Model in wood, plastic, and metal. 24 inches tall, with detachable capsule, escape tower, and central escape rocket painted in white, silver, black and red, unknown manufacturer, ca. 1960.
"Little Joe" was an unmanned solid-fueled booster rocket designed to test the Mercury spacecraft's structure and performance against aerodynamic loads during low altitude flight. It was the first rocket designed for the sole purpose of qualifying manned spacecraft, and was one of the first launch vehicles to use the rocket cluster principle. It was used for a total of eight launches from 1959-1960. Designed by Max Faget and Paul Purser, the rocket, which had a four rocket cluster, got its nickname "Little Joe" from the dice game craps, where a roll of double deuces is referred to as a "Little Joe."