Titan 1 Chronology

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Titan 1 Chronology 1954 - 1985

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1954
August:  The USAF first considers parallel development of the ICBM with an analysis of the AeroJet General Corporation as a second source contractor for the Atlas rocket engine.


October:  Ramo-Woodridge study by the Lockheed and Martin companies of two stage ICBM configurations,  indicates they are especially well suited for missile testing. The findings encouraged the USAF to order additional studies.
 


1955
May 2:  USAF approved Western Development Division proposals to inaugurate a second ICBM airframe, which became the Titan ICBM .Designated the XSM-68 (Weapon System 107A-2).

May 6:  USAF invites bids on the Titan 1 contract. Ultimately there were three finalists, the Martin, Douglas and Lockheed Companies.

August:  Air Force Ballistic Missile Division (ARDC) assigned executive management of the Titan 1 project.

Oct 27:  Titan 1 contractors chosen, Martin Company signs contract: Glenn L. Martin Company was responsible for the Titan 1's airframe, and the Aerojet-General Corporation provided the propulsion system. Bell Telephone Laboratories had the contract for the missile's radio-inertial guidance system, and American Bosch and MIT were under contract for the all-inertial guidance system. The nose cone was developed by the AVCO Corporation. The computer guidance system by Remington Rand.
 


1956
Titan 1 receives $ 40-million funding for fiscal year 1956.

The Air Force decides that all of the Titan 1 missiles should be based in “super-hardened” silo complexes buried deep underground.
 


1957
Jan 30:  Contracts awarded to MacDonald Construction Company for construction four Titan Launch Complexes and hanger buildings at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.

March:  Titan 1 production 7 missiles per month.

April:  Construction contracts awarded to Macco Company  for Cape Canaveral, FL Titan Complex construction due to a default
by the MacDonald Construction Company.

August:  USAF selects Lowry AFB, CO as the first Titan 1 missile sites.

September:  Due to budget constraints, Titan 1 production reduced to 4 missiles per month.

November:  Titan 1 missile production increased to 6 missiles per month.
 


1958
Mar 13:  The Air Force Ballistic Committee approved the selection of Lowry to be the first Titan 1 ICBM base.

Mar 15:  Contract awarded for inertial guidance system for the Titan ICBM to American Bosch Arma by the USAF.

Jun 17:  First Titan 1 delivered to begin tests.

Oct 4:  Camp Cook near Lompoc, CA renamed Vandenberg AFB in memory of the late Chief of Staff, Gen. Hoyt S. Vandenberg.

November:  Cape Canaveral Launch Complex 15 finished and ready for testing.

Nov 19:  First Titan 1 arrives at Cape Canaveral from Martin Company in Colorado.

Nov 23:  First Titan 1 erected on Launch Complex 15 pad.

Dec 20:  First Titan test launch exploded on the pad at Cape Canaveral.  (According to NASA Chronology - unable to verify from other sources).
 


1959
Feb 6:   Test Launch: Success. LC-15 AMR  First test launch of Titan 1 (A-3). Only first stage live. (AMR - Atlantic Missile Range - Cape Canaveral, FL). Reached 500km downrange.

Feb 25:  Test Launch: Success. LC-15 AMR. Second test launch Titan 1 (A-5). Only first stage live.

Apr 3:  Test Launch. Success. LC-15 AMR Third test of Titan 1 (A-4). Only first stage live.

May 1:  Lowry AFB, CO construction of Titan 1 launchers and support facilities begins.

May 4:  Test Launch. Success. LC-15 AMR Fourth test of Titan 1 (A-6). Only first stage live.

May 15:  Titan 1 test missile (B-4) exploded during static ground test firing.

Jul 3:  Titan 1 test missile (B-3) exploded during static ground test firing.

Aug 14:  Test Launch. Failure. LC-19 AMR. Titan 1 (B-5) exploded on launch pad.

Sep 17:  Col. Paul Calton, Commander of Beale’s 4126th Strategic Wing, announced that the base would be the fifth Titan 1 missile installation.

Nov 9:  Contractors selected for Dynasoar and Titan 1  Boeing and Martin selected by USAF to develop Dynasoar and Titan 1 launch vehicle.

