White Sands Missile Range Operations - 1958 (video)

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Lorenzo von Matterhorn
Jan 31, 2009
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Interesting, but the ground impacts all look to be simulated since the inbound missile is never shown zipping into the frame. Another clue is the too-close proximity of troops to the impact in one case. Some not very often seen missiles in this one.

Thanks for posting it.

Interesting, but the ground impacts all look to be simulated since the inbound missile is never shown zipping into the frame.

Yeah. Worst offender is the "moving target", one scene showing a tank moving along the ground, the next is a tank stopped still, apparently sitting in a unique pre-prepared area. As opposed to driving along the totally different area shown before. Not a "moving" target!

Too bad they did that. These missiles did work, there had to be real footage of them working. But perhaps for this movie they wanted "new" footage, and no time to do actual test flights to hit targets so they just rigged stuff to blow up.

One thing that was impressive non-faked camera footage was the "Dart" missile that flew past and just under some kind of high crossbar, ripping thru a large fabric target under the bar. That had to have been a handheld camera, and looked like the camera person was maybe as close as 100-200 feet as it zipped past. That is a lot of faith in the accuracy of that missile not to veer off course, and also foolhardiness by whoever let / ordered anyone to be that close. And that looked grainy enough to likely have been old footage of a test, not shot for this film (as was the footage of fighter jets blowing up, the first one of which showing no clue of a missile hitting it when it blew, but it might have been too fast for a camera frame to catch it. Second one you could see smoke from a different vector, after it blew, indicating a missile hit).
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Where was G.Harry Stine, NAR #2? He was working at WSMR around that time. Why weren't those people in a blockhouse? If it blew up they could all have been killed.

There are many Nike vids on Youtube, some in color, showing a lot of details. It was designed by the phone co! Western Electric. Could use 3 different sizes of nuke warhead.

The radar targeting system was pretty funny, they could not combine all the axis on one screen, so they had THREE, one guy at each one. For elevation, azimuth, and range.

The analog control system had a update rate of 1 second. Wow. But it could hit planes for sure, many tests were done.

That simulation system was based on an analog computer, you can tell by the rows of pots, and digital was not up to it yet in those days, probably due to programming limits.

Surplus Nike motors were used on rocket sled tests in New Mexico, I saw several, some supersonic. They have parachutes that can open at Mach 2, Kevlar webbing.

If you have never seen one, find a vid on the Sprint missile, it is faster than heck.
Very cool, I've been to white sands and been through the museum but it really needs an update. Glad to see the video. They had small missile test that day but I never saw or heard it.