On an earlier shift that day, two Propellant Transfer System technicians were in the silo, partway through fixing a low-pressure fault, when they discovered they had forgotten to bring a torque wrench.
It was considered a simple job to pressurize the upper-stage tank on the Titan II. Instead of fetching the torque wrench, the technician did what had been standard practice for years — he tried to disconnect a cap with the socket wrench he had. The wrench was not working as it should have and the nine-pound socket fell off.
The weight of the socket was such that it went through the seal between the missile and the work platform and fell about 70 feet, where it bounced off the stand that held the missile upright and smashed into the base of the missile, puncturing a hole in it. Immediately, high-pressure toxic fuel started to spray out. The base was evacuated, and the blast doors were closed, leaving the missile alone and the silo filling with the fuel. Greg Devlin and Rex Hukle were ordered to break into the complex and get readings of the leaked fuel.
Teammates Dave Livingston and Jeff Kennedy then went down and managed to open the blast doors. Kennedy went into the room that contained so much vapor from the fuel it was eating at his suit; he confirmed that the detectors had eight red warning lights showing and the readings in the silo were maxed out.
Both men fled the silo, returning safely above ground. Soon after, at about 3 am, the missile and silo exploded.
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The blast wave hit Devlin and launched him backwards over the road for about 60 meters. He recalls seeing steel and concrete flying past him, and he thought he was going to die. Authors Tim Winton Sarah J.
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Delivery options: Shipping to an Australian address When will my book be dispatched from your warehouse? When will my order arrive? A glass roof topping the silo complex will fill the atrium with natural light. More silo bins whose ground floors have been carved out, retaining the round exterior walls, will serve as galleries for the permanent collection. Existing underground tunnels will be used for site-specific artist installations and for educational rooms.