Captain Swoop's Virtual ICBM Tour presents...
Internal Layout Of The Launch Control Center

1. SLFCS RTTY Receiver
2. Keyboard-Printer
3. Command Console (for MCCC)
4. Operator Seat
5. Shock Isolator
6. Launch Control Facility Processor
7. Communications Processor Set (SACDIN)
8. MF Radio Set
9. AFSATCOM Rack
10. LCC Monitor & Alarm Panel
11. Power Distribution Group
12. HF Antenna Control Box
13. Status Console (for DMCCC)
14. Alarm Monitor Set
15. HF Radio Set
16. Telephone Terminal Rack
  17. Digital Data Terminal Rack
18. Junction Box Set
19. Lavatory
20. Fire Extinguisher
21. Compressed Air Cylinder
22. Blast Door
23. Tunnel Junction
24. Chemical Toilet Storage
25. Oven/Frig/Storage
26. Bed
27. Air Conditioning Unit
28. Power Switchboard
29. 32 Volt Battery Charger Set
30. 160 Volt Battery Charger Set
31. MF Radio Antenna Filter Set
32. UHF Radio Set
32a. Portable IPD Processor Unit

LCC Enclosure Equipment Notes:

2. The Keyboard-Printer is a data input/readout device used by crew members for specified communications with the targeting systems for the missiles, as well as other LCC related functions. Depending on the misile system, the K-P was located on either the MCCC or the DMCCC console; in the Wing VI configuration, it was on the MCCC console. Because of it's networking into intra-site cabling and data communications with the other installations in it's squadron, a special shorting plug had to be installed whenever a K-P was removed for maintenance.[BACK]

3. This is the Missile Combat Crew Commander's Console , where the Launch Crew Commander sat. As well as a telephone switchboard and data processing equipment, this console also houses the all-important Launch Control Panel, a coded device that allows the launch command to be sent to the missile(s) only when properly set. [BACK]

4. The operator's seats are more than an ordinary chair. The chair itself is the same one used by crews in the USAF B-52 Bomber, and is adjustable 3 ways, with shock absorbing devices in the base. It also has a full body seatbelt/harness, which crew members strap on during imminent attack. This prevents the ground shock from a near-miss detonantion from tossing the crew about and injuring them. Since strapping into the seats would make checking various readouts or using some equipment impossible from the position in front of the console, the chairs are mounted on long slide rails with ratcheting locks, so that a crew member can travel from console to rack as needed, still safely strapped in. [BACK]

5. The Shock Isolator is a huge pneumatic/hydraulic device that acts as a shock absorber for the enclosure that the crew inhabits. This box-shaped enclosure is suspended from the ceiling of the outer shell of the LCC by four of these Shock Isolators. They allow the suspended enclosure to ride out the ground shock from near-miss detonations, preventing damage to both the LCC equipment and the crew. Click on the picture for an enlarged view of the shock isolator, this one in the #1 position located near the tunnel junction.[BACK]

6. The LCFP rack is the real brains of the Launch Control Center. This rack contained the computing and data-storage equipment used by the crew for targeting the missiles. The computer technology used would seem ridiculous by today's standards, especially the old "Magnetic Drum" style hard-drive (about the size of a mini fridge) and the reel-to-reel multitrack tape deck used to load it - the label for one of the data tapes is shown here at right. The abbreviation on the orange sticker stands for Single Integrated Operational Plan - Extremely Sensitive Information (SIOP-ESI). This classified it a few steps above the mere "Top Secret" designation, as it contained data directly linked to our nation's war plan. [BACK]

8. MF Radio is a system peculiar to the Wing VI Minuteman system. Intended as a secure digital backup to the cable communications between LCC and the silo, it consisted of a 4KW transciever system (2KW at the silo) with a massive underground antenna buried near the surface. The system was fraught with problems, and any major electrical storm could cause enough interference to make the equipment lose status communications. The system was eventually discontinued and abandoned in place. [BACK]

10. M & A Panel stands for Monitor and Alarm Panel, which is one of two such units that display status of the LCC/LCEB environment and equipment. This particular unit, located above the DMCCC console, displays the status of fire alarms in the LCEB and LCC, Blast Door sense switches, and also has the remote control that activates the door lock at the top of the elevator area (allowing passage to and from the FSC office. [BACK]

