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Jonathan Haeber of Terrastories took these incredible photographs from inside an abandoned Titan I missile site. He writes,

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On Memorial Day of 2007, and then again in December, I visited two separate Titan I missile sites. The first was quite the introduction. The second was mind-blowing. There are no words to describe being in what is perhaps the world's largest underground missile complex. In fact, I've tried more than once, and in my mind have not achieved an adequate description. Last month, I clicked on a random link and encountered the narrative of another man who had done the same. His words, and his story came much closer to describing the feeling in detail. Even better, this man knew all of the intricacies of the base. He was a true savant of Titan I - and probably the foremost non-military expert of these historic bases. I contacted him and asked if he would be willing to talk about his experience and he readily agreed.
Discovering the History of a Titan I Base (Terrastories)

Here is an extensive gallery of photographs: Various Trips to Titan Silos in California and Colorado

22 Responses to “Photos from inside an abandoned Titan missile silo”

  1. mellowknees says:

    Thanks, BB. Now all I want to do is go home and play Fallout 3.

  2. arkizzle / Moderator says:

    Mellowknees,

    *Granted*

    (Provided you already have a copy of Fallout3, a console, a TV, and a power supply)

  3. GeronimoJackson says:

    I enlisted in the Air Force in 1961. After basic training I was sent to Shepherd AFB in Wichita Falls, Tx to study and become a Missile Maintenance Technician on the Atlas missile. After finishing that school, I was expecting to be assigned to Plattesburg Ny. But instead I was put through MMT school on the Titan I. After completing that training I was assigned to Denver, Co. When I arrived at Lowery AFB the sites were still in construction and had not been turned over to the Air Force. I was put to work with the contractors until the first site was operational. There were six sites designated 4A, 4B, 4C, 5A, 5B and 5C. Each site had three missiles. I arrived at Denver in 1962 and in 1965 I was at site 4C when the last missile was deactivated and removed from service. I read all the comments with some hope of seeing a name of an old friend. No luck. It was an exciting time. The main drawback of the Titan I was though it was loaded with RP4 fuel,it needed LOX (liquid oxygen) to be loaded before launch, which was automated but time consuming. Then the launcher had to be raised above ground to launch. I recognized a lot from the photographs even though there is a lot that has been removed. Thanks for the memories. Airman Earl Root, MMT Site 4C launcher 2

  4. Anonymous says:

    There’s some good missile silo stuff at the HABS/HAER section of the library of congress site. High-res, beautiful archival scans.

  5. Anonymous says:

    @nixiebunny I have a few pictures from the Titan II Missile Museum. It is pretty cool. If anyone is ever in Tucson, AZ you should def. check it out. http://www.flickr.com/photos/hedberg/sets/72157614874893125/

  6. moniker42 says:

    That is without a doubt the sexiest thing I have ever seen in my entire life.

  7. lamacq says:

    I guess it’s no accident — ha! — that the pics remind me intensely of some of the underground labs in S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Shadow of Chernobyl.

    Well, hopefully without the snorks and poltergeists.

  8. Anonymous says:

    MONIKER42, you need to see some cute, naked humans enjoying themselves.

    And I’ve told you a million times, stop exaggerating!

  9. nixiebunny says:

    These missile bases are really something.

    I’m fortunate to live near the Titan Missile Museum in southern AZ, where there is a complete, inert Titan II missile with all its support equipment available for the viewing. The tour guides all worked there, so they can answer the most mundane questions accurately.

    Every American (and every Russian?) should visit that place at least once. It’s a real goosebump inducer.

  10. Brainspore says:

    The government can use any excuse they want for why they abandoned that place, but I’m still convinced they were driven out by the Morlocks.

  11. Ito Kagehisa says:

    Ah, the pictures of the old-school racks and consoles bring back memories… I still like the whole rounded-corner square-button aesthetic… sort of art-decoish. All the tackle and gear of weapons of mass destruction had that look, back when I was involved (and dinosaurs still roamed the earth). And dymo tape, lots of labels in dymo tape.

  12. harknell says:

    I absolutely demand that someone turn these images and locations into a fantastic mod for a first person shooter game. Wow, they are so creepy and awesome I’d love to move through them in photo realistic detail.

