Titan Missile Museum: Sound Supression


Hi everybody. Still down here on Level 2
of the silo. This is where all the tours end up. I wanted to talk a little about sound
attenuation. This is a pretty important concept here. It’s what made Titan II
possible. But to do it we need to go out in the launch duct. So let’s go. We never take people out here. It’s way too dangerous. Maybe that’s why we have these real
secure padlocks down here. Okay, come on in and watch your step. Whoa! See? Just like that. Don’t
trip. It’s a long way down from here. So, here is the missile! You get to see it real
close. This is where Jean-Luc Picard actually touched the missile in Star-Trek:
First Contact. If you ever watch that movie he reaches out, “I’ve seen this
missile a hundred times in the Smithsonian but could never touch it,” and he reaches out and touches it. We don’t let people touch the missile but they paid us a lot of money so we made an
exception for him. Okay, sound attenuation. One of the…the deal with Titan II is that, in
fact, the deal with launching missiles out of silos was that the roar of the
engine is so loud that if you light up the engine inside the silo and you don’t
deal with the roar somehow, the vibrations caused by the roar will tear
the missile apart before it gets out of the silo. So to prevent that they used two
tricks, and the first trick is right here. All these panels, these are just big
boxes stuffed with fiberglass and then they got a screen on the front of them. You
can see how thick they are right there, about a foot thick. And they’re just like
the acoustic tiles in your office ceiling only they are a lot thicker. So
that the purpose of these is just to soak up sound. All right, but that isn’t
quite enough so the second trick I will show you, now. So the other piece of the sound attenuation puzzle is
down here on Level 7. And we occasionally bring groups down here on Level 7. Don’t forget to look up. It’s
a really cool view from down here. All 103 feet [31.4 meters] of
the missile in front of you there. Okay, so sound attenuation. The other
part of it is this: that the sound attenuation modules on the wall are not
quite enough. So the other trick they use is water, with those great big nozzles.
There’s one there, there’s one over there, and there are two kind of below us where we
can’t really see. They start about… about 30 seconds before they light the
engines, they start flooding the silo with water from those big nozzles. And
those nozzles are positioned to spray water directly into the exhaust stream
of the engine. So what happens is, when the engine ignites, that water begins to
boil. And that boiling water, what that does is it steals energy from the
exhaust stream that would normally go into making noise and they’re boiling
water with it instead. So between the sound attenuation modules and the water
injection (that’s what they call the deluge system), between those two things
they can quiet the engines down just enough to get the missile up out of here in one piece. Thanks for watching.

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