Major Locales of the Titan I Complex

| Portal | Main Tunnel Junction | Control Center | Power House | Antenna Terminal |

| Fuel Terminal | Blast Locks | Launcher Air Filtration | Propellant Terminals |

| Equipment Terminals | Missile Silos |

| Home | Map | Site Updates | 3D Model |


Missile Silo Part 8

The Crib Structure Continued Yet Further

PLEASE NOTE: Many images in this section are very high resolution and may take a while to load.  The images are much larger than they are displayed here, so if you save and view them you can see them at full resolution.  Please be patient and enjoy the details.

In this section we descend even further along the cribwork's maintenance levels and get a broader view of the cribwork from the silo cap perspective as we approach the deepest accessible depths of the Titan I complex.  Sadly, since the silos are flooded to varying depths, one cannot get a look at the very bottom of the silos-- or can we?

Motor elevator platform viewed from level 1


Going down....

Elevator stop on level 2 viewed from inside level 1


Note: The site in this photo is different from the one pictured below which accounts for the differences in the elevator doors and some other structures.


Old-style folding elevator doors at the level 1 and level 2 stops viewed from outside level 2


Exterior structures at level 2 of the cribwork.  The 18" diameter red painted conduit is the firewater line-- part of the deluge system for fire suppression and for flooding the silo in the event of a launch.


This is the very same conduit I straddled to climb to the silo caps as described in missile silos sections 4 and 5.  It was a formidable obstacle in the dark!



While all the sites had personnel elevators to service the maintenance levels in the silos, only the Vandenberg site had spiral stairways to move between levels.  If you worked at one of the operational sites and the elevator was in use or not available, you had to schlep up and down these ladders instead!

Descending to level 2 you can see the extent to which this particular site was flooded.  Some fun facts to bring a bit of perspective here:

Depth of the Titan I silos: 150 feet
Diameter of silos: 40 feet
Volume of empty silo: 188,496 cubic feet (rounded to nearest unit)
Estimated depth of water in photo below: Approx. 80 feet
Volume of flood water in silo at 80 feet deep: 752,024 gallons (rounded to nearest unit)
Weight of 1 gallon of fresh water: 8.345 pounds
Approx. weight of 80 feet of water in the silo: 6,275,639 pounds or 3,137.82 tons
Time to sump silo using 116 gal/minute pump:*  Approx. 108 hours or 4.5 days

*Assuming a flood depth of 80 feet.

For those out there who may already own a silo or those who would love nothing more than to buy an old missile complex and clean it up and restore or renovate it, this is a taste of what you might encounter while working on a Cold War "fixer upper".


Dewatering a silo would also require the use of an expensive commercial sump system capable of lifting water from 150 feet down-- far more than most pumps can handle.  The breed of pump that can handle this job is generally used for sumping out mines and construction sites.  While such a pump can certainly be sourced and purchased, it would likely be best (and cheaper) to hire someone experienced to handle the job.


I don't want to sound like I'm trying to discourage anyone from trying to fix up a site, far from it, just be prepared to run up against some solid challenges when it comes to reclaiming some areas.


Heading down toward level 2 things start to get a little more damp....

As you can see here, there is not much further one can go before they hit water




This next group of photos give a good look at the outside faces of the crib structure and some of the catwalks that run about on the levels still above the water.


How do you break something as stout as the counterweight rail?  I imagine a large, heavy object being lifted from the silo by a crane with just enough freedom to swing into the rail as it passed.  Quite probably it was one of the counterweights themselves that inflicted that damage I suspect.



The floating debris is soggy fiberglass pipe insulation







Now where have I seen this before?


This is not the exact same ladder as above which is also missing the safety line and a Sergeant, but it shows how things used to look.




From here on, the going gets really tough


More cribwork to come in the next and final installment of the Missile Silo sections.



Missile Silos Part IX


| Contact | Site Map | Links |

Hosted by InfoBunker