  13. digital_me says:

    I believe the photos that show the missile base with paint are from California. The Colorado sites are in much worse shape, site 2B in particular having been used for a rave some years ago. One can still find glow stick packages around the tunnels.

    What amazes me most is the incredibly short operational lifespan of these bases. Development and building started in 1955 and continued until 1963. The Titan I bases were retired in 1965. Research and development costs were in the billions in 2008 dollars and each missile cost millions. Yet, they served for only ten years before being replaced.

    In many ways, the Titan I design was flawed. The missile had to be fueled (using liquid oxygen and kerosene stored near the launch tube) and then raised before being fired. The Titan II solved this problem by using solid fuel stored in the missile, which could be fired from inside the launch tube. But Titan II bases are far less interesting than Titan I bases. The Titan I bases have almost a mile of tunnel, three launch tubes, each with a LOX station and an equipment terminal, a powerdome, a control center, and two antenna silos. Titan II missile bases have but a single launch tube and control center.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/tags/titan+i is a good place to start for more photos. Full disclosure: I have posted photos under this tag recently, but there are many others to be found as well.

  14. Anonymous says:

    I heard a interview with a guy who did a research project on silos in Kentucky. He made a video of it. Something about the bombs exploding but not nuclear… anyways.

    its episode #79 on http://dialastranger.com. Its called ‘Putting it Together’.

    -seth

  15. Anonymous says:

    the Titan I reminds me of the X-files… really cool

  16. cinemajay says:

    Heather and Alex are so lucky!

  17. Guysmiley says:

    What amazes me most is the incredibly short operational lifespan of these bases. Development and building started in 1955 and continued until 1963. The Titan I bases were retired in 1965. Research and development costs were in the billions in 2008 dollars and each missile cost millions. Yet, they served for only ten years before being replaced.

    That’s true that its service life was short, but the Titan I program also led to basically what U.S. space launch technology is today.

    The Titan II was not solid fueled, it used “storable liquid” fuel. The LR87 and LR91 engines developed for the Titan I evolved into the engines used on the Titan II. The advantage of the Titan II was there was no fussy cryogenic oxygen to deal with.

  18. Eddie Codel says:

    Over the July 4th holiday this year, a hacker campout called ToorCamp took place at a former Titan I silo in eastern Washington. Sessions were held in the control dome and tours were taken down the dark & winding passages. Pretty much an urban explorers wet dream. It is very Quake like down there, I’d love to see a mod for a first person shooter as well. Here’s the pix I took.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/ekai/sets/72157621062067990/

    Plenty of others:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/tags/toorcamp/interesting/

  19. bobhughes says:

    interesting, but not enough photos of the operator control panels. nothing makes cold-war-era tech sexier than rows of legend lights and pushbutton annunciators

  20. digital_me says:

    That’s true that its service life was short, but the Titan I program also led to basically what U.S. space launch technology is today.

    True, but the fact that these huge bases were built, and in such large numbers, only to be retired so soon still boggles the mind.

    The Titan II was not solid fueled, it used “storable liquid” fuel. The LR87 and LR91 engines developed for the Titan I evolved into the engines used on the Titan II. The advantage of the Titan II was there was no fussy cryogenic oxygen to deal with.

    Right you are. Silly me.

    Walking through a Titan I base, one is constantly reminded of the function. Springs dangling from the ceiling which held lights. Equipment racks in the control room, likewise held to walls by springs and with internal suspension for sensitive components. Blast valves on the ventilation system. These places were made to destroy and resist destruction and it’s difficult to shake off the chilling feeling one has when inside, knowing the purpose of this structure.

    Every American (and every Russian?) should visit that place at least once. It’s a real goosebump inducer.

    I heartily agree. I did not live through the cold war, and I was chilled. I imagine seeing first-hand the dwelling-place of nuclear destruction would remind most people of what madness can be engendered by fear and mistrust.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Stay OUT of old silos. Mines as well!!! You can fall, their are snakes and other nasty things down in them. Not to mention trespassing.

  22. arkizzle / Moderator says:

    Oh, this is going staight on my Evil Villain’s Lairs List..

    http://boingboing.net/2008/11/29/milelong-secret-tunn.html

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