Encyclopedia Astronautica
Little Joe II



liljoe2a.jpg
Little Joe II
Little Joe II was an enlarged version of the Little Joe concept used in the Mercury program, used to test the Apollo capsule launch escape system. The vehicle was designed by General Dynamics. Six to nine solid rocket motors were mounted in an aerodynamic finned fairing.

From Chariots for Apollo: A History of Manned Lunar Spacecraft, NASA SP-4205:

Early in the contract, North American and Houston engineers had agreed on a flight-test program, putting boilerplate command and service modules through structural tests and checking out the abort escape system. In mid1961, while he was still with NASA before joining North American in 1962, Alan Kehlet had suggested using a fin-stabilized, clustered-rocket, solid-propellant booster for these tests. The "Little Joe II" (named after the Project Mercury test vehicle) would be able to propel a full-sized Apollo reentry spacecraft to velocities as great as those in the critical portions of the Saturn trajectory and to altitudes of 60,900 meters. The tests would be a simple and fairly inexpensive way of determining - in flight - the full-scale spacecraft configuration concepts, systems performance, and structural integrity. Tests of the launch escape system at maximum dynamic pressure would be most important. In May 1962 the Convair Division of General Dynamics was selected to develop the vehicle and named Jack Hurt as its program manager.

Although launch sites at Wallops Island, Virginia; Eglin Air Force Base, Florida; and the Cape were considered, the New Mexico desert north of El Paso, Texas, was picked early in the spring of 1962 as the Little Joe II test area. The Army's White Sands Missile Range (WSMR) seemed the most suitable for Little Joe II ballistic flights.

NASA engineers expected to conduct three kinds of tests at White Sands: (1) pad aborts, in which a solid-fueled rocket mounted on a tower attached to the top of the command module would pull the spacecraft away as it would have to do if the Saturn threatened to blow up on the launch pad; (2) maximum-dynamic-pressure ("max q") tests, in which the rocket would pull the spacecraft away from the launch vehicle if the booster veered off course shortly after launch; and (3) high-altitude tests, in which the rocket would haul the spacecraft away from the launch vehicle if the Saturn were unable to boost its payload to orbital flight.

Apollo leaders also expected to flight-test the lunar module in New Mexico, using the Little Joe II booster.

The first Little Joe II, a qualification test vehicle without a payload, was launched successfully on 28 August 1963.

At White Sands, New Mexico, on the morning of 13 May 1964, a Little Joe II launch vehicle rammed Boilerplate (BP) 12 to an altitude of 4,700 meters, to see if the launch escape system could propel the spacecraft away from the booster after it had reached transonic speed. Only one incident marred an otherwise successful flight. A parachute riser broke during descent, collapsing one of the three main parachutes. The boilerplate landed safely on the two remaining parachutes, in what one engineer later called "a welcome unplanned result of the test."

As 1964 drew to a close, the Little Joe II abort test program at White Sands was nearing its third and, in many ways, most crucial launch. Because of their fixed fins, the first two solid-fueled rockets had been somewhat erratic in flight. Jack B. Hurt's people at the Convair plant of General Dynamics in San Diego then built a relatively simple attitude control and autopilot system for the rest of their vehicles to allow hydropneumatic operation of "elevons," like ailerons, in each of the four fins while in flight. In addition, for the "max q" (maximum dynamic pressure) and high-altitude abort tests coming up, small reaction control motors were installed in the fin fairings to increase the precision of aiming control to the test points desired.

Vehicle No. 12-51-1, as it was called, with four Recruit and two Algol motors, was the most powerful Little Joe II yet flown, intended to develop 1,500 kilonewtons (340,000 pounds of thrust to lift itself and its cargo - BP-23 and the launch escape tower - more than 9 kilometers high. The whole assemblage, weighing 41,500 kilograms, was pointed toward the north at a point in space where the launch escape system, fitted with canards, would pull the capsule and boost protective cover away from the Little Joe II while traveling at a speed of mach 1.5. This area was in the middle of the region where a Saturn V ought to experience max q.

