Visit the only Titan II Missile site open to the public, twenty miles south of Tucson, on Interstate 19, near Sahuarita.
This museum features a dormant Titan II Missile, which was developed during the Cold War as a powerful line of defense against nuclear attack. “Peace through deterrence,” was the mission. Visitors can view the massive weapon, ensconced within the 8-foot-thick concrete walls of the launch duct. You can visit the launch control center and experience a simulated launch.
At one time there were 54 such sites in the U.S. By 1982, all of the missiles had been de-commissioned. Through an agreement with the Soviets, this site was allowed to exist as a museum. The 103 foot missile now in the silo was actually used for training purposes. Even though the duct housed a missile with a live warhead when it was active, the one on display was never armed and, more importantly, never fueled, since the propellant is highly toxic.
There are a number of tours available, depending on your time of visit. The one-hour guided tour is available 363 days a year from 9:00 a.m., with the last tour beginning at 4:30 p.m. The museum is closed Thanksgiving Day and Christmas.
A second tour, called Beyond the Blast Doors, takes visitors 100 feet underground, into the launch tube and lasts about 90 minutes. It is only offered at 9:30 a.m. on the first and third Saturdays of the month. It is limited to 20 people, by reservation only. You will actually stand beneath the rocket, for an up-close perspective of its size. You will also visit the living quarters which served the combat crew when the rocket was active.
On Tuesdays, there is one Beyond the Blast Doors tour conducted by people who served inside the silo as Combat Crew Members. You can hear their stories of what it was like to live and work in that environment. These tours are by reservation only and are limited to only 20 people.
For the truly hardcore, there is the 4.5 hour Top-To-Bottom Tour. It is limited to 6 people and involves climbing ladders and moving through small spaces. It covers every level of the facility, which still has all of its support mechanisms intact. You must have a reservation for this one. Dates change, so consult the website for the latest information.
For more information, go to www.titanmissilemuseum.org or call 520-625-7736.
The Titan Missile Museum is located at 1580 W. Duval Mine Road, Sahuarita, Az.
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