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 Monument), as well as USAF facilities.
White Sands Missile Range (WSMR) is a United States Army military testing area of almost 3,200 sq mi (8,300 km2) in parts of five counties in southern New Mexico. The largest military installation in the United States, WSMR and the 600,000-acre (2,400 km2) McGregor Range Complex at Fort Bliss to the south (southeast Tularosa Basin and on Otero Mesa) are contiguous areas for military testing. On 9 July 1945, the White Sands Proving Ground was established for testing German and American long range rockets. Just seven days later, the first atomic bomb test, code named Trinity was exploded at Trinity Site, near the north boundary of the range.
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 #FZ04/20919 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 (14 Dec 1946), Ft Sumner AAF (6 Mar), and South Aux Fid #1 (4 Apr) 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.
^[fronteralandalliance.org] "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."
^Hamilton, John A. Blazing skies: Air Defense Artillery on Fort Bliss, 1940-2009("Google eBook" of Government Printing Office document). Retrieved 2014-05-29. Special Orders No. 143, Headquarters, Army Ground Forces, dated July 6, 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.
^Hamilton, John A. Blazing skies: Air Defense Artillery on Fort Bliss, 1940-2009. Government Printing Office. 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 (1986-08-25). GAPA: Holloman's First Missile Program(Scribd.com image) (Report). Air Force Missile Development Center: Historical Branch. IRIS 00169113. Retrieved 2013-08-11. [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 [airforcehistoryindex.org])]
^Piland, Doyle. "Way Back When..."(PDF). WSMR newsletter. Retrieved 2014-04-11. 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. |access-date= requires |url= (help)
^"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
^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.)