Selasa, 26 Agustus 2008

HGM 25 Titan I

HGM 25 Titan I

S/N 4628

Nobody at California Polytechnic College in San Luis Obspo, California, could recall exactly how and when their huge Titan I rocket complex showed up, but it was about 30 years ago. Since that time the relic had laid unceremoniously outside of the Aeronautical Engineering building, slowly being etched away by the salty mists from Morro Bay that visit nightly.

The Titan 1 program began in May of 1955 with the first successful launch three years later. The first launch of the Titan 1 from Vandenberg AFB was on 3 May, 1961 and the last Titan 1 launched from Vandenberg AFB was on 5 March, 1965. The Titan was the second Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) of the USAF's first multi-stage design and the largest ICBM ever deployed by the United States — a principal deterrent during the Cold War. The Titan 1 was followed by the — Titan II which went on to serve as a launch vehicle for NASA's Gemini manned space program from the mid-1960s through the '70s. Deactivation of the Titan program came in 1984. This particular Titan 1 was likely was a left-over from the 395th Missile Training Squadron at Vandenberg AFB near Lompoc, where several were converted from nuclear missiles to space launchers.

The missiles were stored in widely dispersed hardened underground silos. After fueling, the Titan 1 had to be lifted out of the silo for launch. The total production of the Titan 1 was about 160 missiles, of which more than 60 were launched for tests and training. None were ever used during aggression towards an enemy. The Titan II became operational in 1963 and the Titan 1 was phased out very rapidly between January and April, 1965, when all deployed Titan 1's (54 missiles) were retired from service.

Cal Poly was more than glad to get rid of it, and we were equally glad to accept it. It is presently set upright in front of the museum hangar, both as a landmark and as a symbol of the pioneer space programs, but minus its center section — zoning laws and prevailing winds won't permit its full height. That part of the original rocket which held its liquid fuel cells (which held Lox/Kerosene) had deterioriated beyond economic restoration.

Once a mighty creature of the sky, Titan I and II served its original purpose as a peacekeeper, but outlived its usefulness and now has earned a place of honor in our nation's history. This is the only known one existing on the West Coast.

Manufactured by Glenn L. Martin Co, (now Lockheed Martin) Marietta GA.

Powerplants: 1st Stage: 329,999 lbf thrust at sea level
2nd Stage: 80,801 lbf thrust at 250,000 feet altitude
Length: 84' 0" (originally)
Diameter: Stage 1 - 10' 0"
Stage 2 - 7' 5"
Weight: 150 tons including warhead
Speed: c.18,030 mph
Range: 6300 nautical miles
Warhead: nuclear capable
Launch silo: 55' diameter by 146' deep

Titan Is served as the U.S. Air Force's most powerful intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) until they were withdrawn from service in 1984.

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