Little Joe II - Estes

Scale replica of the test rocket for Apollo Launch Escape System. An accurate kit for E and F motors, full of details for the skilled modeller.

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The Little Joe is back! This kit is a 1/45th scale of the test vehicle used in the Sixties for five unmanned test flights of the Apollo LES (Launch Escape System) and to verify the performance of the Command Module parachute recovery system in abort mode.

If you are looking for a beautiful scale kit and you like to spend time and your skills in building an historical rocket, this kit can be one of your best choice.

The main rocket body tube and the LES body tube are made from classic Estes cardboard, strong and light. The cardboard parts stops here. All the rest is injection molded plastic, just like display model airplane kits, and vacuform thin plastic wraps. The Apollo CM is a sturdy part made of plastic as well.

The kit parts are very well done, very accurate and one cannot wait to start building it. The corrugation on the body are made of a plastic wrap, while fins, nozzles, Reaction Control Systems, conduits, cable tunnels, antennas, LES structure are all plastic parts to be separated from the classic sprue.

Instructions are accurate, in perfect Estes style, and they are written in six different languages. The instructions shows the placement of decals and all the details with great accuracy. If you want to build a museum-quality model, you can do it.


The kit is recovered by the typical plastic Estes parachute, tied to the rocket with the usual elastic rubber band. We would replace both parts, because the rocket is not very light and elastic rubber bands are well known to have a short duration. We suggest to replace the parachute with one of the same size made of nylon (Top Flight PAR-24 THIN is perfect), and we would use a short lenght of 3 mm tubular kevlar for the first part of the shock cord, and a nylon strap for the rest.

Estes suggests to fly this rocket with the composite E30-4T motor only. While this motor is surely a good choice for the size and weight of this rocket, we wouldn't limit the choice to it.

Without any modification you can use the Aerotech RMS 24/40 reloadable motor with reloads like the E28-4T, F24-7W, F39-6T, or the Aerotech RMS 24/60 with F35-8W reload.

With a little modification to the motor retainer (file off the lip which goes inside the motor tube) you can use an Aerotech F30-6FJ and F32-6T, so you have more choices and you will always find a suitable motor available.

To launch this rocket you need a launch pad with a 5 mm launch rod (sold separately). With E motors you can still use the Estes Porta Pad II, but the Klima Launch Pad would be advisable as it is larger, heavier and more stable.

With an F motor we suggest a larger launch pad like the Aerotech Mantis.

As this kit use composite motors, the launch controller must deliver 12 volts like the Aerotech Interlock controller or the Estes PS II Launch controller.

To assemble the kit you need plastic cement and wood glue.  

Data sheet

59 cm
87 mm
235 gr
Motor mount
24 mm
60 cm (24") plastic parachute
Launch pad
5 mm launch rod
Recommended Engines
Aerotech Single Use E30-4T, F32-6T, F30-6FJ - Aerotech reloads for RMS 24/40: E28-4T, F24-7W, F39-6T - Aerotech reloads for RMS 24/60: F35-8W