Launch of a Titan IVB launch vehicle. (USAF)
|Function||Heavy expendable launch system|
|Country of origin||United States|
|Cost per launch||$432 million (USD)|
|Height||44 m (144 ft)|
|Diameter||3.05 m (10 ft)|
|Mass||943,050 kg (2,079,060 lb)|
|21,680 kg (47,790 lb)|
|17,600 kg (38,800 lb)|
|5,760 kg (12,690 lb)|
|5,660 kg (12,470 lb)|
|Comparable||Atlas V, Delta IV-H|
|Launch sites||SLC-40/41, Cape Canaveral
SLC-4E, Vandenberg AFB
(IVA: 22, IVB: 17)
(IVA: 20, IVB: 15)
|Failures||4 (IVA: 2, IVB: 2)|
|First flight||IV-A: 14 June 1989
IV-B: 23 February 1997
|Last flight||IV-A: 12 August 1998
IV-B: 19 October 2005
|Boosters (IV-A) - UA1207|
|Engines||United Technologies UA1207|
|Thrust||14.234 MN (3,200,000 lbf)|
|Specific impulse||272 seconds (2667 N·s/kg)|
|Burn time||120 seconds|
|Boosters (IV-B) - USRM|
|Thrust||15.12 MN (3,400,000 lbf)|
|Specific impulse||286 seconds (2805 N·s/kg)|
|Burn time||140 seconds|
|Thrust||2,440 kN (548,000 lbf)|
|Specific impulse||302 seconds (2962 N·s/kg)|
|Burn time||164 seconds|
|Thrust||467 kN (105,000 lbf)|
|Specific impulse||316 seconds (3100 N·s/kg)|
|Burn time||223 seconds|
|Third Stage (Optional) - Centaur-G|
|Thrust||147 kN (33,100 lbf)|
|Specific impulse||444 seconds (4354 N·s/kg)|
|Burn time||625 seconds|
The Titan IV family (including the IVA and IVB) of space boosters were used by the U.S. Air Force. They were launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, and Vandenberg Air Force Base, 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. 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.
The Titan IV was developed to provide assured capability to launch Space Shuttle–class payloads for the Air Force. The Titan IV could be launched with no upper stage, or either of two upper stages, the IUS (Inertial Upper Stage), and the Centaur rocket 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 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, at Vandenberg Air Force Base launch sites 60 miles north of Santa Barbara in California. Choice of launch site depended on mission parameters and mission goals.
The Titan rocket family was established in October 1955 when the Air Force awarded the Glenn L. Martin Company (now part of Lockheed Martin) a contract to build an intercontinental ballistic missile (SM-68). It became known as the Titan I, the nation's first two-stage ICBM, and complemented the Atlas ICBM as the second underground, vertically stored, silo-based ICBM. Both stages of the Titan I used liquid oxygen and RP-1 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 therefore allowing the Titan II to be stored underground ready to launch.
The Titan IV was flown in a variety of configurations depending on the launch needs, including no upper stages, IUS stages, or Centaur stages.
Titan III development began in 1964 with the Titan IIIA. Years later, the Titan IVB evolved from the Titan III family and is similar to the Titan 34D. While the launcher family had had an extremely good reliability record in its first two decades, this began to change in the 1980s with the loss of a Titan 34D in 1985 followed by the disastrous explosion of another in 1986 due to a SRM failure.
In 1993, a Navy SIGNIT satellite was lost when a Titan IV was destroyed at T+100 seconds into the launch due to another SRM malfunction, ironically caused by procedures implemented after the 1986 accident to ensure improved SRM reliability. Repairs made to the third segment of the right SRM were not carried out properly, allowing hot gases to burn through the case and destroy the launch vehicle.
In 1997, a Titan IVB rocket launched Cassini–Huygens, a pair of probes sent to Saturn. It was the only civilian launch with a Titan IV rocket. Cassini is currently in orbit around Saturn, while Huygens landed on Titan on January 14, 2005.
1998 saw the worst accident when a launch of a Navy ELINT satellite from Cape Canaveral failed around 40 seconds into the flight. An electrical failure caused the Titan to suddenly pitch downward, the resulting aerodynamic stress causing one of the SRMs to separate. The onboard destruct system automatically triggered, blowing the launch vehicle to pieces in a spectacular explosion. The launch was the final launch of the Titan IVA, and was intended to be so prior to its explosion.
