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Tonopah Test Range

From Academic Kids

Missing image
Jfader_tonopah_airfield2.jpg
Tonopah airbase and the surrounding test range
(composite NASA Landsat-7 image)

Tonopah Test Range is a military installation located about 30 miles southeast of Tonopah, Nevada. It is part of the northern fringe of the Nellis Range and is inaccessible to the public. The Tonopah Test Range measures 625 square miles in size. It was opened in 1957 as a testing site for United States Department of Energy weapons programs, and for most of its life it was administered by Sandia National Laboratories. It is also used for launching sounding rockets.

Tonopah Test Range also describes the modern air base located near the range's center at Template:Coor dm. The base is legendary for serving as the home of the U.S. Air Force's F-117 Nighthawk stealth fighter fleet between 1984 and 1992. The facility boasts a 12,000 ft (3.7 km) runway, over fifty hangars, and an extensive support infrastructure. About six miles north of the airfield is a large housing area called Mancamp, which contains dormitories, a library, cafeteria, and gym. During the years of the F-117 project Mancamp was connected to the airfield by shuttle bus service, while the airfield in turn was connected to Nellis Air Force Base by five to twenty Boeing 727 flights per day.

The range is largely in a valley flanked by the Cactus Range to the west. To the east is the Kawich Range, home of Silverbow, one of the largest mining ghost towns in Nevada. The range holds a sizable wild horse and coyote population, closely monitored by the Bureau of Land Management.

Tonopah Test Range is around 70 miles northwest of Groom Dry Lake, home of the secret Area 51 facility.

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