Minuteman Missile National Historic Site

Today started with a trip to a bit of a hidden site, Minuteman Missile National Historic Site. National Park Service offers tours of one of the launch control facilities that could launch the missiles sitting in underground silos. Above ground are the support facilities, which on the outside look a bit like a pre-fabricated house or some small commercial building. The underground launch control center was connected by cable to ten missile in underground silos that it could launch. The control center was also connected to other launch control centers that could launch its own missiles. I found the tour rather interesting, but I also found it somewhat unnerving. The visitor’s center has a nice exhibit about not only the site but also the arms race and the members of the military who worked at these sites. The visitor’s center also has information about close calls during the Cold War. I found it all scary. I also consider current events, and it still scares me.

Layout of facility

Inside, the above ground facilities pretty much resemble a dormitory. About the only way it differs from a dormitory is the security room, which is far more equipped than any college campus.

Above ground dormitory like rooms

Through the security room is an elevator and ladder to the underground portion.

Stairwell down to control bunker

The underground portion consists of a small locker area that then leads to a giant steel door to the launch control center.

Giant door to launch control center

The launch control center is enclosed in a giant steel cylindrical container.

Photograph of steel-covered control center being installed underground

There are numerous support utilities connected to the launch control center. The center was made to withstand a nuclear blast, although not a direct hit. Numerous cables connects the center to the missiles it could launch as well as the command centers. It has support utilities like electricity and air.

Support utilities connecting to control center

Inside is rather antiquated looking equipment that could have been used to start World War III.

Launch control desk

Launch control desk

Launch control facilities

4 Replies to “Minuteman Missile National Historic Site”

    • The military members did 24 hours shifts in the launch control center. The cook would bring them meals, and they would only open the door to get the food after the cook left. It was not clear to me how long they could survive in there in case of emergency, i.e. war alert.

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