Launch Support Building

Launch Support Building (on the right)

Launch Support Building

The Launch Support Building (LSB) houses the equipment necessary to keep the Launch Facility up and running 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days out of the year. The equipment inside this structure consists primarily of mechanical, electrical and environmental control equipment.

The launch support building at each launch facility is rectangular in size, and is constructed of reinforced concrete measuring approximately 11 feet deep, 16 feet wide and 25 feet long. The top of the building stands about 1 foot above the ground. These particular launch support structures were considered a "soft" support building. In the case of a nuclear blast nearby, the launch support building does not have much protective ability to withstand a blast.

The Launch Facilities at Wings I and II, Malmstrom AFB and Ellsworth AFB both incorporated the earliest designs of the Launch Support Buildings used for the launch facilities. They had minimal protection in the case of a nuclear explosion.

In realizing the vulnerability of the LSB, the Air Force changed the design of the LSB at Strategic Missile Wings at Wing III, IV & V. The change incorporated a vertical entry shaft into the Launch Support Building with two steel hatches designed to help absorb a blast, protecting the equipment inside the LSB. The Launch Support Building also had a shock mounted floor, which added an additional degree of nuclear hardness.

When the Air Force started construction at Wing VI, Grand Forks AFB in North Dakota, as well as with the 564th Squadron at Malmstrom AFB, (the "Odd Squad") they opted to bury the LSB approximately 40 feet below ground, which gave the Launch Support Building a great deal more protection from a nuclear blast.

The main components in the LSB are a diesel powered electrical generator. In the event that the launch facility lost it's commercial power, the generator is configured to start itself, and supply the facility with continuous electrical power. In the case the generator is not operational, the launch facility equipment room (housed in the launch tube containing the missile) has 12 large batteries that can be used as backup for the facility.

The LSB also has a brine chiller that provides cold water to the launch equipment room air exchanger. The Environmental Control System within the Launch Facility was designed to maintain the launch facility and its equipment room at a constant 70 degrees Fahrenheit year around. Also within the launch support building is a hydraulic pump for the PAH, personnel access hatch

At one end of the LSB was an access ladder that allowed maintenance personnel to get down inside the LSB to work on the generator and other pieces of equipment. The two large openings on top allowed maintenance crews easier access from above, to work on the large pieces of equipment.

Launch Support Building Diesel Generator

Pictured below are some photographs of the diesel generator used in the Launch Support Building at a Launch Facility belonging to F.E. Warren Air Force Base. The first photo is of an older generator that is being replaced.

Old Launch Support Building Generator

Older Generator From An LSB - FE Warren AFB

The remaining two photographs are of the new generator that FE Warren AFB was installing at the Launch Facility. If my memory serves me correctly, the generator that was being replaced was in service for approximately 35 years.

New Launch Support Building Generator

New Replacement Generator At An LSB - FE Warren AFB

New Launch Support Building Generator

New Generator Installed In The LSB - FE Warren AFB