Encyclopedia Astronautica
Little Joe 1 4P


American test vehicle. Two stage vehicle consisting of 4 x Recruit + 4 x Pollux

Failures: 2. First Fail Date: 1959-08-21. Last Fail Date: 1959-09-02.

Gross mass: 12,700 kg (27,900 lb).
Height: 15.20 m (49.80 ft).
Diameter: 2.03 m (6.66 ft).
Thrust: 650.00 kN (146,120 lbf).
Apogee: 60 km (37 mi).
First Launch: 1959.08.21.
Last Launch: 1959.10.04.
Number: 3 .

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
See also
  • Little Joe Little Joe was used to test the Mercury capsule launch escape system. The booster was designed by NASA Langley using existing components. Six to eight solid rocket motors were mounted in an aerodynamic finned fairing built by North American. More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • North American American manufacturer of rockets, spacecraft, and rocket engines. North American, Palmdale, El Segundo. Downey, CA, USA More...

Associated Programs
  • Mercury Mercury was America's first man-in-space project. Setting the precedent for the later Gemini, Apollo, and Shuttle programs, any capsule configuration proposed by the contractors was acceptable as long as it was the one NASA's Langley facility, and in particular, Max Faget, had developed. McDonnell, at that time a renegade contractor of innovative Navy fighters that had a history of problems in service, received the contract. The capsule had to be as small as possible to match the payload capability of America's first ICBM, the Atlas, which would be used for orbital missions. The resulting design was less than a third of the weight of the Russian Vostok spacecraft, and more limited as a result. More...

Associated Launch Sites
  • Wallops Island Small NASA launch site for sounding rocket launches and occasional Scout launches to orbit. Air launches are conducted from the Drop Zone Wallops Island, 37.00 N 72.0 W. With the last orbital launch in 1985 and the decline in sounding rocket launches, Wallops fell into near-disuse as a launch center. Its fortunes revised with the establishment of Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport in 2005 and orbital launches resumed in 2010. More...
  • Wallops Island LA1 Little Joe, Iris, Astrobee, Aerobee, Little Joe 1 2C launch complex. Aerobee Launcher, Launch Area 1 More...

Associated Stages

Little Joe 1 4P Chronology


1959 August 21 - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. Launch Complex: Wallops Island LA1. LV Family: Little Joe. Launch Vehicle: Little Joe 1 4P. LV Configuration: Little Joe 1-4P LJ-1. FAILURE: Failure.
  • Mercury LJ-1 - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 1.00 km (0.60 mi). During the countdown of the first programed Little Joe launching (LJ-1 beach abort test) at Wallops Island, the escape rocket fired prematurely 31 minutes before the scheduled launch. The spacecraft rose to an altitude of 2,000 feet and landed about 2,000 feet from the launch site. Premature firing was caused by a faulty escape circuit.

1959 September 2 - . LV Family: Little Joe. Launch Vehicle: Little Joe 1 4P. FAILURE: Emergency escape rocket fired 30 minutes before planned launch..
  • Mercury LJ-1 - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Summary: 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..

1959 October 4 - . 10:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. Launch Complex: Wallops Island LA1. LV Family: Little Joe. Launch Vehicle: Little Joe 1 4P. LV Configuration: Little Joe 1-4P LJ-6.
  • Spacecraft test - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 59 km (36 mi). Summary: NASA Little Joe launch vehicle carrying a boilerplate Mercury capsule with a dummy escape system successfully launched from Wallops Station, Va..

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