tv White Sands Missile Range CSPAN August 4, 2018 10:22am-10:41am EDT
remembrance, and i'm starting to find out how devastating the war was. it was all over in africa and china and all that. i think it's important we remember what happened and how many lives were lost here. we don't do this to glorify it. it's more that we like the military history of it. >> we are at the white sands missile range outside of las cruces, new mexico. join us as we go inside the museum to learn about the history of america's missile and space activity.
>> the white sands missile range, located 26 miles from las cruces, is a testing area for the u.s. army. the site of the largest military installation in the united states, consisting of all most 3200 square miles in southern new mexico. while in las cruces, we toured the white sands so range missiles range museum and learned on how the site is used today. at the beginning of the atomic age, was the detonation of the bomb it trinity site and the beginning of the space age in anticipation of the captured german b-2s coming over. those three things set the stage for what occurred here later. all army rocket and missile
testing since that time is taking place here. the navy in 1946 came out, realized the need for developing new missions to defend the fleet. the navy was part of the program, as well. always force initially tested out here going back to world war ii. and then everything through the cold war. you know, every kind of missile, tighten rocket programs, nasa has a big rocket sounding program at here. anything that has to do with rockets and this whole technology kind of began here at white sands. during world war ii, there was a german program. we looked at that program and kind of understood the technological changes that were
occurring. what really sparked the development of american missiles and rockets during world war ii, the navy realized quickly that they had a hard time defending against, causing pilots because they came in quick and low, and guns had a hard time engaging those targets. also, in 1944, the germans went into the production of the first jet powered aircraft. aircraft would be flying higher and faster, and engaging those aircraft with the technology at the time would not work, so we realized something that could keep that pace, that rocket engine, was needed. in 1944, the department of the u.s. army talked to california's department and started looking at rocket technologies and what is behind me came out of that program,
developed primarily as a carrying acket payload up to 2500 feet. also at the time, we understood we would be getting german rocket scientists over to the united states, not only were they a perfect scientific platform to send instruments into the atmosphere, but we had to learn how to build basically these large rockets. toward the end of the war in the spring of 1945, the german rockets had this huge facility in the north part of germany. that was there main test facility for the b-2s. the war in the east between the germans and the soviets was brutal, total war. , 1945, the soviet armies were only about 60 miles.
the german rocket did not want to surrender to the soviets. they just did not want to do it. they realized that if they wanted to pursue the technology and continue what they were doing, the western allies would be the best way to go, so they fled south. the german market team members -- rocket team members fled south. they had cards with them, and if it looked like the men would fall into a light hands, the guards would execute them. but the guards, understanding which way the war was going, slowly dropped off as they made their way south to where they were us no guard force left -- was no guard force left. the fourth infantry division from america was outside of germany and surrendered the german rockets. we had been looking for these guys. we wanted this german rocket team.
in addition, we needed the rockets. we needed the hardware and technology itself. we had captured some in different places, france, some of the rockets and things, but the ball of the production -- but the fault of the production was at an underground facility, which was an ss run facility, b-2s.lave labor to build when the u.s. army got to that part of germany and liberated that, then we got that production facility. the tunnels underground are full of be to equipment -- b-2 equipment. we also located the documents stored and started shipping that over to white sands late spring 1945.
summer of 1945, this material was heading to the united states. most of the came through the port of new orleans, and was put on train cars and shipped out to white sands. ofsile range has a number b-2 items. we have what is probably the most complete original d-2 that still exist. we also have a number of tracking cameras that tracked and recorded missile flights in three dimensional space during the missile flights. behind me over my left developed by the california institute of technology beginning in december 1944. the army needed some -- they were looking at astounding rockets to use for upper atmosphere research. they needed something that could carry a 25 pound payload up to
120,000 miles. developedh and jpl this. we only fired six out here. very successfully. that was the first thing ever fired tear before the -- fired tear. where became important was in 1949. took a corporal and put in the notes of the d2 rocket and created the first stage. we sit record at the time of 250 at a speed of 500 miles an hour and that record remained from most a decade. that was really her first two-stage rocket. america's first attempt to try to do something like that. was that demonstrated
you can take a booster of one type in a rocket from another and you could boost that rocket to a greater altitude by using a second rocket motor. that's what the v2 showed us. the v2 acted as a booster and that was ideology -- technology that would be important in the future this vision with nasa's use of multiple rocket boosters either vehicles in the space. -- to get their vehicles in the space. right now we are standing in missile target, our outdoor exhibit at the missile range. currently contains about 70 large artifacts, we're working on getting more and all the time. these are things that are tester used out here from the early days of until quite recently, actually. we have everything from army history, navy history, some massive pieces out here. we have artillery type rockets,
we have the fat man bomb casing from the trinity site very we are going to discuss the nike missile system. working onrmy was the v2 program your white sands, concurrent with that, they started development of what we know now is the nike system. ajax is the one of a green launcher in the foreground here. basically what nike was was one booster, one rocket to take down one aircraft. the brief was at the time that the soviets would send squadrons of aircraft over the north folder canada into the united states and they would be engaged with one missile per aircraft. that was a big program out here. the nike ajax was the first american missile to actually shoot down an aircraft, in 1951 out here, they shut down a drone b-17 bomber from world war ii. army --his time, the
the german rocket team at left by 1950 and the army had the first guided missile battalion here white sands. these guys were not your typical army draftees at the time, these were very educated, they have degrees in physics, engineering, metallurgy, that kind of thing. they were glad to be here because the alternative was to be in korea running the korean war. they did not mind being out here. what a lot of these men did was they were stationed here, but they would go to bell labs in schenectady, new york. in one instance, they were , differente military civilian groups and military groups on this new technology that was being tested out here. a group of naval aviators come in, these naval pilots, most of him world war ii veterans and they were talking about this new missile system in tested in new mexico called the nike ajax and the naval officers were joking about it and didn't take into seriously.