11. The Power Distribution Group; basically a set of cicuit breaker panels and noise filters, supplying power supply voltages to the Aerospace Ground Equipment (AGE) racks in the LCC.[BACK]

12. HF Antenna Control Box comes into use after a nuclear attack destroys the building and "soft" antennas topside. A hardened antenna, mounted in a small silo, is erected by explosive charge, allowing the crew to communicate with the surviving military authority.[BACK]

13. Status Console, also known as the DMCCC console. This console's primary function is to display the status of all missiles under control of the LCC. Two panels of lamps give "GO - NO GO" indications for 10 primary and 10 secondary control missiles; a green light at the top of each row of missile's status lights indicates that missile is in "Strategic Alert" status - ready for immediate launch. This light green light is the source of the phrase "Green Time" used to indicate force readiness. The status Console also contains a Signal Data Recorder, which is basically a fancy paer-tape printer. It gives detailed fault printouts for all 50 missiles and 5 LCC's in the squadron whenever something goes wrong. This fault information is relayed back to Job Control at the base, so that repair technicians can be dispatched to fix the problem. [BACK]

14. Alarm Monitor Set is the second of two Alarm Monitor panels in the LCC; this one is mounted in the rack directly to the right of the Status Console. This rack contains electronic drawers that have other functions, but the rack gets it's nomenclature designation from the panel. The panel contains a series of red tile lamps that display faults internal to the LCC's communication and power generation equipment.[BACK]

15. HF Radio Group consists of a 300 Watt HF Transciever capable of AM/SSB voice communications from 1.6 - 30 Mhz, an antenna tuner unit, and a 1500 Watt amplifier. The entire set was once used in vintage submarines, and has a definite "boat anchor appearance. Modern HF gear to replace it would be about the size of the average "boom box". The system was used by the crew to communicate in case of attack over long distances, since HF radio waves will bounce off of ionospheric layers to travel around the globe. But such communications were unreliable at times of storm, heavy sunspot activity, and other natural phenomenon, and could also be easily monitored or jammed. The system was eventually abandoned in place and replaced with satellite communications. This took away a small bit of fun for some crew members - listening to the BBC or Radio Luxembourg on their Shortwave Stations, or other uses: some crew members joked about using it to talk to Ham radio operators, and even truckers on CB channels (the maximum legal CB wattage is 4 watts, so this must have given them quite a good -if illegal- signal!). [BACK]

16. Telephone Terminal Rack contains all the telephone control circuitry for landline communications between the LCC, all of its' Launch Facilities, and the base.[BACK]

17. Digital Data Terminal rack processes status and command communications to and from the Missile silos .[BACK]

18. Junction Box Set is a huge panel of audio-type jacks, where every status and command signal from and to the LCC's equipment passes. The jacks can be used to monitor signals for troubleshooting purposes, or "isolated" by cutting communications with a dummy plug installed in the jack. By this method, a single Launch Facility can be electronically isolated from the LCC (so that work going on at that LF does not generate false signals to the crew), or the LCC can be cut off from the entire squadron of 50 missiles and 4 other LCC's (in the case of work being done at that LCC). [BACK]

19. Lavatory is pretty self-explanatory, other than to note that this small "room" is cramped - about the size of a bathroom in a motor home. There is a toilet and small sink only - no shower. There are showers in the LCF support building upstairs - but crews have no access to these while "on alert" in the capsule - sometimes as long as 3 days straight. Phew! Time for a sponge bath! [BACK]

20. Fire Extinguisher Kept near the kitchen area, it is atarget for jokes concerning the quality of the cooks that would be using the area.[BACK]

21. Compressed Air Cylinder Used as an emergency pressure system for the plumbing. Could be vented to supply more air to the crew, but not intended for that purpose.[BACK]

22. The LCC Blast Door is not nearly so massive as the ones used for the Launch Control Equipment Building or the Launcher Equipment Building at the silo. But it does the job. The door is also disimilar to equipment room Blast doors in that if the pins are pumped shut and the door is latched from the inside, the door is impossible to open from the outside, without completely disassembling the door hardware. This is a security measure to prevent enemy or terrorist takeover of the LCC. For detailed drawings of the LCC Blast Door, click on the picture to the right.[BACK]

