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Friday, February 6, 2009

50th Year Anniversary: Titan I Test Launch

The Titan series of rockets is one of my favorites - and today marks the 50th anniversary of the first test launch of a prototype Titan ICBM, called the A3, from the Cape Canaveral station. Of course, by 1959, ICBM development was in full swing as the nation tried to create superior launch missiles against the Soviet Union and their successful heavy launch rockets. Eventually, the Titan series would develop into a wonderful satellite launcher and the propulsion for the Gemini spacecraft- but that was in the future.

I couldn't find a photograph of the actual launch of the A3, but it would have looked very similar to the Titan I in the above picture. To find a good overall history of Titan I development, just look up Titan I on Wikipedia. If anyone finds some other cool resources on the web, let me know!

For my younger readers from the Space Center, "ICBM" stands for InterContinental Ballistic Missile, those big heavy lift rockets that would launch one or more nuclear bombs to the other side of the planet. When I was very young, people were terrified by the thought that the world could experience a nuclear war. Fortunately, we didn't. Yet.

Mark Daymont
Space Center
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