Recently in the Titan I Category


"Imagine a young engineer examining an artifact from the Apollo era that helped send people on humankind's first venture to another world. The engineer has seen diagrams of the rocket engine. She has even viewed old videos of the immense tower-like Saturn V rocket launching to the moon. Like any curious explorer, she wants to see how it works for herself. She wonders if this old engine still has the "juice." Like a car mechanic who investigates an engine of a beloved antique automobile, she takes apart the engine piece by piece and refurbishes it. This is exactly what a small team of young NASA engineers did. The engineers, who have been trained in fields from rocket propulsion to materials science, took apart and refurbished parts from Saturn V F-1 engines--the most powerful American rocket engines ever built. Why resurrect an Apollo-era rocket engine? The answer is simple: to mine the secrets of the F-1 -- an engine that last flew before these engineers were born -- and use it as inspiration for creating new advanced, affordable propulsion systems." More

Where is McMoon's?

McMoons is located here at NASA Ames Research Park at Moffett Field, CA. Next to our building (Building 596) is a 50 year old Titan 1 ICBM that we're helping students to restore, upgrade, and transform into a teaching tool. We like to make old stuff work.

More images below

Titan 1 #61-4492 (apparently) arriving at NASA Ames Research Center Building N242 in 1969. Photo courtesy of Arthur LeBrun. Click on image to enlarge.

Building N242 as it appeared on 22 June 2011

As was noted in an earlier post, "The Origin of The Titan 1 at NASA Ames", "The Titan I was brought to Ames in 1969, along with an Atlas missile, and they were among the last items tested in the Structural Dynamics Laboratory (N242).  The SDL was built to study buffeting during atmospheric ascent." After posting a requests for information about Titan 1 #61-4492 on the missile_talk group, Arthur LeBrun was kind enough to send along 3 high resolution photos of the Titan and the Atlas rockets being moved at building N242.

Additional photos below.

Nancy Conrad visited McMoon's today at NASA Ames Research Center and stopped to have a look at the Titan 1 ICBM we are restoring/upgrading. Nancy's husband, legendary astronaut Pete Conrad, flew on a Titan II - twice - on Gemini 5 and 11. We are enlisting students in our restoration project - so you know that Nancy is interested! Nancy is at Ames for the Conrad Foundation Spirit of Innovation Awards which start tomorrow. Larger image

Editor's note: I just bought this patch on eBay. Very nicely done. Our Titan 1, Titan 61-4492, was based at Larson AFB, site 568-C2, near Moses Lake Washington in 1962.

Last year we posted a Google Earth image of Davis Monthan Air Force Base and the Aircraft Maintenance and Regeneration Center (AMARC, A-mark) or "boneyard" where unused military aircraft are stored, restored and/or decommissioned. in Arizona you can see a bunch of Titan II ICBMs lying out in the sun. A newer image has been posted - and it looks like all the Titan IIs have been moved and/or cut up for scrap.

Earlier images below

Martin Marietta SM-68A/HGM-25A Titan I

Entering operational service in 1962, Titan I was the United States' first multistage ICBM (Intercontinental Ballistic Missile). Incorporating the latest design technology, Titan provided an additional nuclear deterrent to complement the U.S. Air Force's Atlas missile. Though the SM-68A was operational for only three years, it was an important step in building the Air Force's strategic nuclear forces. 

Titan Washing

Keith Cowing using a power washer to get 40 years of dirt off of a Titan 1 ICBM located next to Building 596 at NASA Ames Research Center on 16 July 2010.

Editor's note: the National Air and Space Museum's Udvar Hazy Center has a Titan 1 first stage propulsion system on display. I visited it today and took some photos. Several components are missing from our first stage and this should help us identify what they are. Oh yes, that is Space Shuttle Enterprise in the background. In the film "Star Trek First Contact", the first warpship "Phoenix" is launched on a Titan II ICBM and intercepts the starship Enterprise ... just a coincidence, I guess.

More photos below - click on images to enlarge.

SpaceTECH's Titan 1

SpaceTECH has an Titan 1 that they use for training purposes at the Cape Canaveral Spaceport. Images can be found here. Another photo can be found here.

What is most probably this same Titan 1 set up as an exhibit in Cocoa Beach, FL. Click on image to enlarge

Testing Our Titan 1 - 47 Years Ago

As is the case with any operational weapons system, Titan launch crews were required to stay proficient on the operation of their hardware. And the hardware itself had to periodically checked.

Titan 1 61-4492 was no different.

47 years ago, on 27 May 1963, Titan 61-4492 was put through a countdown exercise at Larson AFB for crew training purposes. The rocket was fueled and taken through the standard countdown sequence until a short time before launch would normally occur. In this case, the countdown progressed for 17 minutes.

The following memo (a "U-86 report") was issued to report the event.

