On January 31, 1961, NASA launched Mercury-Redstone 2 on a suborbital flight. There was no human pilot aboard, as the occupant was Ham the chimpanzee (1956-1983), who was chosen over the female backup chimpanzee Minnie (1956-1996). The chimpanzee, the most genetically similar animal to humans, was trained to pull certain levers in response to flashing lights. The "Astrochimp" remained safe and comfortable during the flight, which lasted sixteen and a half minutes due to some mechanical problems, and was able to move and eat fruit shrtly after his capsule was recovered from the sea by the U.S. Navy. Because of the mechanical problems, the human-piloted Mercury mission was delayed and the Soviet Union was able to claim the distinction of the first human spaceflight, launching Yuri Gagarin on April 12. The Mercury-Redstone 2 capsule is now displayed at the California Science Center.