Irrelevance defined

http://www.strategypage.com//fyeo/howtomakewar/default.asp?target=HTICBM.HTM

The upgrading of the older Minuteman III missiles has been under way for several years. The air force is in the process of replacing the decades old solid fuel rockets of its 500 Minuteman III missiles. Actually, a test of a 33 year old Minuteman I rocket motor showed that the motor (actually, a long tube full of slow burning explosives) still performed according to specification. The last of the Minuteman III missiles will receive their new motors by 2008. It costs about $5.2 million to replace the rockets on each missile. The new rocket motors, which have to comply with EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) rules, will have a shorter range (which was classified, but thought to be nearly 10,000 kilometers, based on where the missiles were stationed and where likely Russian targets were.) than the original motors

You think its self-evidently absurd, but those things are unbelievably toxic. No harm in replacing them with safer ones.

You may have been under the impression that the new motors burn cleaner in the air when fired, or something. That’s not what the motor replacements are for. The original missile motors sat idle in the silos leaking toxic chemicals into the air and ground. The new motors leak less chemicals.

You really need to get your strategic launch platforms straight. We aren’t talking about nitrogen tetroxide and hydrazine, much less fuming nitric acid. Retiring the old motors is a lot more environmentally challenging than having them sit in sealed silos.

I’m sure the new motors are being constructed under byzantine environmental regulations that didn’t exist several decades ago, but even that wasn’t the point.

The point is that I know full well an elaborate set of standards and environmental impact study was done on the new motors in regards to them being…well, used.

Which is what we call irony.

Now most of the Soviet launchers… shudder

The point is that I know full well an elaborate set of standards and environmental impact study was done on the new motors in regards to them being…well, used.

Except it doesn’t say that in the article.

But come to think of it, you’d want an environment impact study to be done for test and maintenance firings, wouldn’t you?