Most of the northern Tularosa basin (blue) is used for the WSMR (area within dashed perimeter), which encloses numerous areas that are not military land (e.g., the NPS'sWhite Sands National Park), as well as USAF facilities.
White Sands Missile Range (WSMR) is a military testing area operated by the United States Army. The range was originally established as the White Sands Proving Ground on 9 July 1945. White Sands National Park is located within the range.
The first atomic bomb (code named Trinity) was test detonated at Trinity Site near the northern boundary of the range on 16 July 1945, seven days after the White Sands Proving Ground was established.
After the conclusion of World War II, 100 long-range German V-2 rockets that were captured by U.S. military troops were brought to WSMR. Of these, 67 were test-fired between 1946 and 1951 from the White Sands V-2 Launching Site. (This was followed by the testing of American rockets, which continues to this day, along with testing other technologies.)
NASA's Space Shuttle Columbia landed on the Northrop Strip at WSMR on 30 March 1982 as the conclusion to mission STS-3. This was the only time that NASA used WSMR as a landing site for the space shuttle.
Circa 30 May 1947, a German V-2 sounding rocket fired from White Sands Proving Ground veered off course, crashed and exploded on top of a rocky knoll 3.5 miles south of the Juarez, Mexico business district.
Las Cruces International Airport – No current regularly scheduled commercial passenger flights since 25 July 2005, when Westward Airways ceased operations. General aviation, New Mexico Army National Guard (4 UH-72 Lakota Helicopters), private charters and CAP use the airport, among others.
Ground-based electro-optical deep-space surveillance telescopes performing space surveillance mission.
The White Sands Test Center headquartered at the WSMR "Post Area" has branches for Manned Tactical Systems & Electromagnetic Radiation and conducts missile testing and range recovery operations. Other operations on WSMR land include:
"WSMR Main Post", which includes several smaller areas such as the housing area, golf course, "Navy Area", and "Technical Area" (a recreational shooting range just inside the "El Paso gate" on the south is outside of the Post Area.)
WSMR Museum tours and exhibits, which include V-2 rocket returned in May 2004 after restoration.
White Sands Hall of Fame, which inducts members such as the first range commander (1945–1947), Col. Harold Turner, in 1980.
1941-04-13: US World War II preparations established the Army Air Base, Alamogordo: 1942 Biggs Army Airfield construction began near El Paso (1947 Biggs AFB, 1973 Biggs AAF)--the region's nearby Deming AAF, Ft Sumner AAF, and South Aux Fid #1 transferred to "Army Div Engrs" in 1946.
1940s: When the range was formed, ranchers' land was leased and, in the 1970s, taken permanently to expand the area available for testing.
1951-08-22: Broomstick Scientists in a unit of the 9393 Technical Service Unit conducted their first launch: the "TF-1" V-2 rocket. (Broomstick Sweepings publication ended after a 22 January 1952 general order transferred "1st Ord. GMS Bn." soldiers to Detachment No. 1, Station Complement.)
1952-05: An additional[where?] 40 mi × 117 mi (64 km × 188 km) was set aside for the "Alamogordo bombing range, White Sands proving ground, and the Fort Bliss antiaircraft range".
1952 (mid): The joint range of more than 200,000 acres (81,000 ha) was 2nd in area to the Eglin AFB range (the Edwards AFB range was 3rd.)
1952-11: The range's Red Butte Instrumentation Annex was assigned to Holloman AFB (disposed on 22 November 1963).
1983 thru 30 September 1993 - WSMR hosted the Simtel collection, the largest collection of free software and freeware available to the public on the ARPANET and Internet. It began as a copy of an MIT collection of CP/M software, and expanded to collect free software for other operating systems as well.
1991 (late): Convair QF-106 Delta Dart drones based at Holloman AFB began operating as Full-Scale Aerial Targets over WSMR.
^"STS-3 Columbia Lands at the White Sands Missile Range, NM". 12 June 2015.
^"Remember the time we bombed Mexico with German rockets?". Gizmodo.
^"USAF Accidentally Launched Rocket into Mexico's Mapimi Desert 45 Years Ago". Unredacted.
^ http://fronteralandalliance.org/castner/media/ICRMP.pdf "This report inventoried and evaluated 150 Cold War era properties constructed between 1956 and 1961 at Orogrande Range Doña Ana Range, McGregor Range, North McGregor Range, and Meyer Target Range in New Mexico."
^Rubenson, David; Robert Everson; Jorge Munoz; Robert Weissler (1998). McGregor Renewal and the Current Air Defense Mission. p. 77. ISBN 978-0-8330-2669-9. Retrieved 15 September 2008.
^ abcdefg"A Brief History of White Sands Proving Ground 1941–1965" (PDF). New Mexico State University. Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 October 2014. Retrieved 19 August 2010.
^Greenwood, Richard (14 January 1975). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination: Trinity Site". National Park Service. Retrieved 21 June 2009. Cite journal requires |journal= (help) and Accompanying 10 photos, from 1974.(3.37 MB)
^"Trinity Site". National Historic Landmarks. National Park Service. Archived from the original on 15 February 2008. Retrieved 28 January 2008.
^"Official Home of the 450th Bomb Group Memorial Association". www.450thbg.com.
^ abcdefMueller (1982). "Holloman Air Force Base". Air Force Bases as of 1982 (Report).
^Gibbs, Jason (19 July 2014). "WSMR, DOD may take control of range's Northern Extension Area". Las Cruces Sun-News. The Las Cruces Sun-News. Retrieved 30 July 2014.
