We were joking about our low expectations for this excursion. Were we ever caught by surprise... read more
The two sites offer complementary experiences. Delta-01 was built in 1962 and reflects the original design of the minuteman system. The control center is 31 feet underground and a single cramped space; support equipment... More
The two sites offer complementary experiences. Delta-01 was built in 1962 and reflects the original design of the minuteman system. The control center is 31 feet underground and a single cramped space; support equipment such as the generator and air filtering equipment is all above ground, and would have been destroyed in the event of a first strike, limiting survivability of the control center to six hours of battery power. Delta-01 was taken off-line in 1993, and was preserved in the national park site precisely because it reflected the early 1960s design, with few changes. The Delta-09 silo has a missile (unarmed) inside, and a glass observation structure over the open silo, allowing visitors to view both the missile and the silo that contains it (one of only two places you can do so in America). When decommissioned by the USAF, Delta-01 had the classified equipment removed but no other changes. The Delta-01 facility is a time capsule to 1993. Oscar-zero was built in 1965, and reflects changes made to the minuteman program by the mid-1960s; the control center is deeper underground, larger, and accompanied by a second capsule space which housed the support equipment. The control center panels were built by a different military contractor. The facility was subject to a number of creature comfort upgrades and was in use until 1997. When decommissioned by the USAF, the control center at Oscar-zero was gutted; it was later reassembled when converted to a state historic site. Oscar-zero is a time capsule to 1997. The November-33 silo appears just as it would have historically; there are a number of exhibit panels present which explain the features of the site. The national park site in South Dakota is located immediately adjacent the busy I-90 corridor and is visited by over 100,000 people per year; Oscar-zero is off the neaten path and visited by well less than 10,000 visitors per year (approximately 4,000 in 2015). The national park site is open year-round; Oscar-zero is open seasonally. Both site charge fees for the control center tour. If you have enough interest in the subject, go to both sites. They are worth the trip and provide an interesting contrast to each other.