Museum busy reassembling missile procedures trainer

  • Published
  • By Corey Dahl
  • 21st Space Wing Public Affairs
Right now, the endless sea of materials piled on the floor of the Peterson Museum hangar looks like - well, an endless sea of materials.

But thanks to base and local community volunteers, those materials will soon become a permanent, interactive missile exhibit here.

Members of the museum foundation, volunteers from the 21st Space Wing and Air Force Space Command and a few Boeing and Northrup Grumman employees have been working since Nov. 5 to re-assemble a missile procedures trainer - a large, electronics filled enclosure once used to train missileers.

Once completed, the 22' by 30' box will be used to show guests what the inside of an underground launch control center looks like. Visitors will also be able to launch pretend missiles using the trainer's still-working equipment.

"It's a complete replica of a launch control center," said Gail Whalen, the museum's director. "We wanted to show people how the missile crews are trained and exactly what it looks like down there underground."

The new exhibit broadens the number of missions showcased at the museum, which previously had nothing dedicated to ICBMs, said retired Brig. Gen. Ron Gray, vice president of the museum's foundation. While Peterson itself has no missiles, many other AFSPC units are dedicated to missile defense.

"What we're trying to do is capture all of the missions that AFSPC, NORAD and the 21st Space Wing perform," he said. "ICBMs are a significant portion of the AFSPC mission, so we thought adding something like this was pretty necessary."

The museum received the piece of equipment from Vandenberg AFB, which deactivated the outdated trainer last year. Rather than see the trainer thrown on the scrap pile, the Pete museum requested it be housed here.

After several months spent organizing the shipment, the trainer arrived here Nov. 5 - disassembled and spread out on three flat-bed truck, and the museum's crew of volunteers immediately got to work reassembling the pieces. More helpers will eventually paint and clean the slightly shabby trainer before others set to work hooking up its electronic equipment.

The goal is to have the trainer up and running as an exhibit around the beginning of the year, or by spring at the latest, Ms. Whalen said.

"We're not professional engineers, so it's a slow process," she said. "But we've got (professionals) who know what they're doing, and several agencies on base are helping where they can, which is great. We couldn't have done this on our own."