Nov 18:  Construction contracts for Titan 1 complexes at Larson AFB, WA awarded to joint venture of contractors composed of MacDonald Construction Company, The Scott Company, Paul Hardeman Company, G.H. Leave11 Company, F.E. Young Construction Company, and Morrison-Knudsen Company, Incorporated.

Dec 1: Contractor broke ground on Titan 1 complexes at Larson AFB, WA.

Dec 8:  Leavell-Scott & Associates awarded contracts to build Titan 1 complexes at Ellsworth AFB, SD.

Dec 12: Test Launch. Failure. LC-16 AMR.: Titan 1 (C-2 C3) exploded on launch pad. First Titan 1 testing a second stage .

 


1960
Jan 12:  Bids opened in the Empire Room of Sacramento’s Hotel Senator. Peter Kiewit Sons’ Company won the contract to build the Titan 1 missile complexes at Beale AFB.

Jan 22:  Construction began on Beale AFB Titan 1 missile complexes.

Feb 1:  848th (later 724th) SMS activated at Lowry AFB, CO, this marked the first stand-up of a Titan 1 Squadron.

Feb 2:  Test Launch. Success. LC-19 AMR. Titan 1 (B-7A). Test payload R/D B#2 flew 3,500km down test range.

Feb 5:  Test Launch. Failure. LC-16 AMR. Titan 1 (C-4). Test payload RVX-3.

Feb 5:  Contracts to build Titan 1 missile complexes at Mt. Home AFB, ID awarded to the joint venture of Kaiser-Raymond-Macco-Puget Sound .

Feb 24:  Test Launch. Success. LC-15 AMR. Titan 1 (G-4). Test payload RVX-4 flew 8,000km down test range.

Mar 8:  Test Launch. Failure. LC-16 AMR. Titan 1 (C-1). Second stage failure. Test payload RVX-3.

Mar 22:  Test Launch. Success. LC-15 AMR. Titan 1 (G-5) Test payload RVX-4 flew 8,000km downrange, data capsule recovered.

Apr 8:  Test Launch. Failure. LC-16 AMR. Titan 1 (C-5). Second stage failure. Test payload   RVX-3.

Apr 21:   Test Launch. Success. LC-15 AMR. Titan 1 (G-6). Test payload RVX-4 flew 8,000km downrange.

Apr 28: Test Launch. Success. LC-16 AMR. Titan 1 (C-6). Test payload RVX-3.

May 13:  Test Launch. Success. LC-15 AMR. Titan 1 (G-7). Test payload RVX-4 flew 8,000km downrange.

May 27:  Test Launch. Success. LC-16 AMR. Titan 1 (G-9). Test payload RVX-4 flew 8,000km downrange.

Jun 14:  Small explosive charge ignited flare package on side of Titan 1 ICBM at AMR, causing first missile fatality (J. G. Sibole) in 10 years of missile launchings at Cape Canaveral.

Jun 24:  Test Launch. Success. LC-15 AMR. Titan 1 (G-10). Test payload RVX-4.

Jul 1:  Test Launch. Failure. LC-20 AMR. Titan 1 (J-2). Failed at 90-meters altitude. Payload Mk.4 RV. First operational version test.

Jul 28:  Test Launch. Failure. LC-20 AMR. Titan 1 (J-4). Failed at 130km altitude. Payload Mk.4 RV.

Aug 1:  849th (later 725th) SMS Lowry AFB, CO. Activated.

Aug 10: Test Launch. Success. LC-19 AMR. Titan 1 (J-7). Payload Mk.4 RV flew 8,000km downrange.

Aug 30: Test Launch. Success. LC-20 AMR. Titan 1 (J-5). Payload Mk. 4  RV.

Sept 15:  Management for the construction of the two Titan 1 Squadron facilities at Lowry AFB, CO transferred to the Army Corps of Engineers Ballistic Missile Construction Office. (CEBMCO)

Sep 28:  Test Launch. Success. LC-19 AMR. Titan 1 (J-8). Payload Mk. 4 RV.

Sep 29:  Test Launch. Success. LC-15 AMR. Titan 1 (G-8). Test payload RVX-4.

Oct 7:  Test Launch. Success. LC-20 AMR. Titan 1 (J-3). Payload Mk.4 RV.

