White Sands Missile Range
White Sands Missile Range is an active missile test range with a historical museum and missile park. Known as the test site for the first atomic bomb, the range is steeped in military history. Learn about the accomplishments of renowned figures, including Dr. Wernher von Braun, the German-American aerospace engineer and space architect credited with inventing the infamous V-2 and Saturn V rockets.
Spot a V-2 rocket at the edge of the missile park. The V-2 or “Vergeltungswaffe 2” was the world’s first long-range guided ballistic missile. The missile park also displays sounding rockets and multi-stage research missiles. Look for the Nike Hercules, a United States air-defense missile system, capable of carrying a nuclear warhead.
Stop at the MK 39 5-inch/54-caliber lightweight gun in the missile park. The naval artillery gun was designed for use against surface warships and military aircraft. Another interesting display in the missile park is the QH-50 DASH (Drone Anti-Submarine Helicopter). Developed in the 1950s, this aircraft was the first operational unmanned combat helicopter.
The museum at White Sands Missile Range contains a number of fascinating displays on military tests. A scale model of the first atomic bomb detonated at the range’s Trinity Site features in the museum’s displays. Study a V-2 hydrogen peroxide tank, an integral part of the ballistic missile. The collection also contains a V-2 rocket motor. Another highlight is the deconstructed Stinger missile and launcher.
Find White Sands Missile Range Museum about 26 miles (42 kilometers) from the center of Las Cruces, New Mexico. The museum is open year-round, excluding Sundays and holidays. The missile park is open every day, from sunrise to sunset. Both the museum and missile park are free to enter. Reach the site via the Las Cruces or El Paso gates. A guard at White Sands Missile Range will direct you to the museum.
With more than 50 fascinating rockets, missiles and military objects on display, White Sands Missile Range Museum is perfect for an outing of a few hours.