At precisely 8:00 on the morning of 8 December, Little Joe II roared upward, straight and true. Thirty-six seconds later - almost out of sight and two seconds, or 900 meters, early - the planned abort took place. After an 11-second coast period, the canards deployed, and the capsule tumbled four times in its turnaround before stabilizing blunt-end forward and jettisoning the escape system. The boost protective cover shattered slightly more than expected, but the two drogue parachutes deployed. Its three main parachutes opened, and BP-23 drifted gently to rest, 11,000 meters uprange from the launch site, after 7.5 minutes of flight. Max q had been higher than predicted, but all else had worked well; at the end of 1964, Little Joe II, with its payload, was ready for more stringent flight tests.

Meanwhile, flight testing of the lunar module within the earth's atmosphere was finally ruled out when Langley discovered in wind tunnel investigations that the Little Joe II-lander combination would be aerodynamically unstable.

Several dozen newsmen gathered at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, on 19 May to watch Mission A-003, an abort test of a boilerplate spacecraft at an altitude of 35,000 meters. At 6 that morning, the Little Joe II ignited and rammed its payload skyward. A few seconds after liftoff, a fin-vane at the base of the booster stuck and started the 13-meter-tall spacecraft-booster combination spinning like a bullet. Twenty-six seconds into the flight and still on a true course, the vehicle started coming apart. The abort-sensing system signaled the launch escape tower rocket to fire and pull the spacecraft away at an altitude of 4,000 meters.

While newsmen watched the fluttering remains of the Little Joe II, BP-22's parachutes lowered it gently to the desert floor. Apollo had another answer: the launch escape system worked in a real abort situation.

Little more than a month later, on 29 June, the launch team in New Mexico prepared to test an abort off the pad. The year before, a similar test had proved the escape tower rocket could jerk the spacecraft safely away from an exploding launch vehicle. But both the spacecraft and its escape system had since gained weight. In the second test, the rocket pulled the spacecraft higher in the air and farther downrange than expected.

Before starting Apollo-Saturn IB launches, however, the operations people had to clean up one outstanding matter in New Mexico. NASA had hoped to finish the Little Joe II abort qualification program by the end of 1965, but on 17 December the Flight Readiness Board refused to accept the booster and canceled a launch set for the next day. A month later, at 8:15 on the morning of 20 January 1966, the last Little Joe II headed toward an altitude of 24 kilometers and a downrange distance of 14 kilometers. Then, as designed, the launch vehicle started to tumble; the launch escape system sensed trouble and fired its abort rocket, carrying the command module away from impending disaster. All went well on Mission A-004-the launch, the test conditions, the telemetry, the spacecraft (Block I production model 002), and the postflight analysis. The spacecraft windows picked up too much soot from the tower jettison motor, but the structure remained intact. Little Joe II was honorably-retired, its basic purpose - making sure the launch escape and earth landing systems could protect the astronauts in either emergency or normal operations - accomplished.

More... - Chronology...


Associated Launch Vehicles
  • Little Joe II American test vehicle. Little Joe II was an enlarged version of the Little Joe concept used in the Mercury program, used to test the Apollo capsule launch escape system. The vehicle was designed by General Dynamics. Six to nine solid rocket motors were mounted in an aerodynamic finned fairing. More...
  • Little Joe II 6-1-0 American test vehicle. Single stage vehicle consisting of 6 x Recruit + 1 x Algol 1D fired in sequence. More...
  • Little Joe II 4-2-0 American test vehicle. Single stage vehicle consisting of 4 x Recruit + 2 x Algol 1D fired in sequence. More...
  • Little Joe II 5-2-2 American test vehicle. Single stage vehicle consisting of 5 x Recruit + 4 x Algol 1D fired in sequence. More...

