Minuteman Missile National Historic Site

The Delta-09 Launch Site

Minuteman Missile National Historic Site is located at what was the Delta-09 Launch Control Facility from 1963 to 1991. During the Cold War, about 150 of these Minuteman Missile launch sites were built across southwestern South Dakota, along with 15 command and control centers to operate them. Each Minuteman missile was capable of delivering a 1.2 megaton warhead up to 6,300 miles (the early ones, the improved ones were good up to 7,500 miles) and landing within half-a-mile of their targets. "Minutemen" came partly from their launch window: from the moment the keys were turned signifying a launch, it took about one-minute for the huge, solid-fueled missiles to clear their silos.

At the Delta-09 Launch Control Center you can visit with an actual launch control center with all its screens, knobs, meters, switches and rail-mounted Captain's chairs. The missile silo was built to house a Minuteman 1B but that was removed and replaced with a Minuteman II in the early 1970's. In 1991, the United States and the Soviet Union signed the START treaty to reduce their respective nuclear arsenals and that led to the decommissioning of all 150 Minutemen missiles in South Dakota. Still, there are 450 active Minuteman IIs scattered across the Northern Great Plains.

The contact station of Minuteman Missile National Historic Site is located on the south side of Interstate 90 near exit 131, to South Dakota Highway 240. This exit is about 75 miles east of Rapid City, near the northeast corner of Badlands National Park. The actual missile silo of the Delta-09 Launch Site is located about 15 miles to the west, near exit 116 on Interstate 90.

The contact station is open for visitors from 8 am to 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday except on federal holidays. The missile silo is only open from early May through late October, on the same schedule as the contact center. Minuteman Missile National Historic Site charges no entry or guided tour fees.

Another view of the Launch Control Center
Delta-09 Launch Command Center
Badlands area map

Related Pages

Area map courtesy of National Geographic Topo!