Titan (rocket family)

Titan (rocket family)

Infobox Aircraft
name=Titan family

caption=The Titan rocket family.
type=Expendable launch system with various applications
manufacturer=Glenn L. Martin Company
first flight=1958-12-20 [cite web
title=Titan 1 Chronology
work=Titan 1 ICBM History Website
primary user=United States Air Force
more users=National Aeronautics and Space Administration
number built=368
unit cost=US$250-350 million
variants with their own articles=Titan I Titan II Titan III Titan IIIB Titan IV

Titan was a family of U.S. expendable rockets used between 1959 and 2005. A total of 368 rockets of this family were launched.

Titan I

The Titan I was the first version of the Titan family of rockets. It began as a backup ICBM project in case the Atlas was delayed. It was a two-stage rocket powered by RP-1 and Liquid Oxygen. Using RP-1 and LOX meant that the Titan I did not have a quick launch sequence. It took about fifteen minutes to load LOX on the first missile at a complex, raise it topside and launch it, with the other two missiles following at about eight minute intervals. Titan I was operational from early 1962 to mid-1965.

Titan I Missile Units

* 568th Strategic Missile Squadron, Larson AFB, Moses Lake, Washington
* 569th Strategic Missile Squadron, Mountain Home AFB, Mt Home, Idaho
* 851st Strategic Missile Squadron, Beale AFB, Marysville, California
* 850th Strategic Missile Squadron, Ellsworth AFB, Rapid City, South Dakota
* 451st Strategic Missile Wing (formerly 703rd) Lowry AFB, Denver, Colorado

Titan II

Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBM)

Most of the Titan rockets were the Titan II ICBM and their civilian derivatives for NASA. The Titan II ICBM had one W-53 warhead with a 9.0 megaton yield, making it the most powerful ICBM on-standby in the US nuclear arsenal. These were deployed in three squadrons of 18 missiles each, in Arizona, Kansas, and Arkansas. All of the ICBM Titan II missile sites have been decommissioned since 1987 but the Titan Missile Museum on Interstate 19 south of Tucson, Arizona, has preserved one deactivated launch site. The Titan II was a hypergolicly-fueled two-stage ICBM that was used by the U.S. Air Force from the mid-1960s to the mid-1980s. The Titan II used a hypergolic combination of nitrogen tetroxide and hydrazine for its oxidizer and fuel.

pace launch vehicles

The most important use of the civilian Titan II was in the NASA Gemini program of manned space capsules in the mid-1960s. Twelve Titan IIs were used to launch two U.S. unmanned Gemini test launches and ten manned capsules with two-man crews. All of the launches were successes.

Also, in the late 80s some of the deactivated Titan IIs were converted into space launch vehicles to be used for launching U.S. Government payloads. The final such vehicle launched a Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) weather satellite from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, on 18 October 2003. [http://spaceflightnow.com/titan/g9/031018launch.html] .

Titan III

The Titan III was a modified Titan II with optional solid rocket boosters. It was developed by the U.S. Air Force as a heavy-lift satellite launcher to be used mainly to launch U.S. military payloads such as DSP early-warning, intelligence (spy), and defense communications satellites. The powerful Titan IIIC used two large strapped-on solid-fuel rockets to increase its launch thrusts and payload weight. One other variant, the Titan IIIE, was used to launch some NASA scientific probes such as the Voyagers to the outer planets and the Viking landers to Mars, all four flights using a Centaur upper stage.

The Titan IIIB and its variants (23B, 24B, 33B, and 34B) were Titan III cores with an Agena D upper stage. This combination was used to launch the KH-8 GAMBIT series of spy satellites. They were all launched from Vandenberg AFB, Calif., into polar orbits. The payload was about 7,500 lb (3,000 kg).

Titan IV

The Titan IV is a "stretched" Titan III with non-optional solid rocket boosters. It could be launched either with the Centaur upper stage, with the IUS (Inertial Upper Stage) or without any upper stage. It was almost exclusively used to launch U.S. Military payloads, though it was also used to launch NASA's Cassini probe to Saturn in 1997. Titan IV was the most powerful unmanned rocket in the United States, and was extremely expensive to operate. By the time the Titan IV was operational the requirements of the Department of Defence for a heavy booster had declined due to improvements in the longevity of military satellites, and the fall of the Soviet Union. As a result, when including the cost of ground operations and facilities for the Titan IV at Vandenberg AFB, the unit cost was very high.

