Military's past and future at White Sands Missile Range

Facility in southern New Mexico showcases some of the most important Cold War-era missiles even as it works on the newest, secret technology.

At the White Sands Missile Range near Las Cruces, N.M., the U.S. military conducts regular missile tests, often forcing closure of the nearby highway. Daniel Terdiman/CNET News.com

TULAROSA BASIN, N.M.--I'm looking at a field full of old, mainly Cold-War-era missiles, and it's hard not to get a chill, despite the high-'90s temperature.

I'm at the White Sands Missile Range, a giant facility in the Tularosa Basin of New Mexico--visiting as part of Road Trip 2007--where the U.S. military conducts some of its most secret missile experiments.

This gantry was used to launch rockets like the V-2 at the White Sands Missile Range. Daniel Terdiman/CNET News.com

Much of it is controlled from the Cox Range Control Center, a very highly classified building that my guide wasn't able to let me see.

But she did escort me through the missile park, which included old standbys like the Pershing missile, the Ajax Hercules, the Nike Hercules and even a Patriot.

This place is not for the faint of heart. They won't even let you photograph the facility's entrance. And security is very tight.

Still, it's a very interesting step back in time, even as the military is keeping things very much up to date.

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About the author

Daniel Terdiman is a senior writer at CNET News covering Twitter, Net culture, and everything in between.

 

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