Oct 24:  Test Launch. Success. LC-19 AMR. Titan 1 (J-6). Payload Mk.4 RV fired 9,800km downrange. 170km further than any previous launch, with tactical-type nose cone.

Nov 1:  Beale AFB - Titan 1 Complex - supervision of the construction shifteddddd from Sacramento District, Army Corps of Engineers to CEBMCO. (Army - Corps of Engineers Ballistic Missile Construction Office - established Aug 1960.)

Dec 1:  850ths SMS  Ellsworth, AFB, SD. Activated under the 28h Bombardment Wing.

Dec 3:  Test Launch. Failure. OSTF WTR (Western Test Range - Vandenberg AFB). Titan 1 (V-2). Payload Mk.4 RV. Titan 1 ICBM exploded in its silo at Vandenberg AFB during night fueling operations. The launch crew was lowering a fully fueled Titan 1 into the Operational System Test Facility (OSTF) at Vandenberg - following pre-launch tests - the elevator failed, sending the missile to the bottom of the silo and causing a large explosion. The explosion destroyed the silo - it was never replaced. None of the 25 men in an underground launch building were injured. The underground launch building is located 825 feet from the explosion site.

Dec 20:  Test Launch. Failure. LC-20 AMR. Titan 1 (J-9). Second stage failed to ignite. Payload Mk.4 RV.

 


1961
Jan 13:  USAF changes Dynasoar launch vehicle  from the Titan 1 to the Titan II.

Jan 20:  Test Launch. Failure. LC-19 AMR. Titan 1 (AJ-10). Payload Mk.4 RV. Second Stage failed. Reached 170-km downrange

Feb 1:  851st SMS  Beale AFB CA. Activated

Feb 10:  Test Launch. Success. LC-20 AMR. Titan 1 (AJ-11). Payload Mk.4 RV.

Feb 20:  Test Launch. Success. LC-19 AMR. Titan 1 (AJ-13). Payload Mk.4 RV flew 8,000km downrange, the 20th success in 29 tests.

Mar 3:  Test Launch. Failure. LC-20 AMR. Titan 1 (AJ-12). Payload Mk.4 RV.

Mar 28:  Test Launch. Success. LC-19 AMR. Titan 1 (AJ-14). Payload Mk.4 RV.

Mar 31:  Test Launch. Failure. LC-20 AMR. Titan 1 (AJ-15). Payload Mk.4 RV.

Apr 1:  568th SMS Larson AFB, WA. Activated as a unit of the 4170th Strategic Wing.

May 3:  Test Launch. Success. SLTF WTR. Titan 1 (VS-1). Demo test payload. First silo launching of an ICBM, Vandenberg AFB. Titan 1 missile was launched from the Titan II SLTF test facility.

May 23:  Test Launch. Success. LC-20 AMR. Titan 1 (AJ-16). Payload Mk.4 RV.

Jun 1:  569th SMS Mt. Home AFB, ID. Activated.

Jun 23:  Test Launch. Failure. LC-19 AMR. Titan 1 (M-1). Payload Mk.4 RV.

Jul 1:  848th SMS Lowry AFB, CO. Discontinued, replaced by the 724th SMS.

Jul 1:   849th SMS Lowry AFB, CO. Discontinued, replaced by the 725th SMS.

Jul 20:  Test Launch. Success. LC-20 AMR. Titan 1 (AJ-18). Payload Mk.4 RV.

Jul 25:  Test Launch. Success. LC-19 AMR. Titan 1 (M-2) with self-contained inertial guidance, Mk.4 RV fired 8,000km downrange.

Aug 3:  Test Launch. Success. LC-20 AMR. Titan 1 (AJ-19). Payload Mk.4 RV.

Aug 4:  Construction on all nine silos at the three launch complexes for the former 848th SMS,  re-designated the 724th SMS, Lowry AFB, CO, was completed.

Aug 28:  Reported that Martin Co. originally required 75,000 man-hours to produce the first Titan 1's, which had now been reduced to 19,000 man-hours per Titan 1. Man-hour rate for the first five Titan II's averaged 35,000 man-hours on each one.