Associated Launch Sites
  • White Sands White Sands Missile Range occupies an area 160 x 65 km in the Tularosa Basin of southern New Mexico, across the Sacramento Mountain range from Roswell. In the 1930's, Robert Goddard, after surveying weather conditions and population densities, had selected Roswell for his pioneering rocket tests. White Sands, a true desert area, was even more unpopulated than Roswell. German advances in rocketry during World War II impelled the US Army to begin programs to exploit this technology. The White Sands Proving Ground was established for testing German and American long-range rockets on 9 July 1945. Seven days later the first atomic bomb was exploded at Trinity Site, near the north boundary of the range. The first launch of a Tiny Tim rocket was on 26 September 1945. On 11 October a Tiny Tim boosted a WAC Corporal rocket from the tower. This was the first use of Launch Complex 33, later to be used for V-2, Nike, Viking, Corporal, Lance and Multiple Launch Rocket System testing. More...

Little Joe II Chronology


1961 June 7 - . LV Family: Little Joe II. Launch Vehicle: Little Joe II.
  • Preliminary study of Little Joe Senior - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. A preliminary study of a fin-stabilized solid-fuel rocket booster, the Little Joe Senior, was completed by members of STG. The booster would be capable of propelling a full-size Apollo reentry spacecraft to velocities sufficient to match critical portions of the Saturn trajectory. Additional Details: here....

1961 December 5-20 - . LV Family: Little Joe II. Launch Vehicle: Little Joe II.
  • NASA negotiations with NAA on the Apollo spacecraft contract were held at Williamsburg, Va - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM; CSM LES. NASA negotiations with NAA on the Apollo spacecraft contract were held at Williamsburg, Va. Nine Technical Panels met on December 11 and 12 to review Part 3, Technical Approach, of the Statement of Work. These Panels reported their recommended changes and unresolved questions to the Technical Subcommittee for action. Later in the negotiations, NASA and NAA representatives agreed on changes intended to clarify the original Statement of Work. Among these was the addition of the boilerplate program. Two distinct types of boilerplates were to be fabricated: those of a simple cold-rolled steel construction for drop impact tests and the more complex models to be used with the Little Joe II and Saturn launch vehicles. The Little Joe II, originally conceived in June 1961, was a solid-fuel rocket booster which would be used to man-rate the launch escape system for the command module.

    In addition, the Apollo Project Office, which had been part of the MSC Flight Systems Division, would now report directly to the MSC Director and would be responsible for planning and directing all activities associated with the completion of the Apollo spacecraft project. Primary functions to be performed by the Office would include:

    • Monitor the work of the Apollo Principal Contractor NAA and Associate Contractors.
    • Resolve technical problems arising between the Principal Contractor and Associate Contractors which were not directly resolved between the parties involved.
    • Maintain close liaison with all Apollo contractors to keep fully and currently informed on the status of contract work, potential schedule delays, or technical problems which might impede progress.
    (On January 15, 1962, the Apollo Spacecraft Project Office was established at MSC.)

    Letter contract No. NAS 9-150, authorizing work on the Apollo development program to begin on January 1, 1962, was signed by NASA and NAA on December 21. Under this contract, NAA was assigned the design and development of the command and service modules, the spacecraft adapter, associated ground support equipment, and spacecraft integration. Formal signing of the contract followed on December 31.


1962 March 25-31 - . LV Family: Little Joe II. Launch Vehicle: Little Joe II.
  • Little Joe II test launch vehicle development approved - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Summary: NASA Headquarters approved plans for the development of the Little Joe II test launch vehicle. Prospective bidders were notified of a briefing to be held at MSC on April 6, at which time Requests for Proposals would be distributed..

1962 April 6 - . LV Family: Little Joe II. Launch Vehicle: Little Joe II.
  • Request for proposal for the Little Joe II launch vehicle - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM. The request for a proposal on the Little Joe II test launch vehicle was submitted to bidders by a letter from MSC, together with a Work Statement. Five launches, which were to test boilerplate models of the Apollo spacecraft command module in abort situations, were called for: three in 1963 and two in 1964. Additional Details: here....

