- Covering the Past, Present and Future of
I Fact Sheet
Written and Edited by Cliff Lethbridge
Classification: Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile
Length: 98 feet
Diameter: 10 feet
Range: 8,000 miles
Under Weapons System 107A-2 (WS-107A-2), a development contract for an ICBM
surpassing the capabilities of the Atlas was granted to the Martin Company
(later Martin Marietta) in October, 1955. The company subsequently built a
virgin production facility in
The missile received an initial designation of SM-68. The name "Titan" after the Greek mythological father of Zeus was recommended for SM-68 by Martin Company public relations man Joe Rowland.
A pre-production version of the Titan ICBM was called Titan J, while a
version designed to be compatible with launch facilities at Vandenberg Air
Of course, the version of the missile which was ultimately deployed by the U.S. Air Force carried the name Titan I.
Inertial guidance originally intended for use on the Titan I was transferred to the Atlas program. Instead, a redesigned radio controlled guidance system from Western Electric, Sperry and Remington Rand Univac was employed.
Remington Rand Univac built groundbreaking digital technology computer components for the Titan I guidance system.
First stage propulsion for the Titan I was provided by an Aerojet engine with twin-gimbaled chambers each capable of providing 150,000 pounds of thrust at launch. The first stage engine was fed by liquid oxygen/RP-1 (kerosene) liquid fuel.
The first test launch of a Titan I occurred on February 6, 1959. For this flight, only an operational first stage was employed. A dummy second stage was ballasted with water.
The Titan I second stage was powered by an Aerojet engine which could produce an 80,000-pound thrust. Like the first stage, the Titan I second stage burned liquid oxygen/RP-1 (kerosene) liquid fuel.
The total vehicle could carry a four-megaton warhead which was housed inside an Avco re-entry vehicle.
Operational launch complexes for the Titan I may best be described as huge underground cities. Underground areas were enormously enlarged and included sophisticated radar guidance and power stations. Reaction time to launch a Titan I was about 20 minutes.
Rapid propellant loading systems and a high-speed hoist were employed.
Although the Titan I was designed to be lifted out of its silo prior to launch,
a test launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base,
The Titan I became operational at Lowry Air Force Base,
A total of six Strategic Air Command (SAC) Titan I squadrons were activated. Each squadron supported nine missiles, providing SAC with a total fleet of 54.
Two Titan I squadrons were deployed at Lowry Air Force Base,
The Titan I fleet was deactivated by 1966 in the wake of improved ICBM technology. The Titan I was never modified for space flight.
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