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In testing, details matter

October 31, 2017

For White Sands Test Center, granular detail can mean the difference between a successful test that produces information critical to the performance of a missile or space system and a failure that wastes time, money and countless other resources.

"Tests are all conditions based," said Col. Eric C. Rannow, Test Center commander. "If the conditions aren't right, we're not going to go forward with the test."

Every Monday, Rannow gathers all White Sands Missile Range testing stakeholders around a table to make sure the multitudes of moving parts needed to make missions go off without a hitch are in place. It's called the Test Readiness Review, and it's anything but a run-of-the-mill staff huddle.

"Many times the conditions for a test will change the week before," he said. "We're making sure that those changes are communicated across the whole enterprise to ensure success."

Details range from mundane things like the placement of portable toilets to the highest of high-tech telemetry equipment.

And the work isn't limited to the range space in New Mexico. Test Center experts deploy around the globe to places like Australia, Kwajalein Atoll and Wake Island where they orchestrate the complex muscle movements required for the most sophisticated testing regimes.

"Most recently, we sent some folks to the North Atlantic to help support some Navy testing in Scotland," Rannow said.

That Oct. 15 test, part of Formidable Shield 2017, involved 14 ships, 10 aircraft and some 3,300 personnel from 10 countries, including the United States, and took place on the United Kingdom's Hebrides Range in the Western Scottish Isles. A team from the U.S. Navy's White Sands Missile Range Detachment of the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Port Hueneme Division, installed a launcher and other equipment in Scotland. WSTC experts conducted critical flight safety analyses across the test area. They also performed telemetry, meteorological and data display functions unique to the Test Center's expertise.

WSMR has successfully conducted tests for all branches of the U.S. military, allied and partner nations and defense and space industry innovators for more than seven decades. The Test Center's continued attention to minute detail ensures successful tests will continue well into the future.

This page was last updated on 10/26/2018 2:14 PM