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Christmas Gift Guide

Titan Missile Museum

Gated

Fences and security

Entrance

Down into history

Steel and concrete

Vertigo

My, what big doors you have

Doors and doors

Secured

Cableway

Launch Control Center

Owner's manual

Console

Banks of buttons

Stairs

Bunkmates

Kitchen

SAC

Suit up

Hazards

Cableway

Junctions

Beyond the door

Titan II

Ready for launch

My, you're a tall one

Fast launch

Antiroom

Level 7

Underneath

Long way up

Missing motors

Into the abyss

Cableway beauty

Antennas

'Tipsies'

Roof

Titan from above

Stage 1

Colander

Stage 2

Desert desolation?

Reentry

Just south of Tucson, Arizona, is the Titan Missile Museum, the only Titan ICBM silo you can tour. 

For the full story, check out Apocalypse then: Inside the chilling Titan Missile Museum

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Like when it was an active installation, you can't just wander onto the base.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Despite elaborate security measures, the military didn't foresee people on foot as much of a threat.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

After buying your ticket, you head onto the base itself. 

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

If you're able, the normal entrance is down a few dozen stairs.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

There's a particular smell to military bases: steel, concrete and hydraulic fluid.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

You can see several flights down through the grating.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

While the security on the surface was OK, down here things get serious.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Multiple massive steel doors secure the facility. Or at least, they used to. 

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Now that is a serious door bolt.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

There are two directions to go. One shorter passage goes to the Launch Control Center. The other goes to the missile.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

The Launch Control Center is a slice out of time. Above here is the living quarters. 

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Want to launch an ICBM? There's a manual for that.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

It's incredible to think what was possible with so little computing power.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

This bank of instruments could be straight out of a retro sci-fi movie or a Fallout game.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Note the curve of the ceiling. This section of the facility is circular, with a domed ceiling for strength. 

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Fairly spartan living quarters for the four-man crew.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

A normal-looking kitchen, except for the curved walls.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

I wonder if Staff Sergeant Prievo has been back here.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Back down the corridor now, toward the missile.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Rocket fuel isn't exactly human-friendly. 

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

The main corridor to the missile, allowing access and carrying the cables required to control and launch the missile. 

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Joints allowed flexing of the cableway in case of a nearby nuclear attack.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Not dramatic at all.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

The missile! Well, the top part anyway. 

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Retractable platforms allowed access to every part of the missile. 

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Though 103 feet (31.4m) tall, the Titan II is only 10 feet (3m) wide. 

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Unlike its predecessor, the Titan II could be stored with its oxidizer fuel already onboard, so it could be ready to launch in under a minute.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

The basic tour ends here, with views of the missile about two-thirds of the way up. The more advanced tours continue the exploration.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

A tiny elevator drops us down to level 7, the base of the missile.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

The base of a Titan II missile. 

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

That's sunlight from the glass-covered viewing area.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

The Stage 1 motors would have been here; you can see the platform cut out to fit around them and allow access. We'll see the Stage 1 engine later.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

This is the view down, below the platform. It's a concrete wedge, forcing the rocket exhaust into two tunnels that channel it out and then up, parallel to the silo, and eventually out into the atmosphere. 

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

I'm sure aesthetics weren't on the engineer's minds when designing this place, but how cool does this look?

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

There were multiple antennas, some permanently mounted on the surface, and others that would telescope up out of the ground in case the others were destroyed.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

AN/TPS-9, or "tipsies" was a motion-sensing Doppler radar surveillance system. 

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

The 760-ton (700 metric ton) silo door could be opened in 20 seconds. Now it is permanently half open to show that the silo has been decommissioned. 

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

The open part of the silo is covered in glass, and it offers a unique view.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

The LR-87 had twin motors, together creating 430,000 pounds of thrust (1,900 kN). It consumed 170 gallons (640 liters) of fuel per second.

This would have been hanging off the bottom of the missile, as seen in the earlier slide.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

The reaction of the propellant and oxidizer is hypergolic, which means it ignites when combined without a spark. You wouldn't want to be standing here at the business end when that happens.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

After the first stage ran out of fuel, it was jettisoned and the second stage, seen here, took over. It was less powerful, 100,000 pounds of thrust (445 kN), but burned for 15 percent longer, about 3 minutes. This pushed the Titan II to about 200 miles above the Earth. 

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Though it looks like it's in the middle of nowhere, Tucson is only about 20 minutes away and the town of Green Valley is right down the hill. 

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

A better idea of scale. That's the nose cone/reentry vehicle. To the right, about the size of a refrigerator, is a scale model of the bomb.

For the full story, check out Apocalypse then: Inside the chilling Titan Missile Museum.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET
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