White Sands Missile Range conducted more tests than there are days in the year.
In 2016 there were 256 hot tests conducted and 283 tests with lasers for a grand total of 539 tests, according to Chief of Range Scheduling Mike Parsons.
In case you forgot, there are 365 days in the year. The team of 500 test employees and contractors was also part of 5,417 events throughout the year. The events included supporting different missions, training and off-range support. In order to give employees a well-deserved break, range operations will shut down from Dec. 16 through Jan. 9.
“It’s an opportunity to do needed maintenance and upgrades to the system and afford employees the opportunity to spend time with family,” said WSMR Director of Range Operations Gilbert Harding.
Harding said the shutdown provides them time to update their software through system level physical updates. The shutdown also provides them time for their equipment to receive needed maintenance from the Logistic Readiness Center. During the shutdown, the Cox Range Control Center will be doing Uninterruptible Power Supply and generator load testing to make sure systems are operational. Chief Range Controller Benny Favela said they will also perform UPS and generator load testing on the three WSMR Surveillance Radars that feed the airspace display for the center.
Favela said they are also testing all the smoke alarms in the building to confirm they are working and sending the proper signals to the Emergency Fire Alarm system that sends an alarm to WSMR Fire Department with the location of the smoke within the building. Harding said this is an opportune time for his employees to take some much needed time off.