Sep 6:  Test Launch. Success. LC-20 AMR. Titan 1 (AJ-17). Payload Mk.4 RV flew 9,800km downrange.

Sep 7:  Test Launch. Success. LC-19 AMR. Titan  1 (M-3) with inertial guidance system. Mk.4 RV flew 8,000km downrange.

Sep 23:  Test Launch. Success. LC-395-A1 WTR. Titan 1 (SM-2). Silo launch Vandenberg AFB. Payload Mk.4 RV.

Sep 28:  850th SMS Ellsworth AFB, SD. Operational and turned over to SAC.

Sep 28:  Test Launch. Success. LC-20 AMR. Titan 1 (Aj-20). Payload Mk.4 RV.

Oct 6:  Test Launch. Success. LC-19 AMR. Titan 1 (M-4) carrying Titan II guidance system. Payload Mk.4 RV.

Oct 24:  Test Launch. Success. LC-20 AMR. Titan 1 (AJ-21).  Launched to coincide with over head passage of Midas IV (Early Warning satellite that detects missile launches.) Payload Mk.4 RV.

Oct 25:  Reported from Cape Canaveral that launch of Titan 1 the previous evening had been detected by Midas IV.

Nov 21:  Test Launch. Success. LC-20 AMR. Titan 1 (AJ-22) launched carrying target nose cone to be used in Nike-Zeus antimissile-missile tests. This was first Titan 1 ICBM to be fired from Cape Canaveral by a military crew, AFBSD's 6555th Aerospace Test Wing.
Payload Mk.4 RV.

Nov 29:  Test Launch. Success. LC-19 AMR. Titan 1 (M-5). Payload Mk.4 RV.

Dec 13:  Test Launch. Success. LC-20 AMR. Titan 1 (AJ-23)  research and development test flight program of 40 launches at the Atlantic Missile Range; of the 40 launches 4 had been failures. Payload NTMP Test Vehicle.

Dec 15:  Test Launch. Success. LC-19 AMR. Titan 1 (M-6). Payload Mk.4 RV.

 


1962
Jan 1:  850th SMS Ellsworth AFB, SD transferred to the 44th SMW.

Jan 20:  Test Launch. Success. LC-395-A3 WTR. Titan 1 (SM-4). First SAC launch.  Vandenberg AFB. Demo payload.

Jan 29:  Test Launch. Success. LC-19 AMR. Titan 1 (M-7). Payload Mk4. RV. Last Titan 1 launch from Cape Canaveral AMR, FL.

Feb 23:  Test Launch. Failure. LC-395-A1 WTR. Titan 1 (SM-18). Vandenberg AFB. Payload R/D Cat II. AFSC operational test.

Feb 28:  First Titan 1 missile lowered into silo at Beale AFB - Lincoln Complex 4A.

Apr 18:  724th SMS, Lowey AFB, CO turned over to SAC and declared operational.

Apr 20:  724th SMS Lowry AFB first Titan 1s went on alert status.

Apr 20:  Last Missile lowered into silo at Beale AFB - Chico Complex 4C.

May 4:  725th SMS Lowry AFB, CO turned over to SAC.

May 4:  Test Launch. Success. LC-395-A1 WTR. Titan 1 (SM-34). Vandenberg AFB. Payload R/D Cat II. AFSC missile test.

May 10:  725the SMS Lowry AFB, CO. Operational.

May 24:  Beale AFB - Chico complex 4C,  during a contractor checkout, a terrific blast rocked launcher 1, destroying a Titan I and causing heavy damage to the silo. After the investigation, the Air Force concluded that the two separate LOX explosions occurred because of a blocked vent and blocked valve.

Jun 22:  850th SMS at Ellsworth AFB received its first operational Titan 1 missile.

Jun 6:  Beale AFB - Chico complex, trouble again struck as a flash fire at another silo killed a worker.

Jul 30:  Beale AFB - Chico complex, Peter Kiewit Sons’ Company received a contract, for an initial amount of $1,250,000 to repair the silo damaged in the May blast.

Aug 16:  869th SMS Mt. Home AFB, ID. Operational and turned over to SAC.

Sep 8:  851st SMS Beale AFB, CA. Operational and turned over to SAC. Became the last Titan 1 Squadron to achieve alert status.