scientists showed a film of this b-17 being destroyed by a missile here at white sands. the room got silent. the presentation ended and enable flyers filed out of the room very quietly. if the different paradigm shift -- it is a definite paradigm shift in what missiles could do and how to defend against aircraft it was recognized immediately by these liars the potential for these systems. was an important system that was deployed in what they consider rings of steel around cities in the united states. the military installations, the city of chicago had 24 nike ajax batteries around the city of chicago. but the threat changed. ajax was being increasingly seen as not being as robust a system as they
needed. have a relatively short range, so a battery is in the southside of chicago engages a target that is coming in from the north, that degrees going to go down in the city of chicago. it was considered an efficient. because you have to have one missile per one aircraft. they started looking at a different program and they developed the nike zeus, which is the larger missile in the background on the green launcher. it potentially could carry a nuclear warhead. it had for boosters instead of one booster, so it had four times the power. the thinking without one was you could deploy less nike zeus batteries to the same location and engage many more aircraft with a nuclear warhead, thinking was not necessarily to blow up ofrything, but render all the electronics, and he mechanisms in those aircraft and those bombs, if you don't love
them up, render them unusable. nike zeus was deployed for a very long time, but the low 60's , the late 80's and early 90's in some countries. the testing that's been done out here, people think it's been mostly military testing and really it's involved a lot of civilian use as well. a lot of the rockets that are fired out here even today are sounding rockets. used to do upper atmosphere research that is still a big program out here. even with the b-2 program -- the v2 program. while the army and the navy were learning how to fly these large liquid fueled rockets, we understood that this thing provided a perfect platform for scientific instrumentation to send up to 100 miles up in the atmosphere. government ande the army, the navy, johns hopkins university, harvard, and
some others together put together this upper research basically leto the community know how the educational punitives now that they could use these rockets. if you had a project and you are wanting to research on some facet of atmospheric research, you could essentially bid on a rocket and put your proposal in an the army and the navy would say yes or no and if they said yes it came out and breyer experiments out here and they would set the rocket up for you and get ready to go on fire the rocket. you would collect your data, publisher data, that kind of thing. wereber of things that done out here, the first video and photography that showed the curve of the earth from space was done from a v2 at white sands and there were a series of shots in 1947 they use rhesus monkeys. that showed that these small animals could survive the thrust endedocket liftoff
apogee, when the rocket or anything in the rocket becomes weightless, the heart rate and the respiration were good. were critical because after the german rocket team members left, that data was used by the german rocket team, especially number on when he started talking to people about this organization, civilian organization put people into space. it's not just the military applications that are crucial out here. there's been done out here as well. -- a lot of good science done out here as well. we want people to take away the army's role in these two things that really changed history. the army's role in the manhattan andect in the atomic bomb the army's role in the beginning of a space-age with the v2 program. people grew up with dreams of going into space and a new verb braun.ught -- warner von
we also want people to thisstand the role installation has played in the nation's defense, particularly during the cold war and how it continues to provide an important testbed for what's happening today. >> are cities tour staff recently traveled to las cruces, new mexico learn about its rich history. learn more about las cruces and other stops at c-span.org/cities tour. you are watching american history tv, all weekend, every weekend on c-span3. >> american history tv, purdue university professor catherine brownell explains how richard nixon's media strategy changed from his 1960 presidential campaign loss through his
election in 1968 and during his presidency. she also describes how other presidents use radio and television broadcast during baird restorations. the report of the interview of the organization of american historians. it's about 20 minutes. >> kevin brown well as an assistant professor of history at purdue university and the author of the book showbiz, the politics of hollywood in american politics. i have to ask you about the panel of the organization for american historians and that is next and then the agent trump -- nixon and the agent trump. -- the age of trump. >> their historical presidents the next and -- that nixon has set. i look at the antagonism towards really madeat nixon central through s