Monday, March 5 – We drove from Deming, NM, to Tucson, AZ, today. We arrived at Justin's Diamond RV Park. This is a very nice park with a very friendly staff. We were actually a little disappointed that even though we called weeks ago and reserved a desert view site, not were available when we arrived. We actually delayed checking in until we could go online and check for other campgrounds. Finding none available in our price range, we decided to stay a week even though we selected a site further back from the front row desert view sites. At least these sites were larger than the front row sites.
Looking to our left.
Looking to our right.
Tuesday, March 6 – We had a pretty exciting and fun-filled day. We started at the Titan Missile Museum.
The preserved Titan II missile site, officially known as complex 571-7, was built and turned over to the U.S. Air Force in 1963. The Titan II missile is the largest missile ever built by the United States. During the Cold War, 54 Titan missiles stood alert in their underground silos all across the country. In 1987, the last Titan II site was deactivated as a result of US/USSR treaties. Fifty-three of these silos were totally stripped of all equipment and the silos partially destroyed. They were then sold to the highest bidder. Only one Titan II site remained and was established as a museum.
We began our tour viewing a short video on the history of the Titan II program and receiving an overview of the upcoming tour. After the movie, we were led outside to visit the “topside” support vehicles and structures. Most of this equipment and machinery would have been moved off-site after the Titan missile was fueled. It was here as part of the museum presentation.
Radar Surveillance System…Often referred to as the "tipsies." These would alert the crew to the presence of intruders. In the 25-year history of the program intruders were never a serious problem.
Rocket Engines…Use liquid, hypergolic, fuel and oxidizer Unsymmetrical Dimethyl Hydrazine (UDMH) and Nitrogen Tetroxide. STAGE 1…rated 430,000 lbs. thrust.
STAGE II…rated 100,000 lbs. thrust.
A highlight of the “topside” portion of the tour was looking into the silo to see the Titan II missile. Seeing the two-stage missile of over 150 feet in length mounted with its hydrogen nuclear bomb was a major experience. Part of the massive concrete hatch had been cut-away and enclosed by a glass structure so the missile was able to be viewed.
After an explanation of the “topside” equipment by the tour guide, Sam, we were led down the 55 metal steps to the underground control room. The guide simulated the high security entry into the underground facility a crew would have be expected to endure during the cold war. Obviously, this facility was a very secure military installation.
Access Portal…primary and only safe entry and exit route to or from the under ground facilities.
Once we reached the bottom of the facility, a volunteer was asked to pull open the 6,000 pound blast proof door. Of course, Marsha, was selected to open it up.....luckily she's been working out the last four months at Anytime Fitness. We then entered the control room where only four crew members worked and we on the constant ready to launch their missile if the US was attacked.
Now Sam wanted one of us to act as the launch director and Marsha was again put to work. When the simulated order from the President was received, launch codes were removed from the safe, the rocket was armed and Marsha turned the key to launch the 9-megaton nuclear missile.
She turns the key…we have liftoff.
The group then hurried through the tunnel to the missile silo to see if the launch was successful. Nope, it was still there. There was either an equipment malfunction, Marsha didn't have the strength to turn the key hard enough, or this truly was a simulation. It sure was amazing to be at the bottom of the silo and see the Titan II missile in that silo. A pretty scary part of US – USSR history!
We then returned to the surface and were free to wonder around the above ground facility at our leisure. Overall, we would rate this tour as another style="color: red;">NOT-TO-BE-MISSED experience.
Thanks for stopping by. Hope to see y'all back real soon. Have a great day!