1962 May 11 - . LV Family: Little Joe II. Launch Vehicle: Little Joe II.
  • Convair contract for the Little Joe II launch vehicle - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. NASA awarded a letter contract to General Dynamics/Convair to design and manufacture the Little Joe II test launch vehicle which would be used to boost the Apollo spacecraft on unmanned suborbital test flights. The Little Joe II would be powered by clustered solid-fuel engines. At the same time, a separate 30-day contract was awarded to Convair to study the control system requirements. White Sands Missile Range, N. Mex., had been selected for the Little Joe II max q abort and high-altitude abort missions.

1962 August 10 - . LV Family: Little Joe II. Launch Vehicle: Little Joe II.
  • Apollo advance design on construction facilities - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. MSC requested the reprogramming of $100,000 of Fiscal Year 1963 funds for advance design on construction facilities. The funds would be transferred from Launch Operations Center to MSC for use on the Little Joe II program at White Sands Missile Range, N. Mex., and would cover Army Corps of Engineers design work on the launch facility.

1962 August 10 - . LV Family: Little Joe II. Launch Vehicle: Little Joe II.
  • Algol motor for Little Joe II booster - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM. Summary: NASA selected the Aerojet-General Algol solid-propellant motor to power the Little Joe II booster, which would be used to flight-test the command and service modules of the Apollo spacecraft..

1962 September 24 - . LV Family: Little Joe II. Launch Vehicle: Little Joe II.
  • First Apollo Little Joe II launch to be for qualification - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM. Summary: General Dynamics/Convair recommended and obtained NASA's concurrence that the first Little Joe II launch vehicle be used for qualification, employing a dummy payload..

1962 October 26 - . LV Family: Little Joe II; Saturn I; Saturn V.
  • New numbering system for flight missions of the Apollo spacecraft - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Flight missions of the Apollo spacecraft were to be numerically identified in the future according to the following scheme :

    Pad aborts: PA-1, PA-2, etc.

    Missions using Little Joe II launch vehicles: A-001, A-002, etc. Missions using Saturn C-1 launch vehicles: A-101, A-102, etc. Missions using Saturn C-1B launch vehicles: A-201, A-202, etc. Missions using Saturn C-5 launch vehicles: A-501, A-502, etc.

    The 'A' denoted Apollo, the first digit stood for launch vehicle type or series, and the last two digits designated the order of Apollo spacecraft flights within a vehicle series.


1962 December - . LV Family: Little Joe II. Launch Vehicle: Little Joe II.
  • Convair contract negotiations for the Apollo Little Joe II launch vehicle - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM. NASA and General Dynamics/Convair (GD/C) began contract negotiations on the Little Joe II launch vehicle, which was used to flight-test the Apollo launch escape system. The negotiated cost was nearly $6 million. GD/C had already completed the basic structural design of the vehicle.

1963 February 18 - . LV Family: Little Joe II. Launch Vehicle: Little Joe II.
  • Definitive contract let to General Dynamics/Convair for the Little Joe II test vehicle - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. NASA issued a definitive contract for $6,322,643 to General Dynamics Convair for the Little Joe II test vehicle. A number of changes defined by contract change proposals were incorporated into the final document:

    • Four instead of five vehicles to be manufactured and delivered
    • Launching from White Sands Missile Range (WSMR), N.M., instead of Cape Canaveral
    • Additional support equipment, better definition of vehicle design, and responsibility for launch support.

1963 March 25 - . LV Family: Little Joe II. Launch Vehicle: Little Joe II.
  • First Little Joe II completed - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM; CSM Electrical. General Dynamics Convair completed structural assembly of the first launcher for the Little Joe II test program. During the next few weeks, electrical equipment installation, vehicle mating, and checkout were completed. The launcher was then disassembled and delivered to WSMR on April 25, 1963.

1963 April 10 - . LV Family: Little Joe II. Launch Vehicle: Little Joe II.
  • Phase I of the range's launch complex completed - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Wesley E. Messing, MSC WSMR Operations Manager, notified NASA, North American, and General Dynamics/Convair (GD/C) that Phase I of the range's launch complex was completed. GD/C and North American could now install equipment for the launch of boilerplate 6 and the Little Joe II vehicle.

