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The Tonopah Test Range offers a wide array of signal-tracking equipment, including video, high-speed cameras, and radar-tracking devices. This equipment is used to characterize ballistics, aerodynamics, and parachute performance for artillery shells, bomb
The Tonopah Test Range offers a wide array of signal-tracking equipment, including video, high-speed cameras, and radar-tracking devices. This equipment is used to characterize ballistics, aerodynamics, and parachute performance for artillery shells, bomb

A team of subject matter experts at the National Nuclear Security Administration’s (NNSA’s) Sandia Field Office (SFO) was recently awarded the Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Secretary’s Honor Award for their efforts in negotiations with the United States Air Force to reach an acceptable agreement on a new permit and operating agreement for the Tonopah Test Range (TTR) located near Tonopah, Nevada.

The Tonopah Test Range Test Operations Center houses mission critical systems and personnel that coordinate all activities during testing operations. The Control Room provides a 360-degree view of the test range.
The Tonopah Test Range Test Operations Center houses mission critical systems and personnel that coordinate all activities during testing operations. The Control Room provides a 360-degree view of the test range.

The TTR is the testing range of choice for many national security missions, and so failure to extend the permit would have caused a cessation of critical planned weapons tests at the site. Instead, the work of this team enabled the Nuclear Security Enterprise to assure the testing of gravity nuclear weapons without mission disruption.

The 2019 Secretary’s Honor Awards were announced January 20, 2021. The awards recognize DOE employees and contractors for their service and contributions to the Department’s mission to the benefit of the Nation.

“The NNSA’s national security mission at the Tonopah Test Range is critical,” said Jeff Harrell, Manager of the NNSA Sandia Field Office. “I am truly thankful to all the members of the team for their dedication and perseverance to accomplish the agreement with the Air Force for the new permit.”

The restricted airspace over the Tonopah Test Range is controlled by the Nevada Test and Training Range, formerly the 98th Range Wing, located at Nellis Air Force Base.
The restricted airspace over the Tonopah Test Range is controlled by the Nevada Test and Training Range, formerly the 98th Range Wing, located at Nellis Air Force Base.

The SFO team members were Mike Duvall, Susan Lacy, Curtis McHaley, Aaron Perea, Doris Sandoval-Tellez, James Todd, William “Bill” Wechsler, and Cynthia Wimberly. Principal Assistant Deputy Administrator for Defense Programs Phil Calbos (NA-10) and Real Estate Contracting Officer Joelle Altamirano (NA-521) were also members of the team.

“It is a great honor for the team to receive this award,” said Mike Duvall, team member and SFO Deputy Manager. “We worked diligently over the course of two years to ensure the new permit with the Air Force would meet the Nation’s national security needs.”

Sandia National Laboratories conducts operations at TTR in support of the NNSA’s weapons programs. Activities at TTR include stockpile reliability testing; arming, fusing, and firing systems testing; and the testing of nuclear weapon delivery systems. The range also offers a unique testing environment for use by other U.S. government agencies and their contractors.

Visit the Tonopah Test Range website for more information.