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MSR Missile Support HAER Info > Sprint Launch Area Description

Sprint Launch Area Description

Adapted from Historic American Engineering Record, HAER No. ND-9-F,
Missile Launch Area (Facilities 501-530, 541-556)


Within Exclusion Area, Nekoma Vicinity, Cavalier County, North Dakota.


The Sprint Launch Area contained 16 Sprint Launch Stations (facilities 541-557), allowing for short range defense against every intercontinental ballistic missile. (An additional 54 Sprint launchers were distributed among the four Remote Sprint Launch (RSL) sites.)


The foundation of each of the 16 steel cylindrical Sprint launch stations was buried vertically underground to a depth of some 32 ft and had an inner diameter of approximately 9.5 ft. Each LS was on a concrete base, was closed with a hatch, and had a Launch Preparation Equipment Chamber and Launch Area Antenna (LAA). The LAA consisted of a reradiating horn mounted in an 18 inch diameter steel pipe; the pipe and its internal conduit had a weatherproofed cover.

When operational, each cell contained a Sprint missile that would be launched by a gas-propelled piston through its cell cover, which would be explosively fragmented to allow the missile's exit.


The Sprint launch stations of the Missile Launch Area were designed by the Ralph M. Parsons Co. and constructed by Morrison-Knudsen and Associates; they were basically completed by 3 January 1973. Approximate costs were $50,000 for each Sprint silo. During deactivation of the site (late September 1976), the Sprint missiles and warheads, as well as the launch equipment and the Sprint cannister, were removed. The silo covers were then sealed.