Since nuclear war is now on everyone’s minds since North Korea’s Kim Jong Un has been playing chicken with the whole world, we figured we’d show you how an ICBM actually works. We’ll put in a disclaimer here as well. This isn’t some fear mongering article. We’re all going to be fine. It’s just interesting to see the incredible engineering of these ICBMs.
Although we’ll let the video show you all the stages the missile goes through from launch to destination, we’ll give you a quick rundown of the missile you’ll be looking at as the video doesn’t cover that.
There are 450 active Minuteman III missiles ready for launch around the United States.
The LGM-30 Minuteman missile project began back in the 50s and was in service since 1962 with the 3rd version of it is now being the only one used. The primary purpose of it was to serve as a deterrent against other countries during the Cold War but also to stand the test of time. Since other missiles are usually powered by liquid propellants, they take a long time to fuel before launch. Minuteman missiles were designed with solid fuel rocket motors which enables them to be launched within minutes, hence the name. They also require much less maintenance.
The whole video is actually 6 minutes long so we’ve queued it up for you to just showcase the actual launch sequence. If you have the time, watch the whole thing though. The beginning will show you what steps are necessary to actually launch the nuke. As you can imagine, there a lot of steps between receiving the call to launch and the missile actually being in the air.