Little Joe II and BP-22: Safety FirstA rocket similar to this one-stage rocket, nicknamed Little Joe II, was used from 1963 to 1966 to test the Apollo/Saturn V Launch Escape System (LES). The LES was designed to propel the crew capsule to safety in the event of a rocket failure during launch.The capsule on display is boilerplate BP-22 used for structural testing on the launch pad. It's attached to Service Module SM-102.The Apollo capsule boilerplate (BP-22) atop this rocket survived an explosion. During an LES test, the rocket unexpectedly broke up 25 seconds after liftoff at 14,000 feet (4,300 m). The LES detected the malfunction, ejecting BP-22 to 19,000 feet (5,800 m) - away from the dangerous explosion. Parachutes lowered the boilerplate safely to the ground. The unplanned malfunction demonstrated that the Launch Escape System performed successfully. It represented an important safety milestone in the Apollo program.Little Joe II was named after "Little Joe," a similar four-finned test rocket for Project Mercury, pictured left. Mercury spacecraft designer Max Faget coined the name based on the similar appearance in a cross section of the motor configuration and four large fins of the rocket to a roll of four ("little Joe on the front row") in the dice game Craps.