Titan IV
The Titan IV family of space boosters were used by the U.S. Air Force
United States Air Force
The United States Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the American uniformed services. Initially part of the United States Army, the USAF was formed as a separate branch of the military on September 18, 1947 under the National Security Act of...

. They were launched
Rocket launch
A rocket launch is the takeoff phase of the flight of a rocket. Launches for orbital spaceflights, or launches into interplanetary space, are usually from a fixed location on the ground, but may also be from a floating platform such as the San Marco platform, or the Sea Launch launch...

 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station
Cape Canaveral Air Force Station
Cape Canaveral Air Force Station is an installation of the United States Air Force Space Command's 45th Space Wing, headquartered at nearby Patrick Air Force Base. Located on Cape Canaveral in the state of Florida, CCAFS is the primary launch head of America's Eastern Range with four launch pads...

, Florida, and Vandenberg Air Force Base
Vandenberg Air Force Base
Vandenberg Air Force Base is a United States Air Force Base, located approximately northwest of Lompoc, California. It is under the jurisdiction of the 30th Space Wing, Air Force Space Command ....

, California. At the time of its introduction, the Titan IV was the "largest unmanned space booster used by the Air Force."

The Titan IV was the last of the Titan family of rockets
Titan (rocket family)
Titan was a family of U.S. expendable rockets used between 1959 and 2005. A total of 368 rockets of this family were launched, including all the Project Gemini manned flights of the mid-1960s...

. It was retired in 2005 due to its high cost of operation. The final launch (B-30) from Cape Canaveral AFS occurred on April 29, 2005, and the final launch from Vandenberg AFB occurred on October 19, 2005.

Lockheed Martin Space Systems
Lockheed Martin Space Systems
Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company is one of the four major business divisions of Lockheed Martin. It is headquartered in Denver, Colorado with additional sites in Sunnyvale, California; Newtown, Pennsylvania; Huntsville, Alabama; and elsewhere in the US and UK...

 built the Titan IVs near Denver, Colorado, under contract to the government
Federal government of the United States
The federal government of the United States is the national government of the constitutional republic of fifty states that is the United States of America. The federal government comprises three distinct branches of government: a legislative, an executive and a judiciary. These branches and...



The Titan IV was developed to provide assured capability to launch Space Shuttle
Space Shuttle
The Space Shuttle was a manned orbital rocket and spacecraft system operated by NASA on 135 missions from 1981 to 2011. The system combined rocket launch, orbital spacecraft, and re-entry spaceplane with modular add-ons...

–class payloads for the Air Force. The Titan IV could be launched with no upper stage
Multistage rocket
A multistage rocket is a rocket that usestwo or more stages, each of which contains its own engines and propellant. A tandem or serial stage is mounted on top of another stage; a parallel stage is attached alongside another stage. The result is effectively two or more rockets stacked on top of or...

, or either of two upper stages, the IUS (Inertial Upper Stage)
Inertial Upper Stage
The Inertial Upper Stage , originally known as the Interim Upper Stage, is a two-stage solid-fueled booster rocket developed by the U.S...

, and the Centaur rocket
Centaur (rocket stage)
Centaur is a rocket stage designed for use as the upper stage of space launch vehicles. Centaur boosts its satellite payload to geosynchronous orbit or, in the case of an interplanetary space probe, to or near to escape velocity...

 upper stage.

The Titan IV was made up of two large solid-fuel rocket boosters and a two-stage liquid-fueled core. The two storable liquid fuel core stages used Aerozine 50
Aerozine 50
Aerozine 50 is a 50/50 mix of hydrazine and unsymmetrical dimethylhydrazine . Originally developed in the late 1950s by Aerojet General Corporation as a storable, high-energy, hypergolic fuel for the Titan II ICBM rocket engines, Aerozine continues in wide use as a rocket fuel, typically with...

 fuel and nitrogen tetroxide oxidizer. These propellants are hypergolic (ignite on contact) and are liquids at room temperature, so no tank insulation is needed. This allows the launcher to be stored in a ready state for extended periods. However, both propellants are extremely toxic.

The Titan IV could be launched from either coast: SLC-40 or 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station near Cocoa Beach, FL and at SLC-4E
Vandenberg AFB Space Launch Complex 4
Space Launch Complex 4 , was a launch site at Vandenberg Air Force Base, used by Atlas and Titan rockets between 1963 and 2005. It consisted of two separate launch pads, SLC-4W and SLC-4E, which were formerly designated PALC2-3 and PALC2-4 respectively. Both pads were originally built for use by...

, at Vandenberg Air Force Base launch sites sixty miles north of Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara, California
Santa Barbara is the county seat of Santa Barbara County, California, United States. Situated on an east-west trending section of coastline, the longest such section on the West Coast of the United States, the city lies between the steeply-rising Santa Ynez Mountains and the Pacific Ocean...

 in California. Choice of launch site depended on mission parameters and mission goals.


