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Vandenberg launches final Titan IV

30th Space Wing Public Affairs

10/20/2005 - VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- After five decades of service, the Air Force and the Lockheed Martin Corp. launched the last Titan IV B rocket from here Oct. 19.

The heavy-lift workhorse thundered off the pad at 11:05 PST to deliver its final payload to space. It carried a critical national security payload for the National Reconnaissance Office.

This launch was the 200th from here. The rocket will now retire from service.

“Today’s launch is the culmination of a tremendous amount of work by several organizations,” said Col. Jack Weinstein, 30th Space Wing commander. “There isn’t a more satisfying feeling in the world than knowing you were part of something so important for our nation.”

G. Thomas Marsh, executive vice president of Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, said, “Today’s spectacular launch is a fitting way to say goodbye to Titan.”

The commander of the 2nd Space Launch Space Squadron, Lt. Col. Regis Baldauff, dedicated the final mission to Abe Freels and Lenny Hoops, who died recently. Both had had long and distinguished histories with the program. Their names went into space, etched prominently on the side of the rocket.

The launch ends a long evolution from the original Titan I intercontinental ballistic missile. In all, 39 Titan IVs launched into space -- 12 Titan from Vandenberg here and 27 from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. The final Titan IV mission from Cape Canaveral was April 29, 2005.

“While this is the last flight of the Titan IV, it’s a great opportunity to bring together literally thousands of people who have spent most of their adult life producing, processing and launching these vehicles. So it’s a great tribute to the American spirit,” said Lt. Gen. Michael Hamel, Space and Missile Systems Center commander.

The general said the Atlas V and the Delta IV Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicles will provide “our assured access to space and become the workhorse launch vehicles for the 21st century.”

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