1963 April - . LV Family: Little Joe II. Launch Vehicle: Little Joe II.
  • NASA and General Dynamics/Convair (GD/C) negotiated a second Little Joe II launch vehicle contract - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. NASA and General Dynamics/Convair (GD/C) negotiated a second Little Joe II launch vehicle contract. For an additional $337,456, GD/C expanded its program to include the launch of a qualification test vehicle before the scheduled Apollo tests. This called for an accelerated production schedule for the four launch vehicles and their pair of launchers. An additional telemetry system and an instrumentation transmitter system were incorporated in the qualification test vehicle, which was equipped with a simulated payload. At the same time, NASA established earlier launch dates for the first two Apollo Little Joe II missions.

1963 May - . LV Family: Little Joe II. Launch Vehicle: Little Joe II.
  • Major change to the Little Joe II launch vehicle - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM. NASA and General Dynamics Convair negotiated a major change on the Little Joe II launch vehicle contract. It provided for two additional launch vehicles which would incorporate the attitude control subsystem (as opposed to the early fixed-fin version). On November 1, MSC announced that the contract amendment was being issued. NASA Headquarters' approval followed a week later.

1963 June 10 - . LV Family: Little Joe II. Launch Vehicle: Little Joe II.
  • Contract to Aerojet-General for Algol solid-propellant motors for Apollo Little Joe II vehicles - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Summary: NASA issued a $1,946,450 definitive contract to Aerojet-General Corporation for Algol solid-propellant motors for GD/C's Little Joe II vehicles..

1963 June 14 - . LV Family: Little Joe II. Launch Vehicle: Little Joe II.
  • Final inspection of the Little Joe II launch complex - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Summary: MSC conducted the final inspection of the Little Joe II launch complex at WSMR..

1963 July 15-16 - . LV Family: Little Joe II. Launch Vehicle: Little Joe II.
  • Little Joe II qualification test vehicle shipped - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM. Summary: The Little Joe II qualification test vehicle was shipped from the General Dynamics Convair plant to WSMR, where the test launch was scheduled for August..

1963 August 28 - . 16:00 GMT - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Complex: White Sands LC36. LV Family: Little Joe II. Launch Vehicle: Little Joe II 6-1-0. LV Configuration: Little Joe II-6-1-0 LJII-1 (12-50-1).
  • QTV Spacecraft test - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 8.00 km (4.90 mi). The Little Joe II qualification test vehicle was launched from White Sands Missile Range, N Mexico. Its objectives were to prove the Little Joe's capability as an Apollo spacecraft test vehicle and to determine base pressures and heating on the missile. These aims were achieved. The lone failure was a malfunction in the destruct system.

1963 October 18 - . LV Family: Little Joe II. Launch Vehicle: Little Joe II.
  • Amendments to Little Joe II contract - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. NASA and GD/C negotiated amendments totaling $354,737 to Little Joe II contract. This sum covered study activity and several relatively small changes that came out of a Design Engineering Inspection on May 3. More ground support equipment was authorized, as was fabrication of an additional breadboard autopilot system for use at MSC. The dummy payload was deleted and the instrumentation was limited to a control system on the vehicle to be used for Mission A-002 (BP-23).

1963 December 10-17 - . LV Family: Little Joe II. Launch Vehicle: Little Joe II.
  • Apollo LEM Little Joe II configuration aerodynamically unstable - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo LM. As a result of wind tunnel tests, Langley Research Center researchers found the LEM Little Joe II configuration to be aerodynamically unstable. To achieve stability, larger booster fins were needed. However, bigger fins caused more drag, shortening the length of the flight. MSC was investigating the possibility of using more powerful rocket engines to overcome this performance degradation.

1964 February 10 - . LV Family: Little Joe II. Launch Vehicle: Little Joe II.
  • Grumman to stop all work on the Apollo LEM Little Joe II program - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo LM. Summary: MSC directed Grumman to stop all work on the LEM Little Joe II program. This action followed the ASPO Manager's decision against a testing program for the LEM comparable to that for the CSM..