Titan 1 Second Stage in Hangar U. USAF photo issued on 5 August 1958 by the Air Force Missile Test Center, Patrick AFB, FL. Click on image to enlarge.

More Photos below

Joel Powell, author of "Go For Launch: An Illustrated History of Cape Canaveral," sent this note regarding an image taken on 22 October 1977: "Keith: Art LeBrun and myself have followed your efforts to restore Titan 4492 at Ames with fascination (I understand that you were very impressed with Art's photos of 4492 and the Atlas from 40 years ago). Let me add an air of mystery to the story. I found the attached 'tourist' photo off 4492 and an Atlas at Ames through a Yahoo image search (Image source)."

There is another Titan 1, in similar condition to our rocket, #61-4497 (our rocket is #61-4492), located on the grounds of the Illinois Veterans Home at Quincy, Illinois. The image above is from a Google Maps image. You can see a close up photo of the rocket here.

Titan 1 Post-cleaning Photos

Keith Cowing standing in front of the newly cleaned second stage.

Keith Cowing standing inside the partially cleaned first stage.

Click on images to enlarge

Equipment tag inside the forward end of the Titan 1's second stage close to where the warhead was once attached.

Matt Reyes standing inside the forward portion of the second stage at the point where Titan 1's warhead was once attached. Behind him is the Second Stage Fuel (RP-1) tank.

More photos below

Google map link. Our Titan 1 was based at Larson AFB when it was an operational ICBM.

Titan 1 Arrives at Building 596

The Titan 1 has arrived at Building 596 at NASA Ames Research Center. Photos by Matt Reyes (via Twitpic) show the process of loading things onto the transport trucks. Photo (above) by Dennis Wingo shows the final installation.

Moving The Titan 1 to its New Home

As the current plan goes, the move of an aging Titan 1 ICBM from its current location at NASA ARC to its new home next to Building 596 starts around 7:30 AM PST on 18 March 2010. This Titan 1 was brought to ARC in 1969 and was used in a variety of tests to study buffeting of launch vehicles during atmospheric ascent. The rocket has been sitting outside since the early 1980s as an exhibit next to the (former) Ames visitor's center.

A team has been assembled that will restore this rocket and upgrade it to serve as an educational tool as well as a smallsat payload integration testbed - much in keeping with its original appearance at Ames 41 years ago. This project will be undertaken at NASA Ames Research Center at Building 596 aka "McMoons" where the Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project (LOIRP) has been under way for 2 years.

The Titan 1 team includes SpaceRef Interactive Inc., SkyCorp Inc, and the Challenger Center for Space Science Education. The intent is to involve a wide range of local groups and citizens of all ages in this project in a crowd-sourced, participatory exploration format.

As the current plan goes, the move of our Titan 1 from its current location to its new home next to Building 596 starts around 7:30 AM PST on 18 March 2010. This map (click to enlarge) shows the route that the Titan 1's two stages will take. Once loaded onto its transport, it will head south on R.T. Jones Road. Then it will take a left and go through Gate 18 and head straight on King Road. It will then go right around the back side of Building N243 and then head through the back gate of N243 onto Bushnell Rd. It will then veer left onto Bushnell Rd., enter the Hangar 1 site through the northeast gate onto Sayre Ave, and head past Hangar 1. After it passes Hangar 1 it will veer right around the south end of Hangar 1. and exit the West Gates on to Westcoat Road. It will then head west and turn left into the back parking lot of Building 596 ("McMoons").

We'd love to have folks Twitter if they see our Titan go past them - use #titan1 to tag if you do post a Tweet or a picture. You can also email images to kcowing - at - spaceref.com and we'll post them here.

According to Glenn E. Bugos, Ph.D. from the NASA Ames History Office: "The Titan I was brought to Ames in 1969, along with an Atlas missile, and they were among the last items tested in the Structural Dynamics Laboratory (N242).  The SDL was built to study buffeting during atmospheric ascent.  A photo ran in the Astrogram (24 December 1970), of the Atlas moving into the vacuum tower.  The tests, on active vibration control, were run by Jerome Pearson, with help on the mounting from Bruno J. Gambucci.  Both worked in Code SVS, the Structural Dynamics Branch run by Al Erickson and Henry Cole, which was part of the Vehicle Environment Division run by Al Seiff and David Reese.  Pearson and Gambucci published one paper on the set up of the tests.

We do not know where Ames got the missile.  Ames did a variety of studies related to the Titan in the early 1960s--notably Don Buell's work in the 12 foot on wind gusts around the upright missile, and work on the POGO phenomenon for the Gemini program.  But all of that work was done on scale models; there was no full scale Titan here before 1969.  The Titan I was retired from active service in 1965, and the USAF likely considered this one scrap.  Pearson and Gambucci's test was paid for by the Space Shuttle program office.