The Titan rocket family
Titan (rocket family)
Titan was a family of U.S. expendable rockets used between 1959 and 2005. A total of 368 rockets of this family were launched, including all the Project Gemini manned flights of the mid-1960s...

 was established in October 1955 when the Air Force awarded the Glenn L. Martin Company
Glenn L. Martin Company
The Glenn L. Martin Company was an American aircraft and aerospace manufacturing company that was founded by the aviation pioneer Glenn L. Martin. The Martin Company produced many important aircraft for the defense of the United States and its allies, especially during World War II and the Cold War...

 (now part of Lockheed Martin
Lockheed Martin
Lockheed Martin is an American global aerospace, defense, security, and advanced technology company with worldwide interests. It was formed by the merger of Lockheed Corporation with Martin Marietta in March 1995. It is headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, in the Washington Metropolitan Area....

) a contract to build an intercontinental ballistic missile
Intercontinental ballistic missile
An intercontinental ballistic missile is a ballistic missile with a long range typically designed for nuclear weapons delivery...

SM-68 Titan
The SM-68 Titan was the designation for two American intercontinental ballistic missiles, which were members of the Titan family of rockets...

). It became known as the Titan I
Titan I
The Martin Marietta SM-68A/HGM-25A Titan I was the United States' first multistage ICBM . Incorporating the latest design technology when designed and manufactured, the Titan I provided an additional nuclear deterrent to complement the U.S. Air Force's SM-65 Atlas missile...

, the nation's first two-stage ICBM, and replaced the Atlas ICBM as the second underground, vertically stored, silo-based ICBM. Both stages of the Titan I used liquid oxygen
Liquid oxygen
Liquid oxygen — abbreviated LOx, LOX or Lox in the aerospace, submarine and gas industries — is one of the physical forms of elemental oxygen.-Physical properties:...

 and RP-1
RP-1 is a highly refined form of kerosene outwardly similar to jet fuel, used as a rocket fuel. Although having a lower specific impulse than liquid hydrogen , RP-1 is cheaper, can be stored at room temperature, is far less of an explosive hazard and is far denser...

 as propellants. A subsequent version of the Titan family, the Titan II, was similar to the Titan I, but was much more powerful. Designated as LGM-25C, the Titan II was the largest missile developed for the USAF at that time. The Titan II had newly developed engines which used Aerozine 50 and nitrogen tetroxide as fuel and oxidizer.

Titan III
Titan III
The Titan IIIC was a space booster used by the United States Air Force. It was launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, FL., and Vandenberg Air Force Base, CA. It was planned to be used as a launch vehicle in the cancelled Dyna-Soar and Manned Orbiting Laboratory programs...

 development began in 1961 with the Titan IIIA. Years later, the Titan IVB evolved from the Titan III family and is similar to the Titan 34D. The last Titan IVA was launched in August 1998. The first Titan IVB flew on February 23, 1997. The Titan IVB was an upgraded rocket having a new guidance system, flight termination system, ground checkout system, solid rocket motor upgrade and a 25 percent increase in thrust capability.

In the early 1980s, General Dynamics
General Dynamics
General Dynamics Corporation is a U.S. defense conglomerate formed by mergers and divestitures, and as of 2008 it is the fifth largest defense contractor in the world. Its headquarters are in West Falls Church , unincorporated Fairfax County, Virginia, in the Falls Church area.The company has...

 conceived of using a Space Shuttle to lift a Lunar Module
Apollo Lunar Module
The Apollo Lunar Module was the lander portion of the Apollo spacecraft built for the US Apollo program by Grumman to carry a crew of two from lunar orbit to the surface and back...

 into orbit and then launch a Titan IV rocket with an Apollo
Project Apollo
The Apollo program was the spaceflight effort carried out by the United States' National Aeronautics and Space Administration , that landed the first humans on Earth's Moon. Conceived during the Presidency of Dwight D. Eisenhower, Apollo began in earnest after President John F...

-type Service Module
Service module
A service module is a spacecraft compartment containing a variety of support systems used for spacecraft operations. Usually located in the uninhabited area of the spacecraft, the service module is jettisoned upon the completion of the mission, and usually burns up during atmospheric reentry...

 to rendezvous and dock—making a moonship for a lunar landing. The plan required the Space Shuttle and Titan IV to use aluminum-lithium
Al-Li alloys are a series of alloys of aluminium and lithium, often also including copper and zirconium. Since lithium is the least dense elemental metal these alloys are significantly less dense than aluminium...

 fuel tanks instead of aluminum to make a greater payload weight for takeoff. The original plan never came to fruition, but in the 1990s the Shuttle was converted to aluminum-lithium tanks to rendezvous with the highly inclined orbit of the Russian Mir
Mir was a space station operated in low Earth orbit from 1986 to 2001, at first by the Soviet Union and then by Russia. Assembled in orbit from 1986 to 1996, Mir was the first modular space station and had a greater mass than that of any previous spacecraft, holding the record for the...