1964 February 17 - . LV Family: Little Joe II. Launch Vehicle: Little Joe II.
  • Second Little Joe II launch vehicle delivered - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM. Summary: General Dynamics Convair delivered to White Sands Missile Range (WSMR) the second Little Joe II launch vehicle, the first Little Joe II scheduled to fly with a production Apollo spacecraft..

1964 March 12 - . LV Family: Little Joe II. Launch Vehicle: Little Joe II.
  • Contract for 12 Algol solid rocket motors for Apollo Little Joe II vehicles - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. NASA completed formal negotiations with Aerojet-General Corporation for 12 Algol 1-D solid rocket motors, to be used in the Little Joe II vehicles. The contract was a fixed-price-plus-incentive-fee type with a target price of about $1.4 million. A maximum price of 20 percent more than the target cost was allowed.

1964 March 30 - . LV Family: Little Joe II. Launch Vehicle: Little Joe II.
  • Apollo mated to Little Joe II launch vehicle - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM; CSM LES. Summary: CSM boilerplate 12 (with launch escape system) was mated to its Little Joe II launch vehicle..

1964 May 13 - . 12:59 GMT - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Complex: White Sands LC36. LV Family: Little Joe II. Launch Vehicle: Little Joe II 6-1-0. LV Configuration: Little Joe II-6-1-0 LJII-2 (12-50-2).
  • A-001 / BP-12 Spacecraft test - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 5.00 km (3.10 mi). Summary: First flight test of Little Joe II using a command module (CM) boilerplate (BP-12) at White Sands Missile Range, N. Mex..

1964 October 28 - . LV Family: Little Joe II; Saturn I; Saturn V.
  • Apollo mission programming - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM; CSM Block II. ASPO's Operations Planning Division defined the current Apollo mission programming as envisioned by MSC. The overall Apollo flight program was described in terms of its major phases: Little Joe II flights (unmanned Little Joe II development and launch escape vehicle development); Saturn IB flights (unmanned Saturn IB and Block I CSM development, Block I CSM earth orbital operations, unmanned LEM development, and manned Block II CSM/LEM earth orbital operations); and Saturn V flights (unmanned Saturn V and Block II CSM development, manned Block II CSM/LEM earth orbital operations, and manned lunar missions).

1964 December 8 - . 15:00 GMT - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Complex: White Sands LC36. LV Family: Little Joe II. Launch Vehicle: Little Joe II 4-2-0. LV Configuration: Little Joe II-4-2-0 LJII-3 (12-51-1).
  • A-002 / BP-23 Spacecraft test - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 5.00 km (3.10 mi). Boilerplate 23, Mission A-002, was successfully launched from WSMR by a Little Joe II launch vehicle. The test was to demonstrate satisfactory launch escape vehicle performance utilizing the canard subsystem and boost protective cover, and to verify the abort capability in the maximum dynamic pressure region with conditions approximating emergency detection subsystem limits.

1965 March 11-18 - . LV Family: Little Joe II. Launch Vehicle: Little Joe II.
  • Apollo boilerplate (BP) 23 failure analysis - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM; CSM Structural. During the flight of boilerplate (BP) 23, the Little Joe II's control system had coupled with the first lateral bending mode of the vehicle. To ensure against any recurrence of this problem on the forthcoming flight of BP-22, MSC asked North American to submit their latest figures on the stiffness of the spacecraft and its escape tower. These data would be used to compute the first bending mode of BP-22 and its launch vehicle.

1965 May 3 - . LV Family: Little Joe II. Launch Vehicle: Little Joe II.
  • Apollo personnel appointments - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo LM. R. Wayne Young was appointed Chief of the LEM Contract Engineering Branch, ASPO, to perform the functions of Project Officer for the LEM, effective May 3. At the same time M. E. Dell was appointed Chief of the G&N/ACE Contract Engineering Branch, ASPO, and would be responsible for all functions of Project Officer for the guidance and navigation, automatic checkout equipment-spacecraft, and Little Joe II systems for the Apollo spacecraft, and for technical management of the General Electric Support Contract.