In 1988 and 1989, The R. M. Parsons Company designed and built a full scale steel tower and deflector facility, which was used to test the Titan IV Solid Rocket Motor Upgrade (SRMU). The launch and the effect of the SRMU thrust force on the space shuttle vehicle were modeled. To evaluate the magnitude of the thrust force, the SRMU was connected to the steel tower through load measurement systems and launched in-place. It was the first full scale test conducted to simulate the effects of the SRMU on the main space shuttle vehicle.
In the early 1980s, General Dynamics conceived of using a Space Shuttle to lift a Lunar Module into orbit and then launch a Titan IV rocket with an Apollo-type Service Module to rendezvous and dock—making a moonship for a lunar landing. The plan required the Space Shuttle and Titan IV to use aluminum-lithium 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 Space Station.
The Titan IVB became obsolete with the advent of the Atlas V rocket and the Delta IV heavy rocket booster launch vehicles in 2005. In 2014, the National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton, Ohio, began a project to restore a Titan IVB rocket. They hope to place the rocket on display in 2016.
- Primary Function: Space booster
- Builder: Lockheed-Martin Astronautics
- Power Plant:
- Guidance System: A ring laser gyro guidance system manufactured by Honeywell.
- 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 m)
- Lift Capability:
- Can carry up to 47,800 pounds (21,700 kg) into a low-earth orbit
- up to 12,700 pounds (5,800 kg) into a geosynchronous orbit when launched from Cape Canaveral AFS, Fla.;
- and up to 38,800 pounds (17,600 kg) into a low-earth polar orbit when launched from Vandenberg AFB.
- into geosynchronous orbit:
- with Centaur upper stage 12,700 pounds (5,800 kg)
- with Inertial Upper Stage 5,250 pounds (2,380 kg)
- Payload fairing:
- Manufacturer: McDonnell Douglas Space Systems Co
- Diameter: 16.7 feet (5.1 m)
- 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.
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$18.3 billion (inflation-adjusted US$ 33 billion in 2015).
|Date/Time (GMT)||Launch Site||S/N||Type||Payload||Outcome||Remarks|
|14 June 1989
|CCAFS LC-41||K-1||Titan-402A/IUS||DSP-14 (USA-39)||Successful|
|8 June 1990
|CCAFS LC-41||K-4||Titan-405A||USA-60 (NOSS)
|13 November 1990
|CCAFS LC-41||K-6||Titan-402A/IUS||DSP-15 (USA-65)||Successful|
|8 March 1991
|VAFB LC-4E||K-5||Titan-403A||USA-69 (Lacrosse)||Successful|
|8 November 1991
|VAFB LC-4E||K-8||Titan-403A||USA-74 (NOSS)
|28 November 1992
|VAFB LC-4E||K-3||Titan-404A||USA-86 (KH-11)||Successful|
|2 August 1993
|VAFB LC-4E||K-11||Titan-403A||NOSS x3
|Failure||SRM exploded at T+101s due to damage caused during maintenance on ground.|
|7 February 1994
|CCAFS LC-40||K-10||Titan-401A/Centaur||Milstar-1 (USA-99)||Successful|
|3 May 1994
|CCAFS LC-41||K-7||Titan-401A/Centaur||USA-103 (Trumpet)||Successful|
|27 August 1994
|CCAFS LC-41||K-9||Titan-401A/Centaur||USA-105 (Mercury)||Successful|
|22 December 1994
|CCAFS LC-40||K-14||Titan-402A/IUS||DSP-17 (USA-107)||Successful|
|14 May 1995
|CCAFS LC-40||K-23||Titan-401A/Centaur||USA-110 (Orion)||Successful|
|10 July 1995
|CCAFS LC-41||K-19||Titan-401A/Centaur||USA-112 (Trumpet)||Successful|
|6 November 1995
|CCAFS LC-40||K-21||Titan-401A/Centaur||Milstar-2 (USA-115)||Successful|
|5 December 1995
|VAFB LC-4E||K-15||Titan-404A||USA-116 (KH-11)||Successful|
|24 April 1996
