Titan (rocket family)

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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. Titans were part of the American intercontinental ballistic missile deterrent until the late 1980s, and lifted other American military payloads as well as civilian agency intelligence-gathering satellites. Titans also were used to send highly successful interplanetary scientific probes to Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune.


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. It was operational from early 1962 to mid-1965.

Titan II

Most of the Titan rockets were the Titan II ICBM and their civilian derivatives for NASA. The Titan II used a hypergolic combination of nitrogen tetroxide and Aerozine 50 (a 50/50 mix of hydrazine and UDMH) for its oxidizer and fuel.

The first Titan II guidance system was built by AC Spark Plug. It used an IMU (inertial measurement unit, a gyroscopic sensor) made by AC Spark Plug derived from original designs from MIT Draper Labs. The missile guidance computer (MGC) was the IBM ASC-15. When spares for this system became hard to obtain, it was replaced by a more modern guidance system, the Delco Universal Space Guidance System (USGS). The USGS used a Carousel IV IMU and a Magic 352 computer.[2]

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.[3]

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