Lockheed Martin Rolls Out Last Titan Launch Vehicle
DENVER, CO, April 11th, 2002 -- In a ceremony heralding the historic success of AmericaÂ¿s most powerful rocket system, Lockheed Martin is shipping the last of its venerable Titan IV launch vehicles from the companyÂ¿s Denver, Colo., facilities to launch sites at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., and Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. With over a thousand of its employees and representatives from the U.S. Dept. of Defense and the U.S. Air Force, the company celebrated the hallmark success of the United StatesÂ¿ most powerful expendable launch vehicle system and is preparing to launch the final Titan II and Titan IV missions. The last Titan IV mission is scheduled to boost a classified payload for the U.S. Air Force in 2003. The Titan launch system is designed and produced by Lockheed Martin at its facilities near Denver, Colo., and began as the Titan Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM), which first launched in February 1959. During the more than 40 years and over 350 Titan launches since that first flight, Titan has become one of Lockheed MartinÂ¿s most recognizable programs and it provides the U.S Air ForceÂ¿s most important launch capability to boost critical national security payloads. Since its inception, the Titan I has evolved to the Titan II ICBM, the Titan III space launch vehicle and ultimately the Titan IV, which today is the nationÂ¿s most powerful unmanned launch system.
Â¿It is almost impossible to put into words the sense of pride that each one of us feels about the Titan program, what it has meant to all of us at Lockheed Martin, and the critical role it continues to serve for the U.S Air Force and our nation,Â¿ said G. Thomas Marsh, president and general manager of Lockheed Martin Space Systems - Astronautics Operations. Â¿In a way, it is sad to see this amazing rocket system approach the final phase of its service, but it is extremely gratifying to know that many of its capabilities have been incorporated into our next-generation launch vehicle - the Atlas V. And there is no question in my mind that the Atlas will continue to be AmericaÂ¿s most successful launch vehicle for the future.Â¿
The production line is completed, but Titan still has several critical missions remaining to launch. The teams at Cape Canaveral and Vandenberg have five more Titan IVs and three more Titan II vehicles to launch before the last mission is flown in 2003. Every one of these launches will carry a critical national security mission.
"Today's event represents the end of an era. But that does not mean it is the end of the extraordinary relationship we have with the Lockheed Martin team,Â¿ said Col. Mike Dunn, director of launch programs for the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center. Â¿We still have missions to complete and other programs to think about. The bottom line is, when it comes down to it, Lockheed Martin has performed a mission critical service for the war fighter in the field and every American citizen. Our friends at Lockheed Martin Space Systems will undoubtedly be involved in supporting those missions in the future. They have certainly lived up to the motto that mission success is our number one priority."
In addition to launching important national security payloads such as the Milstar satellite system and other reconnaissance satellites for the U.S. Air Force and Dept. of Defense, Titan also has launched some of the nationÂ¿s most historic and history-changing missions such as the Gemini manned missions for NASA in the 1960s, the Viking missions which landed successfully on Mars in the mid-1970s, and the Voyager I and II spacecraft which were launched aboard Titan in 1977.
Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, headquartered in Denver, Colo., is one of the major operating units of Lockheed Martin Corporation. Space Systems designs, develops, tests, manufactures and operates a variety of advanced technology systems for military, civil and commercial customers. Chief products include a full-range of space launch systems, ground systems, remote sensing and communications satellites for commercial and government customers, advanced space observatories and interplanetary spacecraft, fleet ballistic missiles and missile defense systems.