The Experimental Test Site at White Sands Missile Range

The Experimental Test Site (ETS) is an electro-optical test facility that Lincoln Laboratory staff manage for the U.S. Air Force.
The Experimental Test Site is located in the desert outside Socorro, New Mexico.
The Experimental Test Site is located in the desert outside Socorro, New Mexico.

This facility is adjacent to the Air Force's Ground-Based Electro-Optical Deep Space Surveillance (GEODSS) system on the grounds of the U.S. Army's White Sands Missile Range (WSMR) in Socorro, New Mexico.

One of the ground-based electro-optical deep-space surveillance sensors at the Experimental Test Site.
One of the ground-based electro-optical deep-space surveillance sensors at the Experimental Test Site.

A  small Lincoln Laboratory team at the ETS uses the facility's sensors, such as the one pictured, to support R&D into technologies that can improve an electro-optical system's ability to perform space surveillance. To help create an accurate picture of the space environment, the ETS staff obtains measurements on and tracks near-Earth and deep-space objects, such as minor planets, satellites, and space debris. The sensitive wide-field sensors of the ETS can also be used to measure the phenomena resulting from chemical releases.

Lincoln Laboratory directs a related NASA-funded program called the Lincoln Near-Earth Asteroid Research, or LINEAR. Our researchers have used the two GEODSS systems at the ETS and the Space Surveillance Telescope at nearby Atom Peak to discover near-Earth asteroids; more than 50 percent of the known asteroids in our solar system have been discovered through this program.