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The Kauai Test Facility . . . Sandia's western-most outpost

The Kauai Test Facility . . . Sandia’s western-most outpost

John German

200 beachfront acres on the western shore of the island of Kauai, Hawaii.

A dozen people — mostly contractors — work here year-round. But when a missile needs launching, 75 Sandians might report to work here in a single day. Some fly out weeks early. Others spend just a few nights.

For more than 40 years dating back to 1962, when the US and Soviet Union were trading atmospheric nuclear tests in a volley of Cold War-style one-upmanship, Sandians have visited here to conduct rocket flight test experiments, from offensive and defensive weapons testing to atmospheric studies and high-tech star gazing.

Now, as the United States works to develop a defensive capability against missile attacks, KTF is making steady progress in solidifying a reputation as a national test asset.

Here is a glimpse of life at KTF during one recent countdown, and the exceptional service in the national interest rendered at Sandia’s western-most outpost.

The series of articles appears below.