Project Mercury; Little Joe

NASA, Taub1959-07-30



Assembling the Little Joe capsules. The capsules were manufactured in-house by Langley technicians. Three capsules are shown here in various stages of assembly. The escape tower and rocket motors shown on the completed capsule would be removed before shipping and finally assembly for launching at Wallops Island. Joseph Shortal wrote (vol. 3, p. 32): Design of the Little Joe capsules began at Langley before McDonnell started on the design of the Mercury capsule and was, therefore, a separate design. Although it was not designed to carry a man, it did have to carry a monkey. It had to meet the weight and center of gravity requirements of Mercury and withstand the same aerodynamic loads during the exit trajectory. 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. Project Mercury: Little Joe: Boilerplate Mercury spacecraft undergo fabrication at the shops of the Langley Research Center. They will launched atop Little Joe rockets to test the spacecraft recovery systems. -- 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. L59-4947 Technicians prepare a Little Joe launch vehicle prototype for the Mercury space program, 1959. Photograph published in Winds of Change, 75th Anniversary NASA publication, page 76, by James Schultz

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  • Title: Project Mercury; Little Joe
  • Creator: NASA, Taub
  • Date Created: 1959-07-30
  • Location: NASA Langley Research Center
  • Rights: LARC
  • Album: tbuchana