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Site Updates 2014

This is a log of changes and updates to the web site listed in descending order from newest to oldest.  This site is very much a Work in Progress and my work on it is ever on-going though updates may be slow.


If you are looking for what's new, you've come to the right place!  Links are provided to updated material when applicable, and postings are organized by date.  Check back often, you never know when I'll add something new!

2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015 | 2016 | 2017 | 2018 | 2019 | 2020 | 2021 | 2022

06/16/2014 - Royal City video 4, another teaser video and a Titan I yard sale

Royal City video segment 4

The 4th segment of the Royal City video is now online.  This time things get a bit more vertical.  Also, this video is rather a bit longer than most at nearly 17 minutes.  Select the quality you desire from the links below:


Download Royal City 2010, video segment 4 - (Low quality) (16min 43s - 80MB MP4 format)

Download Royal City 2010, video segment 4 - (Higher quality) (16min 40s - 527MB MPG format)


Having reached silo #3 and it's irresistible cribwork, we finally get climbing and see what's up there.


In April, work became almost ludicrously demanding while a prolonged respiratory plague left me sounding like Froggy from The Little Rascals for weeks.  From then until early June, progress on things Titan I were glacial as I found little time for sleep and tasks at home let alone leisure or personal pursuits.


But all bad things usually come to an end, and the punitive pace of work has slackened to a more manageable level allowing me to get back to missiles.

Titan I site still for sale - Big savings to be had!

Back in March I had noted that the Chico site, 851-C was up for sale on Craig's List for $5 million.  The listing ended and it reappeared for $3.8 million for a savings of $1.2 million.  The listing can be found here: but it will likely expire soon as I think they only have a 2-week lifespan.  There's some nice photos there so take a look.  Once again, this info comes thanks to Dennis Merrifield and his sharp eye for Titan I stuff on the web.

A Peek at Beale

In lieu of the pending videos of the trip to one of the Beale sites back in January of this year, I wanted to post some of the photos to provide a glimpse of one the California sites.  Here is a smattering pictures from that little adventure:



Silo doors at launcher #1



Bottom of the power house exhaust shaft



Upper level interior, power house air intake structure



Logic rack, upper level of the control center



Debris and broken lead-acid batteries, lower level of the control center



Ductwork and access shaft, equipment terminal #3



Launcher silo #3


Power house viewed from the exhaust tunnel

(Photo courtesy of Dennis Merrifield)



Flooded launcher silo

(Photo courtesy of Dennis Merrifield)



Piping in propellant terminal vent shaft tunnel

(Photo courtesy of Dennis Merrifield)



LOX tunnel bulkhead viewed from inside propellant terminal

(Photo courtesy of Dennis Merrifield)



Elevator and access shafts in equipment terminal

(Photo courtesy of Dennis Merrifield)



Some twit in one of the blast locks

(Photo courtesy of Dennis Merrifield)


More about the Beale site in the future-- lots of photos and videos yet to come.  I still hope to have some video later this year if the computer upgrade I am planning goes smoothly.  Once upgraded, I can deal with HD video editing and other newer software.


Kerbal Space Program

Somehow, despite how crazy my workload has been lately, I did find some time to goof around a bit.  A nifty little game called Kerbal Space Program appeared on my radar and immediately grabbed my interest.


The object of KSP is to develop vehicles capable of successful launch to further the exploration of space and conduct research for the benefit of Kerbalkind-- the funny-looking denizens of planet Kerbin.


To that end, you must safely launch crews of Kerbal astronauts into the upper atmosphere, orbit and beyond to other celestial bodies, all the while furthering the cause of science which in turn acts as a currency of sorts, allowing you greater access to technology through research and development.


You start with a very simple rocket and forays into the upper atmosphere and progress (with luck and good planning/design) to outer space.


I like this game because it is based around the real requirements for just such endeavors.  You have to consider things like mass, thrust, vectoring and the whole discipline of aerospace to achieve your goals of propagating the stars with Kerbals.


Many years ago, I once played an Apple II game called Universe (which I am shocked to discover can still be purchased!) which had similar elements: design a ship and fly it, and even do some calculations to land safely on planets and perform other maneuvers.  That little bit of math required made it feel like I was really navigating to some degree.  While KSP doesn't appear to require actual math, (it may well later on) it brings the realities of space flight, navigation and rocketry to the fore which is what I find interesting.


For anyone with an interest in aerospace, rockets and space exploration, I would recommend looking into KSP.  It is currently still in development, but can be played as a free demo or purchased in it's current version at a reduced price with full upgrades later.  It doesn't do much hand-holding, but there is an active wiki and community of KSP enthusiasts to offer support and you'll learn a lot about the intricacies of space flight and orbital mechanics.


Tired of waiting for the US to get off its ass and get serious about space exploration again?  Well now you can start your very own space exploration program!  To the moon Alice!


New Archive Photos

There are two new historical photos in the Overpressure Archive.  One shows a newly-installed missile on the platform at Lowry 724-A, and the other photo shows a rare glimpse of one of the silo doors being installed at Beale 851-A.  I've never seen another photo of the silo doors like this one so I think it's a very interesting shot.


