Los Alamos National Laboratory

Los Alamos National Laboratory

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The Minuteman Takes Flight

ICBM flight testing builds confidence.
December 1, 2016
The Minuteman Takes Flight

Stages of a Minuteman III launch.

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  • Clay Dillingham
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Buried 80 feet into ground, each silo is covered with a massive, 100-ton concrete and steel blast door that is blown violently open amidst a cloud of smoke and fire as the missile takes flight.

Once airborne, the 80,000-pound missile uses stages during which parts are dropped to shed excess weight and to accelerate to high velocities 700 miles above earth’s surface. Traveling at 15,000 miles per hour, the weapon can reach a target on the other side of the world in about half an hour.

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