The Little Joe 2 was a test of the Mercury space capsule, carrying the Rhesus monkey Sam (Macaca mulatta) close to the edge of space. He was sent to test the space equipment and the adverse effects of space on humans.
Sam, the Rhesus monkey flown aboard Little Joe 2
The flight was launched December 4, 1959, at 11:15 a.m. ET from Wallops Island, Virginia, United States. Little Joe 2 flew 55 miles (88 km) into space. It was recovered, with the monkey intact, in the Atlantic Ocean by USS Borie. Sam was one of a series of monkeys in space. Sam, from the School of Aviation Medicine in San Antonio, Texas, received his name as an acronym of the facility. The flight time was 11 minutes, 6 seconds, with a payload of 1,007 kg.
The boilerplate Mercury spacecraft used in the Little Joe 2 mission is currently displayed at Airpower Park and Museum, Hampton, Virginia.