White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico - Part A

September 14
2007 Fall Trip - 40 days and 3,692 miles into trip

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We spent the night at the Hacienda RV Resort in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Then Continued over the San Andres mountains the next day to visit the museum at White Sands Missile Range. It was a steep climb up and then down from the pass. The White Sands Missile Range headquarters sits back against the mountains and is very picturesque.

Unfortunately, the museum is on the base. It took us about a half hour to get a pass from base security to enter the base and go to the museum.

White Sands Missile Range has an interesting history. It is where the first Atom Bomb was exploded, and the first US rockets tested. It is where almost all Army and Navy surface to air and short range surface to surface missiles were/are tested and improved.

The museum is in two parts. An indoor display of small missiles and video displays of past testing of everything from the atom bomb to missiles to showing the work done to prepare for the space shuttle second backup landing.

The composition of the white sand is such that under the loose sand is a rock hard, very flat, large, and strong surface. To prepare for the shuttle they only had to bulldoze the loose sand and put out lights. The airstrip was used for the landing of the shuttle Columbia when both Kennedy space center in Florida, Edwards AFB in California (first backup) were covered with storms. A crane system was built with the landing strip to lift the shuttle and place it on the modified 747 to fly back to Florida.

A view from our site at the Hacienda RV Resort in Las Cruces. Those are
the San Andres mountains we have to go over to get to White Sands.

We're parked in the museum parking lot at White Sands Missile Range.
Las Cruces is on the other side of the mountains.

One Third scale model of the atom bomb which was exploded here at WSMR.
This is what it looks like before being put into the bomb casing.

The letter which authorized the dropping of the first atom bombs.

A real casing for the size atom bomb which was dropped on Hiroshima.

The test launcher for the surface-to-air Patriot missile.
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