Missile Silo BNB
A Unique B&B Experience
The Atlas SM-65F ICBM Missile System - The Missile Silo B&B Atlas F base is one of twelve sites that were built in a ring around Altus, Oklahoma in the early 1960's. These 12 sites were assigned to the 577th Strategic Missile Squadron which was based at Altus Air Force Base. The 577th SMS was in operation from 1962 thru 1965 and many of these sites were just coming online during the Cuban missile crisis. These sites were manned 24 hours a day, 365 days a year during the time the squadron was active. During the Cuban Missile Crisis, all 577th SMS sites were at a high level of alert and were ready to launch the Atlas ICBM should it have become necessary. The squadron was armed with the SM-65F weapon system, more commonly know as the Atlas F. The 577th was one of six Atlas F squadrons in which the missile was housed in a "vertical silo launcher" style complex. The missile was kept in a vertical position at all times. In order to launch, two 75-ton overhead doors were opened and the "bird" was lifted out of the silo. The Atlas ICBM required RP1 and Liquid Oxygen for powering the rocket engines. The RP1 fuel was kept on board the missile at all times during alert. As the missile was lifted out of the silo the Liquid Oxygen fuel was added after which it would then be made ready for launch. The picture above shows an Atlas F raised out of the silo. The Atlas F used an Avco Mark IV re-entry vehicle which carried a type W-38 thermonuclear warhead with a yield of approximately 3.8 million tons of TNT. This yield is approximately 253 times that of the Little Boy atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan in 1945. The Atlas had a range of approximately 6,000 miles. Developed by the Astronautics Division of General Dynamics, the Atlas weapon system became a national priority during the late 1950's and early 1960's in which no expense was spared in the development, testing and implementation of this first generation ICBM system. The Atlas D rocket was also used by NASA during the early days of manned space travel and was the booster used to put John Glenn into Earth orbit.