Artifacts Speak Lecture Series – The Titan Rocket Program

Titan IV B29 launched from Cape Canaveral, May 8, 2000. Image Credit: Lockheed Martin

Titan IV B29 launched from Cape Canaveral, May 8, 2000. Image Credit: Lockheed Martin

November 15, 2016 – Former Lockheed Martin engineer, Stephen Kelly, will give a presentation at the Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum at 1:00 p.m. on November 20. Kelly will speak about the origin, Colorado connections, and significant events that made the Titan Rocket Program one of the most important rocket programs in the history of space exploration.

The first 40 minutes of the program will be lecture-based, while the last 20 minutes will be a walking tour led by Kelly. The tour will feature some of the Titan artifacts on display at Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum, including 1st and 2nd stage Titan rocket engines and other program artifacts.

In the early years of the Space Race, The Martin Company won a contract to design and build the Titan I and then Titan II Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs), which later evolved into an unprecedented multi-stage launch vehicle. In its various phases, the Titan rocket program served both NASA and the U.S. Air Force as a heavyweight launch vehicle for deep space and planetary probes and for the Air Force’s reconnaissance spacecraft. The Titan family of rockets supported NASA and U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) missions for nearly 50 years.

Titan rockets built in Littleton, Colorado, powered NASA’s Gemini program, which provided an important bridge between the one-man Mercury missions and the Apollo lunar missions. Between 1965 and 1966, the Titan-launched Gemini program successfully placed 10 pairs of astronauts in low Earth orbit (LEO), allowing NASA to perfect the orbital maneuvers and extravehicular activity required for missions to the Moon. The program achieved 100 percent mission success and established a standard for perfection during one of the most dynamic and fast-paced periods of the Space Race.

The Titan II that served the Gemini program evolved into the Titan III. In 1976, Titans were used to launch the Viking Mars landers, the first spacecraft to land on the red planet. This was followed by the launch of the Voyager deep space probes in 1977.

The Titan IV was developed in 1990. It became the most powerful and final version of the launch vehicle before the program was retired. Titan’s final payload was delivered to orbit for the National Reconnaissance Office on October 19, 2005.

In all, 368 Titans were launched – 200 from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, and 168 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.

For more information about the lecture, and to purchase tickets, visit:

A ticket will provide entry to the lecture as well as admission to the museum.