April Trip 2010 - April 20
Decided to head down Tuscon way to see the Titan Missile Museum and Biosphere II. The Titan Museum was great, but got to Biosphere II too late...they wouldn't even let me take a picture. I had opted for the "retired crew" guided Titan tour which started at 2:00 pm.
We got there a little early so we stopped at the Mission San Xavier del Bac for a little while. Janice walked the mutt and bought Indian Fry Bread whilst I did a quick tour. This is an old mission, but it is the parish home for the area.
There was a small chapel to the left of the main mission which had a votive area and a neat cactus garden.
This is a cable chase way between the command center and the silo.
Then it was off to the Titan Missile Museum. I'll add a gallery of shots for those that are terribly interested. There were three main Titan II missile sites: Tuscon, Wichita, and Little Rock. Each had 18 silo's. I remember seeing some when I was hunting with my father and grandfather in Kansas. Each held one missile with a 50 megaton Fusion bomb. They were dismantled as part of the SALT treaty. This last silo was retained as a museum and houses a "training" missile which had never been armed or fueled.
We used the Garmin to find a park (which actually had an off-leash park for the mutt) and Janice spent her time there while I went on the tour. Below is a picture of the concrete silo cover and the site. This is what I remember seeing as a kid. They actually didn't have a lot of physical security outside and you could actually get this close back then.
These are the blast doors behind which the crew is housed. There are three of them and weight about 6 tons each. However, they are so well balanced, a 10 year old boy on the tour could close them.
This was our guide. She had been a commander of a Titan II site and gave a very good presentation. I took a movie of one part. She gave a very good technical presentation and also "life in the silo". They stood about 8 24 hour watchs a month. The rest of the time they had other duties.
This is showing the commanders bench in the foreground and most of the systems.
Finished "You Bet Your Life
Started "It Takes a Clown", Stuart Kaminsky
Janice really liked the blooming barrel cactus so here is a pix of one.
She also thought this one looked like a monkey tail tree.
They had the covers slide back a little (covered with glass) so you could see the missile. The rectangular hole in the nose cone is there for the Russian satellites to confirm that the missile is not armed. They do that still every day.
The red cabinent is where the confirmation codes were kept. The two officers each had their own combination locks which were put on at the beginning of the shift. Above that are samples of key rings.
Since this was a great target for the Russians, they had built the whole establishment on a set of shock absorbers.
We then went back topside and she spoke of the routine for a 30 minutes or so. Basically there were four crew on duty. Two officers and two enlisted men. Most of the complex required two of them to be together at any one time. This was for security reasons. They were also each armed, again for security and in case one of them went crazy.
As I said, it was a no-go for BioSphere II, that will have to come with another trip.