In this experiment, 600 tons of high explosive were detonated at White Sands Missile Range at 12:35:40 local time on 16 September 1981. A mill race is the channel that carries water from the mill pond to the waterwheel and returns it to the stream after the water passes over the waterwheel and powers the mill.
The US Army at Natick (NLABS) conducted a program to develop a nuclear hardened, mobile, tactical shelter which would be used to house C3 systems. As part of this program, a prototype shelter was designed to withstand a blast loading corresponding to a 10.0 psi (68.9-kPa) incident overpressure. The hardened shelter was then constructed, instrumented and subjected to a simulated nuclear blast loading at the MILL RACE test, White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico. The principal objectives of the test were to evaluate analytical methods for predicting shelter structural effects and shelter overturning effects induced by blast loading and to assess the validity of a particular design concept using conventional materials. Comparison of measured predicted values of shelter wall strain and shelter overturning motion confirm the validity of the analytical methods used. Test results demonstrated that a design featuring shear stiffened sandwich panels with aluminum face materials could withstand a nominal 10.0 psi incident shock loading.
The principal objective of the Los Alamos National Laboratory in the MILL RACE experiment was to measure the over-head ionospheric response due to the MILL RACE explosion. Such a measurement enables testing computer models designed to quantitatively predict ionospheric disturbances caused by known sources. The emphasis of the models had been directed at calculating effects on rf propagation associated with the predicted ionospheric disturbances. Consequently vertical incidence phase sounding measurements of a well-characterized source provide a direct and sensitive test of the computer models and, for this reason, a vertical incidence phase sounder was located 3300 meters to the west of the MILL RACE ground zero. Another area of interest was the development of an understanding of the atmospheric response to known sources at distances where the acoustic response no longer dominates. Such an undertaking requires measurements at these remote points. Deployment of a bistatic sounding network enabled the investigation of this area of interest.
As participant in DOE/ISA`s Ionospheric Monitoring Program, LLNL had the responsibility of providing theoretical understanding and calculational support for experimental activities carried out by Los Alamos National Laboratory in using ionospheric sounders to remotely detect violent atmospheric phenomena. Livermore developed a system of interconnected computer codes which simulated the entire range of atmospheric and ionospheric processes involved in this remote detection procedure. LLNL was able to model the acoustic pulse shape from an atmospheric explosion, the subsequent nonlinear transport of this energy to all parts of the immediate atmosphere including the ionosphere, and the propagation of high-frequency ratio waves through the acoustically perturbed ionosphere. Los Alamos` coverage of DNA`s MILL RACE event provided an excellent opportunity to assess the credibility of the calculational system to correctly predict how ionospheric sounders would respond to a surface-based chemical explosion. Vertical incidence rf phase sounders and bistatic oblique incidence rf sounders fielded by Los Alamos and SRI International throughout New Mexico and southern Colorado detected the ionospheric perturbation that ensued.
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