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Once upon a time, in a small pet shop in Miami, there lived a remarkable squirrel monkey named Miss Baker. Little did she know that her life was about to take a truly out-of-this-world turn.
Miss Baker wasn't your average monkey. She had a special charm and intelligence that set her apart from the rest of the furry critters in the shop. Her loving and docile nature earned her the affectionate nickname "TLC."
In the early days of space exploration, Miss Baker's unique qualities caught the attention of scientists who were preparing for an extraordinary mission. Alongside her fellow simian astronauts, she was selected for a daring adventure into the cosmos.
On that fateful day in May 1959, at precisely 2:39 a.m., a Jupiter rocket roared to life, carrying Miss Baker and her friend Miss Able on a historic 16-minute flight. Their journey reached an astonishing altitude of 300 miles, subjecting them to a mind-boggling 38 gs of acceleration. For nine glorious minutes, they tasted the sweet sensation of weightlessness.
Their adventure took them 1,500 miles downrange from Cape Canaveral to the vast Atlantic Ocean near Puerto Rico. There, the USS Kiowa came to their rescue, plucking them from the sea and bringing them back to Earth.
But Miss Baker's story was far from over. Alongside Able, she became a scientific sensation, capturing the hearts and imaginations of people worldwide. They graced the cover of Life magazine, and their achievements were celebrated with the pomp and flair they deserved.
Miss Baker's later years were no less extraordinary. After moving to the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama, she became a beloved entertainer, drawing crowds of visitors eager to hear her captivating tale. Miss Baker even found love and companionship, with Big George and later Norman, in a series of unique monkey wedding ceremonies.
As the years passed, Miss Baker continued to delight visitors with her boundless energy and antics. Her birthdays became grand affairs, marked by balloons, cameras, and, of course, her favorite cottage cheese.
In a touching and fitting tribute, Miss Baker's gravestone, situated at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, is adorned with the fruit she loved the most – bananas.
And so, the remarkable squirrel monkey, Miss Baker, whose journey began in a Miami pet shop, left an indelible mark on the world of space exploration. Her legacy lives on, reminding us that even the smallest creatures can achieve greatness among the stars.
Miss Baker's tale serves as an enduring testament to the boundless possibilities of exploration and the extraordinary adventures that await those with the courage to reach for the heavens.
The Birmingham Free Press was established in 1997 as an independent news and entertainment source. We publish a variety of books, magazines, and comics, along with our flagship, broadsheet newspaper.