Sandia National Laboratories
Aerial Cable Site
Burn Site
Drop Tower
Mechanical Shock

Mobile Laser Tracker

Rocket Sled Track
Thermal Test Complex
Water Impact
Visitor Information


Sandia National Laboratories' Drop Tower Facility in Albuquerque, New Mexico, provides a controlled environment for testing a wide variety of small and large test items. This facility can test items that

  • Contain radioactive materials
  • Contain high explosives
  • Are classified to Top Secret

Routine tests include shipping container certification, simulated transportation accidents, and moderate velocity impact. Tests may be conducted at hot or cold pre-conditioned temperatures. Test impact targets include dirt, reinforced concrete (5 1/2 feet by 12 feet by 5 1/2 feet thick), steel plate (5 1/2 feet by 12 feet by 4 inches thick), punch target, or other customer-specified targets. Crush tests also are routinely conducted by dropping a spike or other object on a test item.

This facility can provide high-speed digital data acquisition on up to 48 channels of hardwired instrumentation. Transducers to measure acceleration, pressure, temperature, and strain are most often used.


Guidewire Drop Testing

The guidewire system at the Drop Tower Facility consists of two cables stretched vertically between an anchor on the ground and the top of the tower.

The drop carriage that is attached to tubes that slide over the guide cables can be hoisted to and released from a maximum of 175 feet. Test items can be attached to the carriage in any desired orientation, and this orientation can be maintained to impact. The guidewire system is well suited for testing shipping containers.

Get the Flash Player to see this player.

Trolley Drop Testing

A trolley mounted on the main load cable is used to lift test items to the desired height. The main cable is anchored at ground level and forms an angle of approximately 30 degrees with the tower. Items can be released from a moving trolley to provide test items with a combination of horizontal and vertical velocities up to 100 feet/second.

Additional Information

The Drop Tower Facility is close to Sandia's other testing sites and maintains a variety of data/instrumentation equipment. For shipping and travel purposes, the sites are conveniently located near Albuquerque International Airport and two interstate highways. Sandia can perform the complete test from theoretical model development to execution and data analysis.

The Drop Tower Facility can be configured to meet unusual or unique customer needs and testing criteria.


Top of page


Luis A. Abeyta
(505) 845-3017

Michael F. Hessheimer
(505) 844-6229