Apollo Boilerplate 12 Space Capsule

Field review by the editors.

Downey, California

Parked outside the Columbia Memorial Space Center: the Apollo Boilerplate 12, an unmanned Apollo capsule. It was attached to the top of a Little Joe II rocket and launched on May 13, 1964, at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. Its mission: test the Apollo launch escape system, and see if the capsule could blast itself free from from the rocket during the most dangerous period of liftoff and then parachute safely back to Earth, theoretically with its astronaut crew alive inside.

At 29,772 feet, Boilerplate 12 did what it was supposed to do, landing several miles downrange with only a few scorch marks and dents. The museum drapes it with Christmas lights every December.

Apollo Boilerplate 12 Space Capsule

Columbia Memorial Space Center

12400 Columbia Way, Downey, CA
Columbia Memorial Space Center. The capsule is outdoors, off of Columbia Way, next to the parking lot.
Tu-Sa 10-5 (Call to verify) Local health policies may affect hours and access.
Adults $5.
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