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New Mexico State University

UAS TAAC

The first UAS Flight Test Center was created between the FAA and NMSU in 2008. This site was added to the six congressionally directed sites that were later selected in 2013.

WSPG:  The Johns Hopkins University's Applied Physics Laboratory

APL_1942.jpgAPL's first "home" was a Silver Spring, MD, building (the Wolfe Building, pictured right) commandeered by the U.S. government.  The Johns Hopkins University's Applied Physics Laboratory began operations on March 10, 1942.  The Laboratory was tasked with finding a more effective way to defend against enemy air attacks.  APL's engineers and scientists designed, built, and tested a proximity fuze that significantly increased the effectiveness of anti-aircraft shells.  APL_1942_3.jpgThe proximity fuze was later judged to be one of the three most valuable technology developments of the war (along with the atomic bomb and radar).  The Wolfe building was quickly transformed into a "modern" office building (pictured right)

Prior to the end of World War II, BuOrd also began development of an anti-aircraft guided missile for fleet defense. This rather awesome task (code named "Bumblebee") was assigned to the Applied Physics Laboratory.

According to PSL's Hanford (Handy) Fairchild, "APL got the missile program because they had been so successful with their proximity fuze in WW II. I was on Ie Shima where there were a lot of ack-ack guns banging away at Japanese planes without much success. [In May of 1945], we … noticed they were knocking them down easily, sometimes with the first round! APL's fuze was doing it."

In early January 1946 as the V-2 was being prepared for its first launch at WSPG, its deficiencies as a sounding rocket were already apparent.  It was too large and powerful for its intended application and would not be cost effective to produce and launch for scientific research purposes.  Its reliability was questionable.  After finding no other suitable rocket (the Wac Corporal was too small for extensive use), Dr. James A. Van Allen of APL and member of the V-2 Upper Atmosphere Research Panel initiated efforts to have a suitable sounding rocket developed under the auspices of the Bumblebee program.

Aerojet Engineering Corporation, builder of the WAC, was asked to submit a proposal for supplying 20 liquid-fueled rockets capable of carrying 150 pounds to 200,000 feet.