Rocket fuel

Liquid oxygen is dangerous to use in an enclosed space, such as a missile silo, and cannot be stored for long periods in the booster oxidizer tank. Several Atlas and Titan I rockets exploded and destroyed their silos. The Martin Company was able to improve the design with the Titan II. The RP-1/LOX combination was replaced by a room-temperature fuel whose oxidizer did not require cryogenic storage. The same first stage rocket engines were used with some modifications. The diameter of the second stage was increased to match the first stage. The Titan II's hypergolic fuel and oxidizer ignited on contact, but they were highly toxic and corrosive liquids. The fuel was hydrazine and the oxidizer was nitrogen tetroxide.

There were several accidents in Titan II silos resulting in loss of life and/or serious injuries. In August 1965, 53 construction workers were killed when hydraulic fluid used in the Titan II caught fire in a missile silo northwest of Searcy, Arkansas. The liquid fuel missiles were prone to developing leaks of their toxic propellants. Nine airmen were killed at a site outside Rock, Kansas, in the late 1970s when a missile in its silo leaked propellant. Later, another site, at Potwin, Kansas, leaked fuel and was closed, but there were no fatalities. In September 1980, at another Titan II silo (374-7) near Damascus, Arkansas, a technician dropped a wrench that broke the skin of the missile. Leaking rocket fuel ignited and blew the 8,000 lb nuclear warhead out of the silo. It landed harmlessly several hundred feet away. [ [http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,952781,00.html "Light on the Road to Damascus"] "Time" magazine, 29 September 1980 accessed 12 September 2006] This marked the beginning of the end for the Titan II as an ICBM. The 54 Titan II's were replaced in the U.S. arsenal by 50 MX "Peacekeeper" solid-fuel rocket missiles in late 1980s. 54 Titan IIs had been fielded along with some 1000 Minutemen from the mid-1960s through the mid-1980s. Most of the decommissioned Titan II ICBMs were refurbished and used for Air Force space launch vehicles, with a perfect launch success record.

Current status of Titans

As of 2006, the Titan family of rockets is obsolete. The high cost of using hydrazine and nitrogen tetroxide, along with the special care that was needed due to their toxicity, proved too much compared to the higher-performance liquid hydrogen or RP-1-fueled vehicles, with a liquid oxygen oxidizer. The current owners of the Titan line (Lockheed-Martin) decided to extend its Atlas family of rockets instead of the more expensive Titans, along with joint ventures to sell launches on the Russian Proton and the new Boeing-built Delta IV class of medium and heavy-lift launch vehicles. The next-to-last Titan was launched successfully from Cape Canaveral on 29 April 2005. The final Titan launched successfully from Vandenberg AFB on 19 October 2005, carrying a secret payload for the National Reconnaissance Office. There are approximately twenty Titan IIs at AMARC in Tucson, Arizona set to be scrapped or used as monuments. [ [http://cgi.govliquidation.com/auction/view?id=1650637&convertTo=USD Government Liquidation ] ]

A replica of a Titan II rocket is the centerpiece of the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center aerospace museum in Hutchinson, Kansas.


:"For the specifications, please see the articles on each variant."


External links

* [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MuJqCdaTS7U Video of a Titan II missile launch]
* [http://www.sonicbomb.com/v2.php?vid=military/titanl.wmv&id=219&ttitle=Titan%20ICBM Video of a Titan I missile launch]
* [http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap051027.html Photo of the last Titan launch] , at the APOD archive. See also
* [http://www.fas.org/spp/military/program/launch/titan.htm Titan missiles & variations]
* [http://www.encyclopediaofarkansas.net/encyclopedia/entry-detail.aspx?entryID=2543 Explosion at 374-7]

ee also

*Titan Missile Museum

* Titan I - II - III - IIIB - IV - IVB
* List of missiles

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