Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

The Sky Was No Limit for John! Brother's Tribute to NASA Star

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

The Sky Was No Limit for John! Brother's Tribute to NASA Star

Article excerpt


A POOR boy from Portrack who went on to work for NASA, dated Joan Baez and sent a monkey into space has died aged 78.

John Hanley lived an extraordinary life, from his humble beginnings in Stockton to his celebrated career in the field of neurology.

He became a leading consultant on the 1969 Biosatellite 3 project which sent a pig-tailed monkey called Bonnie into space.

He was also a highly respected professor emeritus at the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA) and his expertise remained in demand long into retirement.

Proud brother Peter Hanley, who lives with wife June in Fairfield, Stockton, told the Gazette how John came to live and work in the States.

"John was always a keen swimmer, he used to go to the baths in Bath Lane and he got his swimming coach certificate when he was 17," said Peter, 72.

"He used to get a swimming magazine and through it he corresponded with Dr Bob Kippeth from Yale University, who was in charge of the American swimming team.

"In 1948, Dr Kippeth invited John to meet him at the London Olympics and offered him the job of assistant swimming coach at the university."

John took up the offer and emigrated to the US, aged 19.

"He went without a penny to his name," said Peter.

"He was assistant coach for a few years then decided it wasn't challenging enough for him and he decided to be a doctor.

"He studied for eight years at medical school in Boston, qualified as a doctor and then as a neurologist."

In Biosatellite 3, the monkey was sent into orbit to investigate brain states, behavioural performance and metabolic state.

Peter said: "They taught the monkey how to operate the panel. He also taught it to play noughts and crosses or tic-tac-toe as it's known in America.

"The army airforce controlled the money and the general came down to see the monkey at work. He played the monkey at tic-tac-toe and it beat him!

"But the monkey wouldn't performon the panel. …

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