Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Titan II Missile Site Museum

Southern Arizona, especially south of Tucson in the Green Valley area has lots of interesting sites begging to be investigated.  We felt that one we should check out is the National Historic Landmark site of the only remaining intact Titan II Missile Silo.  There were 18 in the Wichita, KS area, 18 in the Little Rock, AR area and 18 in the Tucson area.  The US built these silos in the early stages of the Cold War to keep the peace by a show of force.  They building started in the Tucson area in 1961.
The 18 Titan II Missile sites around Tucson, AZ
Photo of a photo of the Titan Missile in the silo.
Photo of the missile site
The cover of the silo is partially open with a glass cover over it.  That is to prove that this silo is not operable to launch the missile inside it.  All the Titan II missiles from the silos have been destroyed by the fuel damaging them.  The museum missile was the one used for training at Sheppard Air Force Base, TX.  The missiles were kept fueled and ready to launch.  They could be launched in just 58 seconds.  Of course that was after the message to launch was given by the President of the US.  That message was confirmed by a series of methods.  At the silo, the Commander and Lt Commander were then able to get their launch keys and coordinate the timing to launch the missile.  After launching the missile was arrive at the target in 30-40 minutes.

Display of the warhead that would carry the nuclear bomb
We walked down 55 steps to the Control Room in the silo.  The walls were very thick and there were lots of large spring "shock absorbers" to keep the equipment steady. 

The Museum Director who led our tour was a former officer at the site.  She gave lots of info on what went on during a work shift.  She also called on Ron to sit in the Commanders seat and demonstrate launching the missile.

Don't turn the key until the end of the countdown

Holding the key for five seconds

Sirens went off and red lights flashed.  There was a malfunction of the launch and the missile didn't go anywhere!  It was a nice demonstration of what could have happened.

After climbing those 55 steps back out there was a question and answer time with the director, then we walked around the outside displays.
Stage One Rocket

Stage Two Rocket

Vernier Motor

1 comment:

Bev Shipley said...

Really interesting! Great photos!