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MSR / MSCB Description: General Statement

(Excerpt from Historic American Engineering Record, HAER No. ND-9-B,
Missile Site Control Building, Building 430

Part II. Architectural Information

A. General Statement

Design criteria required that both the MSCB and its power plant sustain the effects of a nuclear attack with all critical systems remaining operational. As a result, the MSCB was hardened and designed to contain both the MSR and all tactical operational control functions associated with surveillance, target acquisition, and Safeguard missile guidance and control. Maintaining its own support facilities, the MSCB could completely seal itself up, permitting uninterrupted operation (including its air supply) during and after enemy attack, even when the outside environment became intolerable. Protection was thus afforded both to personnel and the intricate machinery powering and powered by the radar faces.

The MSCB is the heart of the MSR complex; it monitored and controlled its onsite Sprint and Spartan missile fields and four Remote Sprint Launch sites and provided the terminal defense line for nearby Minuteman missile fields, protecting a geographic area of approximately 600 by 900 mi. It contained equipment capable of detecting and identifying multiple enemy targets, destroying them via the launch and guidance of its interceptor missiles, Spartan and Sprint. The equipment required for this task included radar, data processing equipment, control and monitoring equipment, and environmental and test support equipment. The weight of the building is estimated to be 160 million pounds.

The MSCB is a massive, partially buried reinforced concrete building with five levels, and the predominant structure at the MSR site. The major portion of the building (two stories) is subterranean; the height of the exposed section is approximately 75 ft, and it contains the four phased-array radar antenna faces. This above-ground area is often referred to as the "turret" of the MSCB. Its peculiar polyhedral shape resembles that of a cropped pyramid. The MSCB has two feet of earth cover over the high underground portion (225 ft2 by 65 ft). In order to meet established structural design criteria, rigorous dynamic analysis was accomplished. The building's configuration was also influenced by the need to optimize its radars' performance.

1. Architectural Character:

The MSCB merits recording by reason of its steel-reinforced liner-plate shielded design which protects it against nuclear weapon effects and its role in early ballistic missile defense and as a pivotal figure in the SRMSC, the only antiballistic site ever completed in the United States.

2. Condition:

Structurally sound, the MSCB has been in inactive status since 1978. Prior to this, the building was salvaged, permitting later flood damage.