Image of the Air Force wings with the museum name underneath

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Minuteman III Second Stage Rocket

This rocket engine, designed and built by Aerojet, powers the second stage of the Minuteman III Intercontinental Ballistic Missile, large numbers of which are currently on constant alert in blast-proof underground silos at various locations in the United States.

After a Minuteman III is launched by its larger first-stage engine, the first-stage section is jettisoned once its fuel is depleted and the second-stage engine takes over to boost the missile to an even greater speed and higher altitude. It likewise is jettisoned and the third-stage engine then takes over to propel the nuclear warhead onward toward its pre-selected enemy target.

Click here to return to the Missile Gallery.