Frequently Asked Questions
How can we see the Minuteman Missile sites?
Ranger-guided tours of Launch Control Facility Delta-01 and the underground Launch Control Center are conducted throughout the year. Tickets are issued from the Visitor Center on a first come, first served basis. Click here for hours of operation...
As tour spaces are limited, it is best to plan your visit in advance.
Why are the tour sizes so small?
The elevator which takes visitors down to the underground Launch Control Center can only hold six visitors at a time. Due to safety regulations only six visitors are allowed into the underground facility at any one time.
Why does the Park Service manage this site?
During the deactivation of Ellsworth Air Force Base's Minuteman II missile field the National Park Service and the Air Force recognized a unique opportunity for preservation of a Minuteman Launch Control Facility and missile silo. A special resource study team was commissioned, which included representatives from the National Park Service, US Air Force Museum, South Dakota Historical Society and the Ellsworth Heritage Foundation. After a comprehensive evaluation of the historic resources, it was decided that the National Park Service's mission "to protect and conserve" historic resources unimpaired for future generations. In 1999 legislation was passed by Congress that designated Minuteman Missile National Historic Site.
When is the best time to visit the site?
Fall and spring are excellent times to tour the site. The weather is mild and many times tour spaces are available.
When did the park start giving tours of the site?
Tours began in the late spring of 2004.
What will we see at the Air and Space Museum and where is it located?
The South Dakota Air and Space Museum has exhibits and displays on the Minuteman system. These include the actual Missile Procedures Trainer which missileers trained for capsule duty on. Tours are also given of a Minuteman training silo which maintenance crews used to learn proper procedures for maintaining the missile. The museum is located off Interstate 90 exit 67, 7 miles east of Rapid City.
How do we get to the Badlands?
The Minuteman Missile Visitor Contact Station located off Exit 131 (on the south side of Interstate 90) is only 4 miles from the Northeast entrance to Badlands National Park. Follow SD Highway 240 4 miles south to the Badlands entrance.
How long does it take to get to Mt. Rushmore?
The Minuteman Missile Visitor Contact Station is approximately 100 miles from Mt. Rushmore. Allow yourself 2 hours to reach Mt. Rushmore.
How far is it to Yellowstone National Park?
The Minuteman Missile Visitor Contact Station is located 500 miles from the East Entrance to Yellowstone (via Cody, Wyoming). Allow yourself at least 8 to 10 hours to reach Yellowstone.
Did You Know?
A Minuteman Missile can strike a target up to 6,300 miles away in the time it takes to watch an average television sitcom, 30 minutes.