USS Desert Ship (LLS-1) is a concrete blockhouse providing assembly and launch facilities simulating shipboard conditions for Navy surface-to-air weapons testing at the Naval Air Warfare Center (NAWC) Weapons Division - White Sands.
The beginning of construction of the Desert Ship coincided with the start of testing of the RIM-8 Talos missile. Although there was a mock christening upon completion of the building, the Desert Ship has never been commissioned and special permission from Congress was required to name the building "USS Desert Ship". The designation "LLS" stands for "Land Locked Ship".
May 1947 - Navy began construction of the Launch Complex 35 (LC-35) blockhouse with two tiltable, 140-foot Aerobee launch towers.
24 November 1947 - Navy launched the first fully configured Aerobee sounding rocket, which carried cosmic-ray instruments to an altitude of 36.7 miles.
3 May 1949 - First launch of the Navy's Viking (rocket) reached an altitude of 50 miles.
Late 1949 - After a V–2 was launched at sea from the deck of USS Midway, the Navy intentionally toppled and exploded a fully fueled V–2 on a segment of carrier flight deck (Operation Pushover) at WSPG.
21 November 1950 - Viking 5 set a single-stage altitude record of 107 miles.
August 1951 - Viking set a single-stage altitude and speed record of 135 miles at 4,100 miles per hour.