Sep 26:  568th SMS Larson AFB, WA. Operational and turned over to SAC.

Oct 6:  Test Launch. Success. LC-395-A1 WTR. Titan 1 (SM-35).  Vandenberg AFB. Payload R/D Cat II. AFSC missile test.

October 15 - 28:  Cuban Missile Crisis. Over 50 Titan 1's stand guard on Defcon 2 alert status. 136 Atlas, Titan 1 and Minuteman 1 Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles are prepared for firing. 36 test missiles of various kinds are taken over by S.A.C.. A.F.S.C. and civilian personnel are replaced by S.A.C. command and control crews.

Dec 1:  The 850th SMS came under assignment to the 28hAREFS , briefly making the wing one of three (with the 456th SAW at Beale and the 462nd SAW at Larson) to operate both B-52s and Titan 1s.

Dec 5:  Test Launch. Success. LC-395-A1 WTR. Titan 1 (SM-11). Vandenberg AFB. Payload  R/D Cat II. AFSC missile test.

 


1963
Jan 29:
  Test Launch. Success. LC-395-A1 WTR. Titan 1 (SM-8). Vandenberg AFB. Payload R/D Cat II. AFSC missile test.

Mar 9
:  Beale AFB - After damages were repaired, the Chico complex became operational

Mar 18:  Larson AFB -suffered an accident involving a Titan 11111 missile in a silo. During maintenance Air Force personnel inadvertently disconnected the cable between the missile and the silo and the inter-stage separation rockets fired, lifting the first stage off the second stage. The event caused major damage to the silo and missile, fortunately none of the workers received any injuries. The Titan 1 was not fitted with a warhead at the time of the incident.

Mar 30:
  Test Launch. Success. LC-395-A2 WTR. Titan 1 (SM-3). Vandenberg AFB. Payload NTMP K-17. SAC launch. Titan 1 used in target test.

Apr 4:  Test Launch. Success. LC-395-A1 WTR. Titan 1 (V-1). Vandenberg AFB. Payload R&D AFSC missile test.

Apr 13:  Test Launch. Success. LC-395-A3 WTR. Titan 1 (SM-1). Vandenberg AFB. Payload NTMP K-21. SAC launch. Titan 1 used in target test.

May 1:  Test Launch. Failure. LC-395-A1 WTR. Titan 1 (V-4). Vandenberg AFB. Payload R& D. AFSC missile test.

Jul 16
:  Test Launch.  Success. LC-395-A2 WTR. Titan 1 (SM-24). Vandenberg AFB. Payload DASO. SAC operational missile test.

Aug 15:  Test Launch. Success. LC-395-A1 WTR. Titan 1 (SM-7). Vandenberg AFB. Payload DASO. SAC operational missile test.

Aug 30:  Test Launch. Success. LC-395-A3 WTR. Titan 1 (SM-36). Vandenberg AFB. Payload DASO. SAC operational missile test.

Sep 17:  Test Launch. Success. LC-395-A2 WTR. Titan 1 (SM-83). Vandenberg AFB. Payload DASO. SAC operational missile test.

Nov 14:  Test Launch. Success. LC-395-A1 WTR. Titan 1 (SM-68). Vandenberg AFB. Payload DASO. SAC operational missile test.
 


1964
May16:   Defense Secretary McNamara directed the accelerated phase-out of the Atlas and Titan 1 ICBMs.

Aug 10:  Titan 1 collapsed while unloading RP-1.  Apparently a tank vent didn't operate properly.

Nov 19:  Defense Secretary McNamara announced the phase-out of remaining first-generation Atlas and Titan I missiles by the end of June 1965.

Dec 8:  Test Launch. Success. LC-395-A1 WTR. Titan 1 (SM-85). Silo launch, Vandenberg AFB. Payload ST West Wind I. SAC operational test.
 


1965
Jan 4:
 568th SMS Larson AFB, WA. First Titan 1 ICBM off alert.

Jan 4:
  850th SMS  Ellsworth AFB, SD. First Titan 1 ICBM off alert.

Jan 4
:  851st SMS Beale AFB, CA. First Titan 1 ICBM off alert.

Jan 14
:  Test Launch. Success. LC-395-A3 WTR. Titan 1 (SM-33). Silo launch, Vandenberg AFB. Payload ST West Wind III. SAC operational test.

