"Minuteman Missle National Historic Park" Top 5 Page for this destination Wall Things to Do Tip by Toughluck
Wall Things to Do: 10 reviews and 17 photos
The ICBM program was one of three programs to counter a Soviet threat during the Cold War Years of (1946-1995). All three programs continue, but the START Treaty of 1995 (?) called for the elimination of many delivery vehicles. As a part of the treaty, each nation was allows to keep one launch facility and one command facility for historic purposes. The system was deactivated and the other launch silos imploded.
What I found interesting was all the backup systems involved. First, the advanced computer that ran these early systems, were only 4K of Memory. Todays home computers have 350 Mb of memory. That's 87,000 times more powerful that the military computers that protected the U.S. for over 30 years.
Second, there were five flights (10 missiles) within each wing. Each flight had a pair on officers waiting for the signal to send the missiles off. While, it took 2 officers in the same command building to simultaneous 'turn the key', the system was redundant and it only 2 of the 5 flights signaled a launch, all 5 of the flights (50 missiles) would be launched. Thus, if one or more control centers were destroyed, those missiles would still go.
Third, there was the airborne, 'looking glass' that had access to each wing's missiles. Thus, even if all 5 flight commanders were taken out before a launch, the airborne controller could still launch the missiles from the flying command center.
The coordination was tremendous and the number of people involved in just sitting around waiting (which is tedious, boring, and can lead to accidents) were large.
Address: HQ is at exit 131 on I-90, east of Rapid City, SD
Directions: 21280 SD Hwy 240
Philip, SD 57567
Phone: (605) 433-5552
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