23. The LCC Tunnel Junction connects the suspended enclosure inside the capsule-shaped LCC to the elevator access area and the Launch Control Equipment Building(LCEB). If you click on the picture at right, you can see the view as seen from inside the "capsule", looking across the elevator area toward the LCEB. The blast door is currently in the open position in the photo. During normal "alert" status, these blast doors are kept closed and have the massive holding pins along the sides pumped closed to prevent any nearby bomb-blast from killing the crew. If a blast door is required open for mainenance or personnel/equipment transfer, the crew must coordinate with the other LCC's for a "door time", as a maximum of 2 doors are allowed in a squadron at any one time. You can also get a good perspective here of how thick the walls of the LCC shell are.[BACK]

24. Chemical Toilet Storage Back up emergency toilet.[BACK]

25. Oven/Frig/Storage Since most meals are brought down by the Facility Manager or the Cook, these items go largely unused except for occasional items brought from home by the crew.[BACK]

26. Bed Hard as a rock, noisy, and often drafty due to placement near environmental system vents. Crew members take turns sleeping (though that has been violated on rare occasion); in order to maintain the "two-man control" policy required in the area, classified items are protected by placing special tamper proff seals on them. These seals are inspected by the sleeping crewman when he awakes, as well as oncoming crews. [BACK]

27. Air Conditioning Unit Provides cooling air to the electronic equipment racks. very noisy, so it was installed next to the bed.[BACK]

28. Power Switchboard Contains commercial power circuit breakers to most of the heavy-draw powered items in the LCC, such as the motor/generator, battery chargers, and the air conditioning.[BACK]

29. 32 Volt Battery Charger Set Provides charging to the 32 Volt emergency power batteries.[BACK]

30. 160 Volt Battery Charger Set Provides charging to the 160 Volt emergency power batteries that are the primary supply for the motor/generator during commercial and diesel generator failures.[BACK]

31. MF Radio Filter Set Contains RF Antenna Filters for the MF Radio System.[BACK]

32. UHF Radio Set A radio connectivity system that allows the LF and LCC to be monitored/controlled by an Airborne Launch Control Center (ALCC). If the ground LCC is destroyed or disabled, the ALCC can take control of a silo and initiate a launch under certain circumstances.[BACK]

32a. Portable IPD Processor Unit Passes some data for the squadrons silos and LCC's via secure line back to Wing Job Control on the Support Base.[BACK]

 

Outside of the LCC's environmental enclosure that the "capsule crew" inhabits lies the dimly lit space between the suspended enclosure and the exterior shell of the underground facility. This area is accessed by a trap door in the suspended floor near the tunnel entrance, and is used to house some of the support equipment needed to keep the LCC operating in emergency conditions; just click on an item below to find out more...

THE LAUNCH CONTROL CENTER SHELL
1. Environmental System Brine Storage Tank
2. LCC Outer Shell
3. ESA Room Supply Fan
4. Movable Ladder
5. Electrical Surge Arrestor Room
6. Egress Landing
7. Escape Hatch
8. Emergency Egress Tube
9. Ladder
10. Toilet Vent Shutoff Valve
11. Hot Water Heater
12. Survival Food Storage
13. Survival Equpment Storage
14. Survival Equipment Storage
15. Sewage Shutoff
16. Access Ladder & Hatch
17. AC/DC Motor-Generator
18. Sewage Tank
19. Potable Water Tank
20. 32 VDC Battery Set
21. Water hutoff
22. Suspended Floor
23. 160 VDC Battery Set (30 Batteries)
24. Survival Storage

Notes On Launch Control Center Shell:

6-9. Emergency Egress was a subject nobody wanted to talk about much, especially crews. The escape system at the capsule consisted of a small landing built into the side of the LCC shell, a vertically mounted escape hatch, and a steel reinforced tube. The tube extended from the hatch to a point that was a few feet short of the surface, and was filled with sand. The idea was for a crew, trapped by rubble of a blast nearby blocking the elevator shaft, to open this hatch. The crew would then let the sand run out into the LCC shell, crawl up the tube, and use shovels to dig through the short distance remaining, to the surface. The reason this was a touchy subject was two-fold: first, the only reason it would be used was in a post-attack scenario, which does not exactly bring to mind a pleasant picture to be greeted by. Second, testing done a few years back had opened the hatches on a few LCC's for inspection; years of ground water seeping into the sand-filled tube had mixed the contents with minerals dissolved in the water, resulting in....concrete. Crew would need a pick-ax, some room to swing it, and lots more time to exit this way.[BACK]