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Titan Missile Museum

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

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Gated

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

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Fences and security

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

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Entrance

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

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Down into history

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

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Steel and concrete

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

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Vertigo

You can see several flights down through the grating.

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

My, what big doors you have

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

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Doors and doors

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

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Secured

Now that is a serious door bolt.

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Cableway

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

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Launch Control Center

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

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Owner's manual

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

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Console

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

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Banks of buttons

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

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Stairs

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

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Bunkmates

Fairly spartan living quarters for the four-man crew.

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Kitchen

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

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

SAC

I wonder if Staff Sergeant Prievo has been back here.

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Suit up

Back down the corridor now, toward the missile.

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Hazards

Rocket fuel isn't exactly human-friendly. 

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Cableway

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

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Junctions

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

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Beyond the door

Not dramatic at all.

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Titan II

The missile! Well, the top part anyway. 

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Ready for launch

Retractable platforms allowed access to every part of the missile. 

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

My, you're a tall one

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

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Fast launch

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.

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Antiroom

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

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Level 7

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

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Underneath

The base of a Titan II missile. 

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Long way up

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

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Missing motors

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.

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Into the abyss

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. 

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Cableway beauty

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

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Antennas

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.

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

'Tipsies'

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

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Roof

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. 

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Titan from above

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

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Stage 1

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.

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Colander

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.

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Stage 2

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. 

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Desert desolation?

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. 

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Reentry

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.

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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