Little Joe 2

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Little Joe 2
Launch of the Little Joe 2 (1959).jpg
Little Joe 2 launch
Mission typeAbort test
Mission duration11 minutes, 6 seconds
Distance travelled312 kilometres (194 mi)
Apogee85 kilometres (53 mi)
Spacecraft properties
Spacecraft typeMercury boilerplate
ManufacturerMcDonnell Aircraft
Launch mass1,007 kilograms (2,220 lb)
Start of mission
Launch dateDecember 4, 1959, 16:20 (1959-12-04UTC16:20Z) UTC
RocketLittle Joe
Launch siteWallops LA-1
End of mission
Landing dateDecember 4, 1959, 16:31 (1959-12-04UTC16:32Z) UTC
Mercury insignia.png
Project Mercury
Abort Tests

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 to an altitude of 55 miles (88 km). 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. Sam experienced up to 12Gs and three minutes of weightlessnes.[1] 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.[2]

See also[edit]


 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

  1. ^ Berger, Eric (1 December 2019). "That time a monkey flew to the edge of space and then smashed into a destroyer". Ars Technica. Retrieved 7 December 2019.
  2. ^ "Mercury Little Joe 2 spacecraft display page on A Field Guide to American Spacecraft website".