Saturday, October 4, 2014

Retro Saturday: Pioneers of the Vertical Frontier


Click the arrow to watch the documentary. Video source: wdtvlive42 YouTube channel.

This week's Retro Saturday is a 23-minute 1967 U.S. Air Force documentary about the Holloman Air Force Base Aeromedical Research Laboratory.

Titled Pioneers of the Vertical Frontier, it's about the primates used in testing aerospace technology in the early 1960s, such as Ham and Enos who flew before Alan Shepard and John Glenn.

Fifty years later, American cultural standards are quite different. The treatment of the chimpanzees depicted in the film would be considered appalling today.

A more modern interpretation is depicted in One Small Step: The Story of the Space Chimps. Some of the footage is quite graphic, such as a chimp destroyed during a high-velocity impact on a rocket sled at Holloman.

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