White Sands Missile Range (WSMR) is the largest military installation in the United States, with almost 3,200 square miles in area. The missile range is located 27 miles east of Las Cruces, New Mexico, 55 miles west of Alamogordo, New Mexico and 35 miles north of El Paso Texas.
In 1944, the chief of the Research and Development Service, Office Chief of Ordnance, Major General G.M. Barnes, saw the need of a program of research and development in the field of guided missiles. Major General Barnes was greatly responsible for the establishing of White Sands Missile Range to fulfill this need. Pioneering research in rocket technology shortly after World War II at WSMR helped propel the U.S. into space. Because of this, WSMR is sometimes known as the "Birthplace of the Race to Space".
Today, WSMR is a multi-service test range whose main function is the support of missile development and test programs for the Army, Navy, Air Force, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), other government agencies and private industry.