^ abOrdway, Frederick I, III; Sharpe, Mitchell R (1979). The Rocket Team. Apogee Books Space Series. New York: Thomas Y. Crowell. pp. 290, 389. ISBN 1-894959-00-0.
^ abcLey, Willy (1958) . Rockets, Missiles and Space Travel (revised ed.). New York: The Viking Press. pp. 246, 253.
^Bluth, John. "Von Karman, Malina laid the groundwork for the future JPL". JPL.
^Hamilton, John A. Blazing skies: Air Defense Artillery on Fort Bliss, 1940-2009("Google eBook" of Government Printing Office document). ISBN 9780160869495. Retrieved 29 May 2014. Special Orders No. 143, Headquarters, Army Ground Forces, dated 6 July 1946, [established] the Antiaircraft and Guided Missile Center [from] the remnants of the Antiaircraft Artillery School, the Antiaircraft Replacement Training Center, Army Ground Forces Board No. 4,13 1st AAA Guided Missile Battalion, the 1852nd Area Service Unit, and remaining antiaircraft units, including three automatic weapons battalions and one gun battalion placed in the Army General Reserve.
^McCleskey, C.; D. Christensen. "Dr. Kurt H. Debus: Launching a Vision" (PDF). p. 35. Archived from the original (PDF) on 17 September 2008. Retrieved 7 October 2008.
^Upper Air Rocket Summary: V-2 No. 4 (PDF) (Report). 29 May 1946. Retrieved 23 May 2014. General Electric Company provided gyros, mixer-computers, wiring, servo motors, and propellant piping to replace those German parts that had deteriorated with age. (also available at PostWarV2.com)
^Hamilton, John A. Blazing skies: Air Defense Artillery on Fort Bliss, 1940-2009. Government Printing Office. ISBN 9780160869495. three officers and fifty-five enlisted men...worked closely with the German rocket scientists who were located in a six-acre ordnance area on the north side of the Fort Bliss cantonment. [The military unit went to WSPG] to provide the manpower to build the [V-2] missiles and erect them on test stands.
^Integration of the Holloman-White Sands Ranges, 1947-1952 (2nd Edition, 1957)
^Mueller (1982). "Holloman Air Force Base". Air Force Bases as of 1982 (Report). p. 248.
^Bushnell, David (25 August 1986). GAPA: Holloman's First Missile Program (Scribd.com image) (Report). Air Force Missile Development Center: Historical Branch. IRIS 00169113. Retrieved 11 August 2013. [1st ramjet GAPA] "was launched 14 November 1947 and the initial liquid-fuel variety 12 March 1948.8... The last of the GAPAs, number 114, was launched 15 August 1950, and the project officially terminated at Holloman the following month.11 (date identified at http://airforcehistoryindex.org/data/000/169/113.xml)
^"Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 October 2014. Retrieved 19 August 2010.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 18 May 2014. Retrieved 18 May 2014.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) test installation
^Kennedy, Gregory P. (1983). Vengeance Weapon 2: The V-2 Guided Missile. Washington DC: Smithsonian Institution Press. p. 62.
^Egermeier, Robert P. (September 2001). "Former "Broomstick Scientist"". Aerospace America: 7.
^Koppenshaver, James T. (30 January 1951). "Broomstick Sweepings" (PDF). Wind and Sand. pp. 1, 6. Retrieved 27 May 2014. late 1950…Fort White Sands…early in 1951
^"The Milwaukee Journal - Google News Archive Search". news.google.com.
^"White Sands Missle Range (WSMR) Historic Newspaper Digital Archive" (PDF). www.wsmrhistoric.com.
^Leonard, Barry (c. 1986). History of Strategic and Ballistic Missile Defense: Volume II: 1956-1972(Army.mil PDF -- also available at Google Books). Retrieved 1 September 2012.[specify]
^Piland, Doyle. "Way Back When..." (PDF). WSMR newsletter. Retrieved 11 April 2014. Launch Complex 38...Site preparation for the TTR [Target Tracking Radar] began in July 1959.... Site preparation for the Discrimination Radar was started in January 1961.
^Site Plan: Nike Zeus Facilities ALA 5 (Map). reproduced in WSMR newsletter: Federal Government of the United States.
^"New Device Will Plot All Planes". Alton Evening Telegraph. 20 August 1959. p. 29. Iconorama shows almost instantly the positions of aircraft thousands of miles away… Traces made by the planes being tracked are scribed on a coated slide by a moving stylus. … The slide plot measures only one inch square, yet overall error of the projected display is said to be about one part in 1,000. … Iconorama units already have been installed and operated at the Pacific Missile Range, Point Mugu Calif.; the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico; the Atlantic Missile Range at Cape Canaveral, Fla., and the Naval Research Laboratory
^(5 June 1963) Kennedy visit leaves lasting impression at WSMR
^Conduct of Redstone Annual Service Practice at White Sands Missile Range New Mexico(Standing Operating Procedure)|format= requires |url= (help), Fort Sill: Headquarters, United States Army Artillery And Missile Center (the Artillery and Missile Center at Ft Sill was redesignated the Field Artillery Center in 1969.)
^"Nike R&D at White Sands, Multi-Function Array Radar, 1954-1970 (page 16)". nikemissile.org.
^"WSTF Community". NASA. Archived from the original on 3 February 2009.
^"Part I. History of ABM Development" (transcript at AlternateWars.com). Retrieved 11 April 2014.