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Little Joe 1
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Little Joe 1

Little Joe 1
Mission Insignia
Mission Statistics
Mission Name: Little Joe 1
Call Sign: LJ-1
Number of
Crew Members:
Launch: August 21, 1959
Wallops Island
Landing: August 21, 1959
Duration: 0 min 20 s
Number of
Apogee: 0.4 mi - 0.6 km
0.5 mi - 0.8 km
~975 mph
1.569 km/h
Peak acceleration: ? g
Mass: 1,007 kg

The Little Joe 1 was a solid fuel rocket that was designed to test the Mercury spacecraft Launch Escape and Recovery systems. It was 48 feet (14.6 m) in height, weighed (at maximum) 41,330 pounds (18,747 kg), was 6.66 feet (2 m) in diameter, consisted of four Pollux and four Recruit clustered, solid-fuel rockets, could develop a thrust of 250,000 lbf (1,112 kN), and could lift a maximum payload of 3,942 pounds (1,788 kg).

The Little Joe 1 was being prepared for launch from the Wallops Flight Facility, Wallops Island, Virginia, on August 21, 1959. Suddenly, about a half hour before the scheduled launch, the escape rocket fired and pulled the Mercury spacecraft away from the launch pad.The spacecraft reached an apogee of 2000 feet (600 m) and landed about 2000 feet (600 m) away. The unexpected triggering of the Launch Escape System was caused by a transient or stray electrical current. Flight time 20 seconds. Payload 1,007 kg.

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