This is a Little Joe II, a solid propellant powered test vehicle for launching Project Apollo "boilerplate" space capsules for testing the Apollo abort system. The abort 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 in the testing program from 1963 to 1966, all launched from the White Sands Proving Grounds, New Mexico.
This Little Joe II was transferred from NASA to the Smithsonian Institution in 1974.