This is the Little Joe II, a solid propellant powered test vehicle for launching Project Apollo "boiler plate" space capsules for testing the Apollo abort system. The system consisted of the Launch Escape System (LES) tower and escape rockets. The Little Joe II was only used over short trajectories and altitudes. Five Little Joe II vehicles were flown from 1963 to 1966 at the White Sands Proving Grounds, New Mexico. The vehicle shown here has the BP-22 (Boiler Plate # 22) capsule that was flown and recovered by parachute in 1965. The Little Joe was transferred from NASA to the Smithsonian in 1977.
Transferred from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration