Encyclopedia Astronautica
Little Joe 1 2P


American test vehicle. Two stage vehicle consisting of 4 x Recruit + 2 x Pollux

Failures: 1. First Fail Date: 1960-11-08. Last Fail Date: 1960-11-08.

Gross mass: 12,700 kg (27,900 lb).
Height: 15.20 m (49.80 ft).
Diameter: 2.03 m (6.66 ft).
Thrust: 650.00 kN (146,120 lbf).
Apogee: 60 km (37 mi).
First Launch: 1959.11.04.
Last Launch: 1960.11.08.
Number: 2 .

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
Associated Spacecraft
  • Mercury American manned spacecraft. 18 launches, 1960.01.21 (Mercury LJ-1B) to 1963.05.15 (Mercury MA-9). America's first man-in-space project. The capsule had to be as small as possible to match the orbital payload capability of America's first ICBM, the Atlas. More...

See also
  • Little Joe Little Joe was used to test the Mercury capsule launch escape system. The booster was designed by NASA Langley using existing components. Six to eight solid rocket motors were mounted in an aerodynamic finned fairing built by North American. More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • North American American manufacturer of rockets, spacecraft, and rocket engines. North American, Palmdale, El Segundo. Downey, CA, USA More...

Associated Programs
  • Mercury Mercury was America's first man-in-space project. Setting the precedent for the later Gemini, Apollo, and Shuttle programs, any capsule configuration proposed by the contractors was acceptable as long as it was the one NASA's Langley facility, and in particular, Max Faget, had developed. McDonnell, at that time a renegade contractor of innovative Navy fighters that had a history of problems in service, received the contract. The capsule had to be as small as possible to match the payload capability of America's first ICBM, the Atlas, which would be used for orbital missions. The resulting design was less than a third of the weight of the Russian Vostok spacecraft, and more limited as a result. More...

Associated Launch Sites
  • Wallops Island Small NASA launch site for sounding rocket launches and occasional Scout launches to orbit. Air launches are conducted from the Drop Zone Wallops Island, 37.00 N 72.0 W. With the last orbital launch in 1985 and the decline in sounding rocket launches, Wallops fell into near-disuse as a launch center. Its fortunes revised with the establishment of Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport in 2005 and orbital launches resumed in 2010. More...
  • Wallops Island LA1 Little Joe, Iris, Astrobee, Aerobee, Little Joe 1 2C launch complex. Aerobee Launcher, Launch Area 1 More...

Associated Stages

Little Joe 1 2P Chronology


1959 November 4 - . 14:30 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. Launch Complex: Wallops Island LA1. LV Family: Little Joe. Launch Vehicle: Little Joe 1 2P. LV Configuration: Little Joe 1-2P LJ-1A.
  • Mercury LJ-1A - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 14 km (8 mi). Little Joe 1-A (LJ-1A) was launched in a test for a planned abort under high aerodynamic load conditions. This flight was a repeat of the Little Joe (LJ-1) that had been planned for August 21, 1959 (escape rocket fired 31 min before the intended launch of the Little Joe launch vehicle). After lift-off, the pressure sensing system was to supply a signal when the intended abort dynamic pressure was reached (about 30 sec after launch). An electrical impulse was then sent to the explosive bolts to separate the spacecraft from the launch vehicle. Up to this point, the operation went as planned, but the impulse was also designed to start the igniter in the escape motor. The igniter activated, but pressure failed to build up in the motor until a number of seconds had elapsed. Thus the abort maneuver, the prime mission of the flight, was accomplished at a dynamic pressure that was too low. For this reason a repeat of the test was planned. All other events from the launch through recovery occurred without incident. The flight attained an altitude of 9 statute miles, a range of 11.5 statute miles, and a speed of 2,021.6 miles per hour.

1960 November 8 - . 15:18 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. Launch Complex: Wallops Island LA1. LV Family: Little Joe. Launch Vehicle: Little Joe 1 2P. LV Configuration: Little Joe 1-2P LJ-5. FAILURE: At 15.4 seconds the escape rocket motor and tower jettison motor ignited prematurely..
  • Mercury LJ-5 - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Program: Mercury. Spacecraft: Mercury. Apogee: 16 km (9 mi). Little Joe 5 with a Mercury production spacecraft was launched from Wallops Island to test the spacecraft in an abort simulating the most severe launch conditions. At 15.4 seconds after liftoff, the escape rocket motor and tower jettison motor ignited prematurely. Booster, capsule, and tower remained mated through ballistic trajectory until destroyed on impact.

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