Mercury: Little Joe launcher



Washington, DC, United States

Technicians attach the escape tower to the Mercury capsule prior to assembly with Little Joe launcher, August 20, 1959. Joseph Shortal describe this as follows (vol. 3., p. 33): The escape tower and rocket motors were taken from the Mercury capsule production. The tower is shown being attached to the capsule.... The escape rocket was a Grand Central 1-KS-52000 motor with three canted nozzles. The tower-jettison motor was an Atlantic Research Corp. 1.4-KS-785 motor. This was the same design tested in a beach abort test...and had the offset thrust line as used in the beach abort test to insure that the capsule would get away from the booster in an emergency. The escape system weighed 1,015 pounds, including 236 pounds of ballast for stability. The Little Joe booster was assembled at Wallops on its special launcher in a vertical attitude. It is shown in the on the left with the work platform in place. The launcher was located on a special concrete slab in Launching Area 1. The capsule was lowered onto the booster by crane.... After the assembly was completed, the scaffolding was disassembled and the launcher pitched over to its normal launch angle of 80 degrees.... Little Joe had a diameter of 80 inches and an overall length, including the capsule and escape tower of 48 feet. The total weight at launch was about 43,000 pounds. The overall span of the stabilizing fins was 21.3 feet. Although in comparison with the overall Mercury Project, Little Joe was a simple undertaking, the fact that an attempt was made to condense a normal two-year project into a 6-month one with in house labor turned it into a major undertaking for Langley. -- Published in Joseph A. Shortal, History of Wallops Station: Origins and Activities Through 1949, (Wallops Island, VA: National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Wallops Station, nd), Comment Edition.

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  • Title: Mercury: Little Joe launcher
  • Creator: NASA
  • Date Created: 1959-08-14
  • Location: NASA Langley Research Center
  • Rights: LARC
  • Album: tbuchana