That's all for now.  I'll be embarking on an OS upgrade so I can upgrade some of the applications I use to make content here.  I can only hope it will go smoothly and I'll have a working PC back ASAP so I can get down to business once again.

03/10/2014 - Royal City video 3, another teaser video and a Titan I yard sale

Royal City video segment 3

Part 3 of the video adventures at Royal City is now online.  Find out what trouble Walter and I drift into next!  Select the quality you desire from the links below:


Download Royal City 2010, video segment 3 - (Low quality) (8min 44s - 58.2MB MP4 format)

Download Royal City 2010, video segment 3 - (Higher quality) (8min 41s - 262MB MPG format)


In this video we make our approach to launcher #3 and the irresistible cribwork if only we can get past the obstacles that confound our tiny watercraft and threaten our relative dryness!


Videos - Some feedback?

So I've been working hard on the videos and while I do enjoy putting them together, I would like to hear some thoughts on them, suggestions, anything about the format I've cobbled together and how they play out. I hope that they are interesting and enjoyable and that my efforts to keep things light provide a worthwhile viewing experience.  If you have any comments about the videos, I'd like to hear what people think.  Help make me feel like I'm not wasting my time on these things, so please contact me here.


Teaser video! - Super secret Beale site

As I mentioned last time around, recently, I put up with the awful displeasure of air travel to go to California and visit one of the Beale Titan I sites.  The owners asked that I not specify which site it was, so I'll just refer to it as SSBS-- the Super Secret Beale Site.


My apologies as it turns out to be a greater tease than I intended as my software refuses to recognize the HD files I was going to edit.  Never fear, I will rectify the anal nature of the editing software with an upgrade.  That means, however, that I was unable to get the video put together and rather than delay the Royal City video, I'll save the teaser for later.


Titans on the block

For years now there have been a couple Titan I sites for sale.  My old haunt Lowry 724-C and also Larson 568-A have been on the market at rather scary prices for over a decade.  Now I hear from compadre´┐Ż Dennis Merrifield that Beale 851-C, AKA the Chico site, recently appeared on Craig's List for the low low price of $5 million.


That's right folks, for $5 million (or an acceptable offer I would guess) you could drive it away today.  Er, well, you could have anyhow-- the listing expired and has not reappeared yet.  

Keep your eyes open and maybe it will reappear soon!


Until next time, best wishes from deep below the surface!



02/08/2014 - Royal City video 2 and what the hell I've been up to lately

Royal City video segment 2

This update I have the next part of the Larson 568-C video posted in the previous update back in December 2013.  I'm going to keep these around 10-11 minutes to avoid huge file sizes.  Select the quality you desire from the links below:


Download Royal City 2010, video segment 2 - (Low quality) (11min 6s - 56.6MB MP4 format)

Download Royal City 2010, video segment 2 - (Higher quality) (11min 3s - 348MB MPG format)


In this video you'll see more deplorable lighting, witness a terrible subterranean maritime accident and find out how the Titans exacted their revenge upon me for my intrusions.


I invite constructive feedback on the videos as to how they are presented.  I can't do much about the darkness of the footage, but other aspects could possibly be improved such as titles and the like.  I'm an amateur video editor here so I have lots to learn.  Feel free to contact me if you have any helpful suggestions.

What the hell has Pete been up to lately?

In the last couple hellish frozen months I've been staying indoors to avoid the scourge of Wampas that migrate from Hoth to enjoy the Midwest this time of year to holiday in a climate reminiscent of their home world.


Yeah, I'm saying it's been cold here.


Another Titan I adventure

So I traveled to the far off lands of California where I was blessed to see another super secret Titan I site and bathe in the asbestos-infused air while I took lots of photos and video with my new 60% less-crappy camcorder.


The whole adventure will ultimately make its way here onto the web site, you'll just have to be patient.  I may post a few sneak peeks here, we'll see.


Titan I in 3D

In other news, I have been fiddling with 3D modeling again.  Uh oh.


The air intake and exhaust structures at sites outside of the 724th and 725th squadrons were completely re-designed to what I imagine was a more efficient and perhaps cost-effective configuration that completely dispensed with the Lowry configuration.  Ever since I laid eyes on this newer design I have been a bit fascinated with it and have been trying to understand exactly how it was all put together.


To that end: Using video and photos of the power house air intake structure from non-Lowry sites I have been making a model of the air intake structure to show its complex geometry in detail and illustrate its inner workings.  Why?  I can't help myself, that's why I guess.


So far without the benefit of dimensional drawings to exactly state the lengths and widths of the many features of the air intake structure, I've had to make educated guesses (undoubtedly in error for the most part) to arrive at a close approximation of the real thing.  


You can view my pointless labors here now in their current state.  There's a lot more to add and ultimately I will post the finished work here.  First up is a model of the enigmatic spring beam, an assembly that supported the power house, control center, equipment terminals and of course the power house air intake facility.