1965 May 19 - . 13:01 GMT - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Complex: White Sands LC36. LV Family: Little Joe II. Launch Vehicle: Little Joe II 0-3-3. LV Configuration: Little Joe II-0-3-3 LJII-4 (12-51-2). FAILURE: Failure.
  • Apollo A-003 - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 6.00 km (3.70 mi).

1965 July 13 - . LV Family: Little Joe II. Launch Vehicle: Little Joe II.
  • Little Joe II failure investigation - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. A Little Joe II failure investigation presentation was made at MSC July 13 in which General Dynamics/ Convair (GD/C) and MSC's Engineering and Development (E&D) Directorate presented results of independent failure investigations of the mishap which occurred during Apollo Mission A-003 (Boilerplate 22) on June 22, 1965, at WSMR. Additional Details: here....

1965 November 22 - . LV Family: Little Joe II. Launch Vehicle: Little Joe II.
  • No further requirement for Little Joe II - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Shea. Program: Apollo. Little Joe II Program Manager Milton A. Silveira suggested to ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea that if the next Little Joe II flight test was successful there would be no further requirement for the Little Joe II to support the Apollo program. Silveira said planning had been made with General Dynamics Convair to store the remaining three vehicles, parts, and tooling for one year in case a new requirement from ASPO or NASA should develop. The additional cost of one-year storage compared to normal program closeout was estimated to be small. ASPO concurred with the suggestion on December 1.

1966 January 20 - . 15:17 GMT - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Complex: White Sands LC36. LV Family: Little Joe II. Launch Vehicle: Little Joe II 5-2-2. LV Configuration: Little Joe II-5-2-2 LJII-5 (12-51-3).
  • Apollo A-004 - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 23 km (14 mi).

1966 October 13 - . LV Family: Little Joe II. Launch Vehicle: Little Joe II.
  • General Electric support of Apollo automatic checkout equipment consolidated - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Debus. Program: Apollo. KSC proposed to MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth that the two General Electric Co. efforts at KSC supporting automatic checkout equipment (ACE) for spacecraft operations be consolidated. KSC pointed out there was a supplemental agreement with MSC for General Electric to provide system engineering support to ACE/spacecraft operations. Both the KSC Apollo Program Manager and the Director of Launch Operations considered that merging the two GE efforts into a single task order under KSC administrative control would have advantages. The proposal listed two:

    1. A single interface would exist between KSC and all local GE AEC/spacecraft operations.
    2. Through more efficient use of personnel, the contractor should be able to reduce the manpower level and still be responsive to the demands of the Apollo program.
    Gilruth replied Nov. 1 to KSC Director Kurt H. Debus that MSC had evaluated advantages of transferring certain ACE/spacecraft responsibilities to KSC and had also considered advantages of continuing the existing system. These advantages were:

    1. "To maximize manpower utilization, the current ACE management philosophy provides only optimum manpower for each operational site. A central support group, located at Houston, supplies the required support to any site experiencing special peak activity. This philosophy has created maximum management flexibility."
    2. "The original intent in establishing ACE-S/C checkout philosophy was to assure standardization in checkout procedures and/or program unity from factory checkout through launch activities. By continuing to have all GE ACE-S/C site personnel responsible to the central design/engineering group located in Houston, this continuity is assured."
    3. "Logistics support to KSC ground stations is unified under the present management control. Personnel responsible for providing logistics support to KSC ground stations are administratively linked to the personnel at KSC requiring the support."
    4. "MSC currently provides reliability support, configuration management support, engineering support, management support and logistics support to all ACE-S/C ground stations. By continuing the present contractual arrangement we avoid the possibility of costly duplication in these areas."
    Gilruth said that it was the MSC intent to support system engineering requirements in ACE/spacecraft areas and that further support in these areas was normally supplied by the spacecraft contractor. "Actually it has been our impression that GE/MSC ACE/spacecraft support at KSC and all other locations was sufficient to meet all requirements. . . . It is our opinion that the existing ACE/spacecraft management organization is required to assure optimum fulfilment of the Apollo program."

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