50th Anniversary and Final Flight Culminate at California Launch Site
The Titan rocket, for 50 years a workhorse space lifter, made its final flight from Vandenberg AFB, Calif. today with Aerojet first- and second-stage liquid rocket engines powering the massive vehicle's liquid propellant core. Aerojet, a GenCorp Inc. company, has produced liquid rocket engines for the entire Titan launcher family: Titan I, Titan II, Titan III and Titan IV, with work spanning the entire 50 years of the Titan program.
Aerojet was awarded its first contract for the Titan program in 1955. The first Titan was a two-stage missile, and Aerojet was awarded a $55 million contract for the development of liquid engines for the missile. At the time of the contract award, the company had just started construction of a large-thrust liquid test stand at its new Rancho Cordova, Calif. site. Within 10 months of the contract award, the company had 889 employees working on the liquid rocket program and a construction frenzy was underway.
The Titan program has made many notable contributions to Aerojet and to our country:
-- The Titan liquid rocket engines enhanced Aerojet's role as a leading propulsion company in the strategic defense and aerospace industries
-- The Titan I and II liquid rocket engines powered the nation's ICBMs for more than 30 years, helping to bring an end to the Cold War
-- Titan II/Gemini, Aerojet's first engines for manned spaceflight, formalized the "mission success" concept requiring the highest standards for quality assurance and reliability
-- Titan III and Titan IV lifted NASA's most significant planetary exploration spacecraft, including the Mars Viking Landers, Voyager I and II and the Cassini Saturn orbiter
-- More than 28 Aerojet Titan program employees became the top executive at Aerojet and other U.S. companies
-- For more than 40 of its 50 years, Titan IIs, IIIs and IVs have been entrusted to carry the nation's most critical military and national security satellites
-- Aerojet produced 1,182 Titan engines; conducted 11,582 engine tests and 368 flights