1) – April 2, 1961

The first military operational assignment in space was given to the Air Force ’ the responsibility for operating all reconnaissance satellites for the collection of intelligence. The move indicated that Air Force research and development assignments in space meant operational authority afterward. (1:2) – April 2, 1961

Man made his first leap beyond the earth today and returned safely. The Soviet Union announced triumphantly that a space vehicle carrying an Air Force major had been launched, orbited the earth and by use of a braking device been brought safely back through the atmosphere to a landing on Soviet territory. Two-way radio contact had been maintained with the 27-year-old officer, Maj. Yuri Gagarin. The 10,395-pound satellite; named the Vostok (East), sped between 15,000 and 18,000 miles an hour, faster than man had ever traveled, between 109.5 and 187.75 miles above the earth. (1:8) – April 12, 1961

At Cape Canaveral, the countdown began for a second attempt to send an astronaut on a 290-mile rocket flight some time after sun-up today. (1:3) – May 5, 1961

Spurred by the success of the first United States man-in-space flight, the Administration is planning a 25 per cent increase in the space budget. (1:1) – May 10, 1961

Mr. Kennedy’s proposal to accelerate the nation’s space program in an attempt to beat the Russians with a manned expedition to the moon was approved unanimously by the Senate space committee. (13:1) – June 28, 1961

The United States placed two experimental satellites into orbit, one, the 3,500-pound Midas, to detect enemy intercontinental missiles as they are launched. The other was the Tiros, a meteorological satellite that spots such storms as hurricanes. (1:8) – July 13, 1961

Meanwhile, President Kennedy’s plan for the even more dramatic moon shot won resounding approval in Congress where a joint committee voted to let him spend every penny he asked for this year to get the program moving. (12:1-2) – July 20, 1961

Capt. Virgil I. Grissom, the nation’s second space explorer, returned yesterday from a sixteen-minute ride that took him 118 miles into the sky and 303 miles out into the Atlantic, but it ended in an unplanned swim. (pg. 1:6-7) – July 22, 1961

The Soviet space ship, Vostok II, was orbiting the earth every eighty-eight minutes in a test of the effects of prolonged space flight on its astronaut pilot, Maj. Gherman S. Titov. The flight of the five-ton satellite ended today with the astronaut making a safe landing. Major Titov had reported periodically that he was "feeling fine" and that his space craft was functioning normally. (1:8; pg. 6) – August 7, 1961

The space agency announced that it would launch late next year an experimental communications satellite that would remain fixed over the same longitude on earth. (2:7-8) – August 12, 1961

A Mercury capsule carrying robot devices that breathe, perspire and talk as a human astronaut would is scheduled to be launched into orbit from Cape Canaveral this week. (50:4) – August 20, 1961

The United States put into orbit its first Ranger satellite, a test version of the craft that is to land the nation’s first instruments on the moon early next year. Ranger I achieved only a close-in orbit rather than the planned extremely elongated one. (1:5) – August 24, 1961

A Mercury capsule, occupied by robot devices able to breathe, perspire and talk was launched by the United States and brought back safely after one orbit around the earth. Although officials said at least one more test would have to be made before a human would be launched on orbital flight, the achievement kept alive hopes that the United States might send a man into orbit by the end of the year. (1:1) – September 14, 1961

The space agency chose a site near Houston as the "command center" for its multi-billion-dollar program to send manned expeditions to the moon and then the planets. A $60,000,000 laboratory will be built on Rice University land. (6:3) – September 20, 1961

James E. Webb, administrator of the national space agency, said that decisions taken by the Kennedy Administration to speed up the nation’s space effort should accomplish in ten years what had been envisioned as the goals for fifteen years. (10:6) – October 20, 1961

Problems with a space capsule forced Project Mercury scientists to postpone for at least a week plans to rocket a chimpanzee three around the earth. The delay apparently ended United States hopes of placing a man in orbit this year. The manned flight is now postponed until early 1962. (1:4) – November 13, 1961

A male chimpanzee named Enos flew up to 17,500-mile-an-hour orbits around the earth. The 5-year-old chimp, described as "meditative" and a "hard worker," worked levers on a dashboard in response to flashing, colored lights, and after the flight he was reported to be "excitable but in good shape." But the flight, in a Project Mercury capsule, was out short one orbit ahead of schedule because of mechanical trouble, and whether the next Mercury mission would be a manned flight was left undecided. Nonetheless, the national space agency announced that when a manned flight is made, the astronauts will be John H. Glenn Jr., a 40-year-old lieutenant colonel in the Marine Corps. (1:5-6) – November 30, 1961