Encyclopedia Astronautica
Ellsworth AFB



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Ellsworth AFB
Credit: © Mark Wade
Titan I and Minuteman ICBM base 1962-1994. Ellsworth hosted the unique 'Long Life' test of a Minuteman ICBM in 1965. This was the only launch of an ICBM from an operational inland US missile site.

On 2 January 1942 the U.S. War Department established an air base at this location for training of B-17 bomber crews. The base was shut down after the war, but was reactivated in 1947 as a B-29 bomber base. These aircraft were succeeded by the B-36 in 1949, the B-52 in 1957, and the B-1B in 1986.

In January 1962 the 44th Strategic Missile Wing was activated at Ellsworth, initially equipped with Titan 1 ICBM's. These were supplemented with 150 Minuteman 1 ICBM's in later years. By October 1971 these were replaced with Minuteman 2's. In 1991, the Cold War over, these missiles were taken off alert status. By 1994 the silos had been destroyed and the ICBM mission was over.

Ellsworth hosted the unique 'Long Life' test of a Minuteman ICBM in 1965. This was the only launch of an ICBM from an operational inland US missile site. The first stage was loaded with only enough propellant for seven seconds of burn time and the upper stages were inert.

Location: Wyoming.
Longitude: -103.1000 deg.
Latitude: 44.1300 deg.

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
See also
  • Minuteman Mainstay of the US deterrent. 1,000 Minuteman silos were built in the early 1960's, and the missile was to remain in service to the mid-21st Century. As versions were retired and updated, they provided a plentiful source of surplus rocket motors for other projects. More...

Associated Launch Vehicles
  • Minuteman 1B American intercontinental ballistic missile. Full production version. Minuteman IB used the Mk.5 RV with the W59 (1 MT), the Mk.11 with the W56 (1.2 MT) and the Mk.11A with the W56 as well. More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • USAF American agency overseeing development of rockets and spacecraft. United States Air Force, USA. More...

Bibliography
  • McDowell, Jonathan, Jonathan's Space Home Page (launch records), Harvard University, 1997-present. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • Official Site of the Topic, Information obtained from the manufacturer or operator's official web site.

Associated Launch Sites

Ellsworth AFB Chronology


1960 December 2 - . Launch Site: Ellsworth AFB. LV Family: Titan. Launch Vehicle: Titan 1.
  • Titan I ICBM 850th SMS activated at Ellsworth AFB - . Nation: USA.

1962 September 28 - . Launch Site: Ellsworth AFB. LV Family: Titan. Launch Vehicle: Titan 1.
  • Titan I ICBM 850th SMS (nine missiles) declared operational at Ellsworth AFB - . Nation: USA.

1965 February 1 - . Launch Site: Ellsworth AFB. LV Family: Titan. Launch Vehicle: Titan 1.
  • Last Titan I ICBM taken off alert status at Ellsworth AFB - . Nation: USA.

1965 March 1 - . 19:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Ellsworth AFB. Launch Pad: N2. LV Family: Minuteman. Launch Vehicle: Minuteman 1B.
  • LONG LIFE test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 1.00 km (0.60 mi). Approved by the Secretary of Defense in November 1964, 'Project Long Life' called for the short-range launch from on operational missile base of three modified Minuteman IB ICBMs to provide a realistic test for this system. Each missile would contain enough propellant for a 7-second flight and have inert upper stages and reentry vehicles. This first launch occurred on March 1, 1965, and successfully demonstrated the ability of a SAC missile crew to launch an ICBM.

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