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How to Use the Images

 

Inquiry Question

Historical Context

Maps

Readings

Photo 1
Photo 2
Photo 5
Photo 6

Activities

Table of
Contents




Visual Evidence

Photo 3: Launch Control Center under construction, 1963. [Photo 3] with link to larger version of photo.
(Library of Congress)

Photo 4: Inside Launch Control Center, 1991. [Photo 4] with link to larger version of photo.
(Library of Congress)

Construction crews came to western South Dakota to take part in an unprecedented effort to build the facilities needed to support 150 Minuteman Missiles. One of the most important structures was this egg shaped capsule, which was 29' in diameter and 54' in length. Inside of this capsule was a box known as the Launch Control Center (LCC), which was 11' wide and 54' long. It was from within this structure that missileers would be in direct control of 10 Minuteman Missiles. They could launch these missiles in the event of a Soviet pre-emptive nuclear strike. The capsule at Delta-01 was buried 31 feet below the surface and surrounded by reinforced concrete. The LCC needed this protection to survive a nearby nuclear blast. They performed such diverse technical duties as monitoring maintenance of silos or silo security alarms, running endless tests, and decoding messages from headquarters.

Questions for Photos 3 & 4

1. How would you describe Photo 3? Does the capsule "fit" into its surroundings, in other words would you suspect that it was there once it was entirely below the surface?

2. Why was the capsule buried below the surface? Would you feel safe inside of the capsule? Why or why not?

3. How would you describe Photo 4? Does it look like a difficult place to work? Describe what a typical day might be like for a Missileer. If needed, refer to Reading 3.

4. What would you do in your spare time if you worked in the Launch Control Center? Do you think the 24-hour shift would go by quickly or slowly? Why?

* The images on this screen have a resolution of 72 dots per inch (dpi), and therefore will print poorly. You can obtain a larger version of Photo 3 and Photo 4, but be aware that each file will take as much as 30 seconds to load with a 28.8K modem.

 

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