The sign accompanying the Big Joe boilerplate. It reads
Mercury Capsule "Big Joe"
On September 9, 1959, NASA launched this unmanned Mercury spacecraft from Cape
Canaveral, Florida, on a suborbital flight that lasted 13 minutes. It was the
second Mercury launch and the first using an Atlas booster. The flight helped
NASA evaluate the booster, the new ablative heat shield (designed to burn away
during reentry and dissipate heat), the capsule's flight dynamics and
aerodynamic shape, and spacecraft recovery systems and procedures.
The heavily instrumented "Big Joe" was the most massive American spacecraft
launched up to that time. Its internal design was different from the manned
version, but its success paved the way for the beginning of manned Mercury
launches in 1961.
Transferred from NASA
|Height:||2.9 m (9 ft. 4 in.)
|Weight:||2,555 lb (1158.8 kg)
|Manufacturer:||NASA Langley and NASA Lewis