Penn State Dept. of Astronomy & Astrophysics

White Sands Missile Range

White Sands Missile Range

Most of our rocket launches occur at White Sands Missile Range, which is located between Las Cruces and Alamogordo, New Mexico. WSMR is the birthplace of America's space program, which began in 1945 with launches from White Sands of captured German V-2 rockets. The white rocket shown in this view of Missile Park is a liquid-fueled Aerobee, the main workhorse of scientific sounding rockets for over 20 years. Today's sounding rockets are solid-fueled, and are much easier to prepare for launch as a result. The primary workhorse of today's astronomy rocket payloads is the Black Brant IX, also known as a Terrier-Black Brant, which uses a Terrier rocket as a booster (first stage) and a Black Brant V rocket as a sustainer (second stage). The Terrier-Brant is slightly larger than the Aerobee rocket shown here, and can lift a heavier payload to a higher altitude.


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Web page maintained by Scott Koch ( tsk@astro.psu.edu )
Last updated July 8, 1998