Meet Miss Baker, Huntsville’s first lady in space

Miss Baker was the first monkey to fly into space and survive
Published: Jan. 30, 2023 at 4:30 PM CST
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (TENNESSEE VALLEY LIVING) - There are so many people known for their historic work in the Tennessee Valley.

But have you heard of Miss Baker? She lived at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center and was the first monkey to travel to space and make it back alive — one of the world’s first Monkeynauts.

In 1959, Miss Baker as well as her friend and fellow monkeynaut, Miss Able, flew into space. They had a successful return but unfortunately, Able died a few days later from complications.

Before Able died though, the two were given a warm welcome home and even a cover on Life Magazine.

Originally from Florida, Miss Baker moved to Huntsville in the 1960s to take part in space exploration with her husband, Big George. Yes, you read that correctly.

She became a local celebrity who received fan mail and had special birthday celebrations.

Miss Baker called Huntsville home until she died in 1984. Her gravestone sits outside of the U.S. Space and Rocket Center where people often leave flowers and bananas. That’s not the only thing that remains of the little space lady though.

Huntsville brewery Straight to Ale debuted its own “Monkeynaut” beer, inspired by Miss Baker, Able and other brave space monkeys. A mural was also painted by Chandler Hays on Pratt Avenue.

And most recently, Baker & Able rooftop bar, inspired by the ambitious monkeys, opened at the 106 Jefferson Hotel.

Although it’s been more than fifty years, everyone is still excited to hear the tales of the two monkeys who took us to new heights.

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