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T O P I C R E V I E WBenThe last ever launch of a rocket with the name Titan on it is scheduled to lift off from Vandenberg AFB Oct. 19 ferrying a spy satellite for the National Reconnaissance Office. The launch period runs from 9am to 1pm PDT.The launch will cap half a century of history that started with the namesake ICBM and became spacebound with the launch of the first unmanned Gemini capsule aboard a Titan II on April 8, 1964.Aside from hosting NASA's Gemini program, Titans sent the Vikings to Mars, the Voyagers to the outer solar system and beyond, and Cassini to its current home in orbit around Saturn.Updates will be posted here.-------------------Benwww.LaunchPhotography.comtegwilymSo, are you going to be there taking pictures of it?BenI wish!BenThis is also the 200th Titan to launch from Vandenberg and, coincidentally, the Titan program ends on its 50th anniversary to the month: http://www.spaceflightnow.com/titan/b26/status.html Ken HavekotteBen--Good post for Titan's final launch this week from Vandenberg. I have many fond memories of covering the Titans here at the Cape. My favorites, by far, where the twin Titan/Centaur Viking missions to Mars and the twin Voyagers during the 1970s; also, the first commercial Titan launch. Back in those days, Ben, Press Site 3 (PS-3) was activated for the news media during the Viking/Voyager missions that flew from Pad 41. PS-3 was only 3.78 miles from the pad and being there--live--was quite an experience when a mighty Titan 3E rocketed into space. It was adjacent or near the eastern side of the Vertical Integration Building (VIB) of the Titan Integrate-Transfer-Launch Facility, which is also where Titan launch control was housed. The Vikings inparticular, one of my first press assignments for Space Age Times magazine and others, was full of excitement and a thrill to witness and report on. There was another Titan/Centaur launch that comes to memory, the last day in Dec. 1989, when the very first commercial Titan (CT-1) vehicle orbited a Japanese and British communications satellites. Members of the press and VIPs were stationed at a special viewing site miles away from PS-3 as the Shuttle 51-L/Challenger tragedy no longer permitted the press (or anybody else) to view rocket firings so close as we did before 1986. Anyway, the launch commentator was Bob Gordon of Martin Marietta, the prime builder of the commercial Titan rockets. In all the hundreds of rocket and space shot firings that I have covered from the Cape, this one marked a first--ever--in my career. We were advised by Mr. Gordon that the launch countdown will continue at a later time than planned, even though the scheduled liftoff was originally only about twelve minutes away. After a couple of minor countdown holds, we were again notified by Titan Launch Control over their provided public address system that the countdown will resume in seven minutes or so. OK, we all started to relax just for a minute or so and stand back from our cameras; one photographer even left his camera station and headed back to his equipment box that was only a few yards away from his station. All the sudden, Commercial Titan 1 actually started to IGNITE--blasting off into space--with no traditional countdown commentary (i.e. 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5 .... you get the picture, huh)! All of us were stunned, to say the least, and I immediately grabbed my cameras (one was on a tripod) and started clicking away. It certainly wasn't a good day for some photographers and reporters as some did miss the actual liftoff ignition at T-0. But now, in looking back on that particular Titan event more than 15 years ago, it makes for a great and unusual story to tell fellow space buffs. Were there any others that unique? Yes, there were some, but nothing in my mind compares to viewing a liftoff with no countdown commentary that you always hear and experience in preparing to cover a liftoff. Can anyone top this story?BenInteresting story. Why did they do that? Was it a mistake by the commentator; that he thought something was wrong and the count held?BenToday's liftoff time is 2:04pm EDT (11:04am Pacific time) and the rocket was powered up yesterday afternoon for hopefully the last time.From the SFN status center:"We expect tomorrow's mission to be a flawless conclusion to a program that has supported the nation for pretty much half a century," Col. Pat Smith, the Air Force's Titan program manager, told reporters at [yesterday's] pre-launch news conference. -------------------Benwww.LaunchPhotography.comGlint quote:Originally posted by Ben:Today's liftoff time is 2:04pm EDT (11:04am Pacific time)Launch time has been delayed by one minute.New launch time is 11:05 PDT (14:05 EDT; 18:05 UTC). SpacepsychoI just watched the launch, it was beautiful, the most visible part was 10 seconds before and during staging with bright flames clearly visible from 60 miles away. A great last launch.RayBenCoo, post a photo if you took one. A flawless finale. And a rare clear day at Vandenberg!GlintWhat a fantastic finish for a major work horse going from corral to pasture!What an amazing career the Titans have had.BenA particularly nice photo taken from Vandenberg's south gate can be seen here: http://www.spaceflightnow.com/titan/b26/images/051019launch2.jpg
The launch will cap half a century of history that started with the namesake ICBM and became spacebound with the launch of the first unmanned Gemini capsule aboard a Titan II on April 8, 1964.
Aside from hosting NASA's Gemini program, Titans sent the Vikings to Mars, the Voyagers to the outer solar system and beyond, and Cassini to its current home in orbit around Saturn.
Updates will be posted here.
From the SFN status center:
"We expect tomorrow's mission to be a flawless conclusion to a program that has supported the nation for pretty much half a century," Col. Pat Smith, the Air Force's Titan program manager, told reporters at [yesterday's] pre-launch news conference.
quote:Originally posted by Ben:Today's liftoff time is 2:04pm EDT (11:04am Pacific time)
Launch time has been delayed by one minute.
New launch time is 11:05 PDT (14:05 EDT; 18:05 UTC).
What an amazing career the Titans have had.
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