|Little Joe/Mercury - Little Joe Mercury Escape Tower Test|
Credit: NASA. 17,470 bytes. 358 x 471 pixels.
Little Joe was used to test the Mercury capsule launch escape system.
Paul E. Purser and Maxime A. Faget conceived of a solid-fuel launch vehicle design for the research and development phase of a manned satellite vehicle project. This launch vehicle was later designated Little Joe. When Project Mecury began in October 1958, the purposeof the Little Joe phase was to propel a full-scale, full-weight developmental version of the manned spacecraft to some of the flight conditions that would be encountered during exit from the atmosphere on an orbital mission. Also, Little Joe tests were used to perfect the escape maneuver in the event of an aborted mission.
Launching of Mercury capsule mockup from Wallops Station to test the escape and recovery systems; emergency escape rocket accidentally fired 30 minutes before scheduled firing of the Little Joe booster.
NASA wind tunnel data on the adaptation of the Project Mercury Little Joe booster to the Apollo launch escape system were analyzed. The booster fins were ineffective in maintaining the stability of the configuration and the project was canceled. The later Little Joe II depended on the inherent stability of the total vehicle to attain a successful ballistic trajectory to test altitude.
Credit: © Mark Wade. 834 bytes. 99 x 216 pixels.