Spring beam assembly


Groups of these spring beams supported the heavy floor slabs of the major structures of the Titan I.


Next image shows a partial model of the air intake structure without its outer wall and inner divider wall showing the air inlets and intake shaft. (Note: I used too many spring beams, there are only 8, not 16.)


Partial model of air intake structure showing spring beams


View down the air intake shaft



Revised x-ray view of the air intake model


These intake and exhaust structures were in turn designed differently between the squadrons such that I have observed functional variations in construction when comparing Beale sites to Larson sites.  This model may comprise a "melding" of these features to keep things simple.


In other news

A recent discussion with fellow silo enthusiast Dennis Merrifield brought up this photo of the silo explosion that occurred during installation and checkout on May 24th 1962 at the Beale 851-C site near Chico:


Photo of launcher devastated by a LOX explosion at Beale 851-C

(Image courtesy of Tyler Ash)


Reports of the accident are conspicuously sparse as to the details and proximate cause of the explosion stating in effect: failed valve and failed vent.  However, Dennis provided a link to an article in The Spokesman Review dated May 25th, 1962 that gives a slightly-better story, but also fails to provide a detailed account of what caused the explosion.  I have transcribed the article below* because I know things on the internet have a nasty habit of disappearing without notice and never returning.


To clarify what the photo shows, I added an overlay of the launcher area.  I remarked to Dennis in an email that closer inspection reveals: 


"At top left is the equipment terminal which would receive blast damage via the utilities tunnel which was likely unsecured at the firewall during construction and probably likewise at the personnel entrance allowing the blast to wreak havoc in the ET and set it ablaze.  Like the PT, the ET was probably also open to the surface and smoke is rolling out the roof access. 

The position of the silo is obvious and as one leaf of the doors overlaps the other, the right side was blown partially open and appears badly damaged by falling shut again, while the left side looks in much better shape.  Earth from the nearby LOX vent appears to cover the silo as well.  The doors blowing open would have done tremendous damage to the door hydraulics, ripping them free.  The missile, elevator and cribwork were of course irreparably damaged as well requiring complete replacement I would think.  Structural damage had to be extensive to the doors and silo cap, interconnecting tunnels and equipment.  What a mess!

As the blast traveled through the LOX tunnel, it was greatly constricted putting the firewall and blast walls under enormous pressure, blowing out the steel blast wall and the LOX vent shaft.  Bits of the shaft liner can be seen crumpled and tangled at the lower left of the photo along with some of the piping from inside it.  That left a large crater where the shaft had been and exposed part of the silo cap as you had mentioned and damaged but did not overturn a large trailer carrying what appears to be a cryogenic liquid (LOX most likely) and knocked over another pressurized gas transport trailer (nitrogen or helium?) which had been parked next to the fill and vent shaft which has come to rest above the propellant terminal.  A large concrete vault can also be seen unearthed near the trailer.

The blast continued through the LOX tunnel where it damaged the propellant terminal after entering through the (once again, probably open) access door through the firewall rupturing gas lines, causing leaks and perhaps sparking a fire.  In any case, smoke or vapor can be seen billowing out of the roof access there as well.  The railing and trailer have been re-touched a bit by the news editors to better bring out the details of the gas cylinders and railing-- a common practice back then."


Explosion photo with details showing outline of launcher area


[From The Spokesman Review - May 25, 1962]


* Titan Missile Blast Site

Missile silo rocked by explosion at Chico, Calif.

Explosion Wrecks Silo for Missile

   CHICO, Calif. (AP)-- A smoke-billowing explosion destroyed a Titan missile and wrecked its launching silo Thursday during a fueling test at the newly constructed Chico missile complex.

   No one was killed. Some workmen were hospitalized with heavy smoke inhalation. Fifty-two others were treated for inhalation and released after a check at a Chico hospital.

   Donald L. Cantwell, Chico, said he and several other workers escaped being trapped in the blast fumes because they found open a ventilator hatch that was supposed to be closed.

Other Silos Escape

Two other Titans undergoing the fueling test, and the Chico installation's two other launching silos escaped damage. The control center for the three silos likewise was not damaged.

The blast in Silo No. 1 came after the three Titans had first been loaded with their liquid oxygen fuel and then had the liquid propellant withdrawn by the installation's complex pumping system.

The fueling trial was being carried out by the contractor prior to turning over the missile base to the Air Force.

The blast smoke and fumes engulfed the workers and technicians in the tunnel structures linking the 150-foot deep silos built to launch the 95-foot long Titans.

"We had just got word over the speaker to evacuate and were on our way out," said Cantwell. He was with a worker group in the Silo No. 3 tunnel.

"This wall of smoke started coming down the tunnel. We had to get the hell out of there fast."

The Air Force in Washington said replacing the blasted silo may cost up to $20 million if rebuilt under a single contract. Rep. Harold T. Johnson, D-Calif., reported.


That's it for now, there will be more video and a new Titan site adventure is on the horizon as I continue my tireless labors.  See you next time!

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