|CCAFS LC-41||K-16||Titan-401A/Centaur||USA-118 (Mercury)||Successful|
|12 May 1996
|VAFB LC-4E||K-22||Titan-403A||USA-120 (NOSS)
|3 July 1996
|CCAFS LC-40||K-2||Titan-405A||USA-125 (SDS)||Successful|
|20 December 1996
|VAFB LC-4E||K-13||Titan-404A||USA-129 (KH-11)||Successful||NROL-2|
|23 February 1997
|CCAFS LC-40||B-24||Titan-402B/IUS||DSP-18 (USA-130)||Successful|
|15 October 1997
|24 October 1997
|VAFB LC-4E||A-18||Titan-403A||USA-133 (Lacrosse)||Successful||NROL-3|
|8 November 1997
|CCAFS LC-41||A-17||Titan-401A/Centaur||USA-136 (Trumpet)||Successful||NROL-4|
|9 May 1998
|CCAFS LC-40||B-25||Titan-401B/Centaur||USA-139 (Orion)||Successful||NROL-6|
|12 August 1998
|CCAFS LC-41||A-20||Titan-401A/Centaur||NROL-7 (Mercury)||Failure||Guidance system short-circuited at T+40s due to frayed wire, vehicle lost control and destroyed by range safety.|
|9 April 1999
|CCAFS LC-41||B-27||Titan-402B/IUS||DSP-19 (USA-142)||Failure||Spacecraft failed to separate from IUS stage.|
|30 April 1999
|CCAFS LC-40||B-32||Titan-401B/Centaur||Milstar-3 (USA-143)||Failure||Centaur software database error caused lost of attitude control, insertion burns done incorrectly. Satellite deployed into useless orbit.|
|22 May 1999
|VAFB LC-4E||B-12||Titan-404B||USA-144 (Misty)||Successful||NROL-8|
|8 May 2000
|CCAFS LC-40||B-29||Titan-402B/IUS||DSP-20 (USA-149)||Successful|
|17 August 2000
|VAFB LC-4E||B-28||Titan-403B||USA-152 (Lacrosse)||Successful||NROL-11|
|27 February 2001
|CCAFS LC-40||B-41||Titan-401B/Centaur||Milstar-4 (USA-157)||Successful|
|6 August 2001
|CCAFS LC-40||B-31||Titan-402B/IUS||DSP-21 (USA-159)||Successful|
|5 October 2001
|VAFB LC-4E||B-34||Titan-404B||USA-161 (KH-11)||Successful||NROL-14|
|16 January 2002
|CCAFS LC-40||B-38||Titan-401B/Centaur||Milstar-5 (USA-164)||Successful|
|8 April 2003
|CCAFS LC-40||B-35||Titan-401B/Centaur||Milstar-6 (USA-169)||Successful|
|9 September 2003
|CCAFS LC-40||B-36||Titan-401B/Centaur||USA-171 (Orion)||Successful||NROL-19|
|14 February 2004
|CCAFS LC-40||B-39||Titan-402B/IUS||DSP-22 (USA-176)||Successful|
|30 April 2005
|CCAFS LC-40||B-30||Titan-405B||USA-182 (Lacrosse)||Successful||NROL-16|
|19 October 2005
|VAFB LC-4E||B-26||Titan-404B||USA-186 (KH-11)||Successful||NROL-20|
- "Lockheed Martin's Last Titan IV Successfully Delivers National Security Payload to Space". October 19, 2005.
- "Space and Missile System Center Mission and Organization" (PDF). Space and Missile Systems Center's History Office. Retrieved September 20, 2008.
- Titan 4B and Cape Canaveral
- Titan 4B and Vandenberg Air Force Base
- "Titan IV". USAF Air University. 1996.
- "Astronomy Picture of the Day: 2005 October 27 - The Last Titan". Antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov. Retrieved 2008-09-20.
- Titan 4
- Titan 403A
- Titan Centaur 401A
- Chalhoub, Michel S., (1990) "Dynamic Analysis, Design, and Execution of a Full Scale SRMU Test Stand," Parsons Engineering Report No. 027-90
- Michael Timothy Dunn (Dec 1992). "Analysis of Titan IV launch responsiveness" (PDF). Air Force Institute of Technology. Retrieved 2011-07-08.
- Kingsbury, Nancy R. (September 1991). "TITAN IV LAUNCH VEHICLE --- Restructured Program Could Reduce Fiscal Year 1992 Funding Needs" (PDF). US General Accounting Office.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Titan IV 4B-33.|
- USAF Titan IVB Fact Sheet
- Titan IV Ignition Videos[dead link]
- Cassini Huygens Aboard a Titan IV-B Launch Videos
- Early Lunar Access