White Sands Test Facility
Las Cruces, New Mexico
Established in 1963, the White Sands Test Facility (WSTF) is a NASA rocket engine testing center located on the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. Originally known as the Apollo site, WSTF evaluated the propulsion and power systems for the Apollo spacecraft. Following the Apollo 1 tragedy in January 1967, the facility also expanded its laboratories to allow for more extensive testing of the materials and components related to propulsion technology. WSTF continued its support during the Space Shuttle program, evaluating the orbiters’ rocket propulsion systems as well as operating a landing training facility, the White Sands Space Harbor. After the Columbia disaster in 2003, WSTF also engineered a Low Velocity Test Facility to investigate explosion phenomena and support NASA’s Return to Flight effort. Managed by the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center in Houston, WSTF services NASA, the Department of Defense, and commercial industry, testing potentially hazardous materials in addition to spaceflight components and power systems.