As early as November 1974 the two Titan I stages were on static display with the Atlas in the parking lot between N204, N237 and N206.  The Atlas had been dented during the tests, and it was not kept  on display very long.  Sometime between 1980 and 1984 the Titan was moved to the static display area of the then-new Ames Visitor Center."

Dr. Bugos also incuded a copy of this paper which describes how this Titan 1 was originally used at Ames as part of a test stystem to simulate rocket launches.

"A Unique Model, Suspension, and Excitation System for Launch Vehicle Dynamics Studies", TMX 67397, Jerome Pearson and Bruno J. Gambucci, Ames Research Center, NASA. Abstract: "A description is given of a flexible model, feedback-controlled suspension, and modified electromagnetic shaker for use in launch vehicle dynamics studies. Test results indicate the effectiveness of the system in simulating the launch phase of liquid-fuel vehicles. Tests are now under way to develop a large vehicle system, using an Atlas and a Titan 1 with an 89,000 Newton (20,000 lb) force thruster."

Update: According to a May 2010 posting on the Yahoo missile_talk discussion group, our Titan 1, 61-4492 (SM-65) was based at Larson AFB in Washington.

Update: Photos of Titan 1 #61-4492 Arriving at NASA Ames in 1969

Hacking a Titan 1 ICBM

This a Titan ICBM 1 first and second stage in the location where they have sat neglected for 40 years. We are going to restore this rocket and upgrade it to serve as an educational tool as well as a smallsat payload integration testbed. This project will be undertaken at NASA Ames Research Center at Bldg 596 aka "McMoons" where the Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project (LOIRP) has been underway for 2 years. The rocket is slated to be moved to its new location on Thursday 18 March. More photos and video

Video and Photos: Titan 1 at NASA Ames

This a Titan ICBM 1 first and second stage in the location where they have sat neglected for 40 years. We are going to restore this rocket and upgrade it to serve as an educational tool as well as a smallsat payload integration testbed. This project will be undertaken at NASA Ames Research Center at Bldg 596 aka "McMoons" where the Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project (LOIRP) has been underway for 2 years. The rocket is slated to be moved to its new location on Thursday 18 March.

Titan 1 first and second stage in the location where they have sat for 40 years.

More photos below

Coming Soon: Rocket Hacking

Titan I (HGM-25A ) Overview

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Titan I was the United States' first true multistage ICBM. It was the first in a series of Titan rockets, but was unique among them in that it used LOX and RP-1 as its propellants, while the later Titan versions all used storeable fuels instead.

The program began in January 1955 and took shape in parallel with the Atlas (SM-65/HGM-16) intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). The Air Force's goal in launching the Titan program was twofold: one, to serve as a backup should Atlas fail; and two, to develop a large, two-stage missile with a longer range and bigger payload that also could serve as a booster for space flights.

The Titan I HGM-25A, initially called the SM-68 - originally it was the XB-68 before the Air Force began designating missiles as SM for strategic missile and TM for tactical missiles. The XB-68 designation was originally assigned to a Martin supersonic bomber concept that was canceled during the design phase.

Produced by the Glenn L. Martin Company (which became "The Martin Company" in 1957), Titan I was a two-stage, liquid-fueled missile. The first stage delivered 300,000 pounds thrust (1,330 kN) of thrust, the second stage 80,000 pounds thrust (356 kN). The fact that Titan I, like Atlas, burned RP-1 and LOX meant that the oxidizer had to be loaded onto the missile just before launch from the underground storage tank, and the missile raised above ground on the enormous elevator system, exposing the missile for some time before launch. The complexity of the system combined with its relatively slow reaction time - fifteen minutes to load, raise and launch the first missile, made it a less effective weapon system.

Titan I utilized radio command guidance. The inertial guidance system originally intended for the missile was instead eventually deployed in the Atlas E missile. (The Atlas series was intended to be the first generation of American ICBMs and Titan II (as opposed to Titan I) was to be the second generation deployed). An inertial guidance system would have allowed Titan I, once launched, to guide itself independently to a pre-programmed target. It would not have relied upon continuous radio command signals from a ground location, or upon the ability to receive and react to such signals.

Titan I also was the first true multi-stage (two or more stages) design. Whereas in Atlas, all rocket engines were ignited at launch (including two small thrust vernier engines) due to the unreliable nature of the engines[citation needed], Titan I's second stage engines were reliable enough to be ignited at altitude, after separation from the first stage booster; and its fuel tanks, engines, launch interface equipment, and launch pad thrust ring. Titan I's ability to jettison this mass prior to the ignition of the second stage, meant that Titan I had a much greater total range (and a greater range per pound of second stage fuel) than Atlas, even if the total fuel load of Atlas had been greater.

More below including detailed specifications

Titan 1 Launch Photos (Historical)

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Titan 1 Advertisements (Historical)

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Titan 1 Videos (Historical)

Titan 1 Rocket Launch Test 28 April 1960

First Day Envelope for Titan 1 Launch

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