Birth of the Test Ranges, Part II: The Pacific Missile Range

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“Birth of the Test Ranges, Part II: The Pacific Missile Range” by David K. Stumpf
Published in Quest Volume: 27 #4 (2020)


The decision to locate the US Navy’s first guided missile test range on the West Coast was contentious from the start. The land around Point Mugu, California, was considered by the local farmers as premium agricultural acreage and they wanted the land usurped by the Navy during World War II returned as promised. Leaders of the fishing industry were worried that the testing would have a severe economic impact for the entire Southern California seafood industry. The Navy needed somewhere to test the new guided missile technology in an operational setting, i.e., over water, and Cape Canaveral was not suitable for aircraft and surface vessel weapons testing. The decision to expand the Point Mugu facilities to form the Pacific Missile Range caused friction between the US Air Force and the Navy as well.


Stumpf, David. “Birth of the Test Ranges, Part II: The Pacific Missile Range.” Quest: The History of Spaceflight Quarterly 27, no. 4 (2020): 51-61.

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More Information

  • Archive ID # G300735
  • Format: Document (PDF)
  • Author/Creator:
  • Publication Year: 2020
  • Publisher: Quest
  • Copyright Status: Copyrighted
  • Copyright Holder: SPACE 3.0
  • Language: English
  • Number of Pages: 11
  • Type: History
  • Subject:
  • Collection: Quest
  • Availability: Digital Download