Jan 22
:  851st SMS Beale AFB, CA.  Last Titan 1 ICBM off alert.

Feb 1
:  850th SMS Ellsworth AFB, SD. Last Titan 1 ICBM off alert.

Feb 2:  568th SMS Larson AFB, WA. Last Titan 1 ICBM off alert.

Feb 8:  568th SMS Larson AFB, WA. Last Titan 1 ICBM shipped to Mira Loma  Air Force Station, near San Bernardino, CA.

Feb 10:
  851st SMS Beale AFB, CA. Last Titan 1 ICBM shipped to Mira Loma  Air Force Station, near San Bernardino, CA.

Feb 12
:  850th SMS Ellsworth AFB, SD. Last Titan 1 ICBM shipped to Mira Loma  Air Force Station, near San Bernardino, CA.

Feb 17:  569th SMS Mt. Home AFB, ID. First Titan 1 ICBM off alert.

Feb 17
:  724th SMS Lowry AFB, CO. First Titan 1 ICBM off alert.

Feb 17
:  725th SMS Lowry AFB, CO. First Titan 1 ICBM off alert.

Mar 5:  Test Launch. Success. LC-395-A2 WTR. Titan 1 (SM-80) Last launch from Vandenberg AFB. Payload ST West Wind II, SAC operational test. Final Titan 1 launch.
 
Mar 25: 
568th SMS Larson AFB, WA. Inactivated.

Mar 25:
  850th SMS Ellsworth AFB, SD. Inactivated.

Mar 25:
  851st SMS Beale AFB, CA. Inactivated.

Mar 25:
  Titan 1 missiles at Larson AFB, WA deactivated.

Mar 26:
  724th SMS Lowry AFB, CO. Last Titan 1 ICBM off alert.

Mar 26:
  725th SMS Lowry AFB, CO. Last Titan 1 ICBM off alert.

Apr 1: 
569th SMS Mt. Home AFB, ID. Last Titan 1 ICBM off alert.

Apr 8:  569th SMS Mt. Home AFB, ID. Last Titan 1 ICBM shipped to Mira Loma  Air Force Station, near San Bernardino, CA.

Apr 15:
  724th SMS Lowery AFB, CO. Last Titan 1 ICBM shipped to Mira Loma  Air Force Station, near San Bernardino, CA.

Apr 15
:  725th SMS Lowery AFB, CO. Last Titan 1 ICBM shipped to Mira Loma  Air Force Station, near San Bernardino, CA.

Jun 25: 
569th SMS Mt. Home, AFB, ID. Inactivated.

Jun 25
:  724th SMS  Lowry AFB, CO. Inactivated.

Jun 25
:  725th SMS  Lowry AFB, CO. Inactivated.
 


1966
Spring:  There was no demand for surplus Titan 1 missiles and in the spring of 1966 the Aerospace Corporation advised against their continued storage. 163 Titan 1's were manufactured. Test launches used  67 missiles. At least 4 were lost in silo accidents and 2 were lost in test stand explosions. About 90 surplus missiles remained in inventory.  Atlas missiles had already been converted to satellite launchers in the early 1960's. The Titan 1's had about the same payload capacity as an Atlas. It didn't make economic sense to refurbish the 90 remaining missiles as launch vehicles.  About 20 were distributed to museums, parks and schools as static displays. The remaining ~70 missiles were scrapped in the early 1970's.

Storage and destruction of Titan I ICBM's at Mira Loma AFS near San Bernardino, CA 1965 - 1972

(Click on photos to enlarge)

Photos courtesy of Lee Robert Caldwell - Original photos were scans of photocopies and have been enhanced with PhotoShop.

1985
Sep 6:  Titan 1 Second Stage used in a Star Wars Missile Defense test. The MIRACL Near Infrared Laser, at White Sands Missile Range, NM was fired at a stationary Titan 1 second stage that was fixed to ground. The second stage burst and was destroyed by the laser blast. The second stage did not contain any fuel or oxidizer. It was pressurized with nitrogen gas to 60-psi.

Titan 1 Second Stage Destroyed in Star Wars Laser Test - Sep 6, 1985

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