 Space Station
Space station
A space station is a spacecraft capable of supporting a crew which is designed to remain in space for an extended period of time, and to which other spacecraft can dock. A space station is distinguished from other spacecraft used for human spaceflight by its lack of major propulsion or landing...

. The Titan IVB became obsolete with the advent of the Atlas V
Atlas V
Atlas V is an active expendable launch system in the Atlas rocket family. Atlas V was formerly operated by Lockheed Martin, and is now operated by the Lockheed Martin-Boeing joint venture United Launch Alliance...

 rocket and the Delta IV
Delta IV rocket
Delta IV is an active expendable launch system in the Delta rocket family. Delta IV uses rockets designed by Boeing's Integrated Defense Systems division and built in the United Launch Alliance facility in Decatur, Alabama. Final assembly is completed at the launch site by ULA...

 heavy rocket booster launch vehicles in 2005.

A Titan IVB launched NASA's Cassini Saturn orbiter on October 15, 1997.

General characteristics

  • Primary Function: Space booster
  • Builder: Lockheed-Martin Astronautics
  • Power Plant:
    • Stage 0 consisted of two solid-rocket motors.
    • Stage 1 used an LR87 liquid-propellant rocket engine.
    • Stage 2 used the LR91 liquid-propellant engine.
    • Optional upper stages included the Centaur
      Centaur (rocket stage)
      Centaur is a rocket stage designed for use as the upper stage of space launch vehicles. Centaur boosts its satellite payload to geosynchronous orbit or, in the case of an interplanetary space probe, to or near to escape velocity...

       and Inertial Upper Stage
      Inertial Upper Stage
      The Inertial Upper Stage , originally known as the Interim Upper Stage, is a two-stage solid-fueled booster rocket developed by the U.S...

  • Guidance System: A ring laser gyro
    Ring laser gyroscope
    A ring laser gyroscope consists of a ring laser having two counter-propagating modes over the same path in order to detect rotation. It operates on the principle of the Sagnac effect which shifts the nulls of the internal standing wave pattern in response to angular rotation...

     guidance system manufactured by Honeywell
    Honeywell International, Inc. is a major conglomerate company that produces a variety of consumer products, engineering services, and aerospace systems for a wide variety of customers, from private consumers to major corporations and governments....

  • Thrust:
    • Stage 0: Solid rocket motors provide 1.7 million pounds force (7.56 MN) per motor at liftoff.
    • Stage 1: LR87 provides an average of 548,000 pounds force (2.44 MN)
    • Stage 2: LR91 provides an average of 105,000 pounds force (467 kN).
    • Optional Centaur upper stage provides 33,100 pounds force (147 kN) and the Inertial Upper Stage provides up to 41,500 pounds force (185 kN).
  • Length: Up to 204 feet (62.17 m)
  • Lift Capability:
    • Can carry up to 47,800 pounds (21,680 kg) into a low-earth orbit
    • up to 12,700 pounds (5,760 kg) into a geosynchronous orbit
      Geosynchronous orbit
      A geosynchronous orbit is an orbit around the Earth with an orbital period that matches the Earth's sidereal rotation period...

       when launched from Cape Canaveral AFS, Fla.;
    • and up to 38,800 pounds (17,600 kg) into a low-earth
      Low Earth orbit
      A low Earth orbit is generally defined as an orbit within the locus extending from the Earth’s surface up to an altitude of 2,000 km...

       polar orbit
      Polar orbit
      A polar orbit is an orbit in which a satellite passes above or nearly above both poles of the body being orbited on each revolution. It therefore has an inclination of 90 degrees to the equator...

       when launched from Vandenberg AFB.
    • into geosynchronous orbit:
      • with Centaur upper stage 12,700 pounds (5,760 kg)
      • with Inertial Upper Stage 5,250 pounds (2,380 kg)
  • Payload fairing
    Payload fairing
    Payload fairing is one of the main components of a launch vehicle. The fairing protects the payload during the ascent against the impact of the atmosphere . More recently, an additional function is to maintain the cleanroom environment for precision instruments.Outside the atmosphere the fairing is...

    • Manufacturer: McDonnell Douglas Space Systems Co
    • Diameter: 16.7 ft
    • Length: 56, 66, 76, or 86 ft
    • Mass: 11,000, 12,000, 13,000, or 14,000 lb
    • Design: 3 sections, isogrid structure, Aluminum
  • Maximum Takeoff Weight: Approximately 2.2 million pounds (1,000,000 kg)
  • Cost: Approximately $250–350 million, depending on launch configuration.
  • Date deployed: June 1989
  • Launch sites: Cape Canaveral AFS, Fla., and Vandenberg AFB, Calif.

Program Cost

In 1990, the Titan IV Selected Acquisition Report estimated the total cost for the acquisition of 65 Titan IV vehicles over a period of 16 years to US$ 18.3 billion (inflation adjusted US$ billion in ).

External links

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