Udvar-Hazy Center Site Index
Big Joe Mercury Boilerplate Gallery


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 Research Centers

Time picture taken Mon Jun 18 13:41:50 2007
Location picture taken Ground Level
James S. McDonnell Space Hangar
Udvar Hazy Center
Chantilly, VA
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