Fact Sheet - Air Force Space Command - Direcorate of Public Affairs 150 Vandenberg St, 1105 Peterson AFB, CO 80914-4500 Phone (719)554-3731

Titan II


Titan II is a medium-lift space launch vehicle used to carry payloads for the Air Force, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NSASA) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). These payloads include the USAF Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) and the NOAA weather satellites. The Titan II is launched from Vandenberg AFB, Calif.


The Titan II space launch vehicle is a two-stage liquid fueled booster, designed to provide a small-to-medium weight class capability. It is able to lift approximately 4,200 pounds into a polar low-Earth circular orbit. The first stage consists of a ground ignited LR87 liquid propellant rocket, while the second stage consists of a LR91 liquid propellant rocket.


The Titan family was established in October 1955, when the Air Force awarded Lockheed Martin (formerly the Martin Company) a contract to build an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). It became known as the Titan I, the nation’s first two-stage ICBM and first underground silo-based ICBM. More than 140 Titan II ICBMs, once the vanguard of America’s strategic deterrent force, were built. Titan IIs also were flown in NASA’s Gemini manned space program in the mid-1960s.

The Titan II space-launch vehicles are decommissioned ICBMs that have been refurbished and equipped with hardware required for use as space launch vehicles. The Martin Marietta Astronautics Group was awarded a contract in January 1986 to refurbish, integrate, and launch fourteen Titan II ICBMs for government space launch requirements.

Tasks involved in converting the Titan II ICBMs into space launch vehicles include:

Deactivation of the Titan II ICBM system began in July 1982 and was completed in June 1987. The deactivated missiles are now in storage at Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz. The Air Force successfully launched the first Titan II space launch vehicle from Vandenberg AFB September 5, 1988. NASA’s Clementine spacecraft, which was launched aboard a Titan II in January 1994, discovered water on the moon in November 1996.

Titan II Specifications

Primary function: Launch vehicle used to lift medium class satellites into space
Builder: Lockheed-Martin Astronautics
Launch site: Vandenberg AFB, Calif.
First stage:
Length: 70 feet
Diameter: 10 feet
Engine Thrust: 474,000 pounds (vacuum)
Second stage:
Length: 24 feet
Diameter: 10 feet
Engine Thrust: 100,000 pounds (vacuum)
Guidance: Inertial with Digital Computers
Subcontractor: Delco Electronics
Payload fairing:
Diameter: 10 feet
Length: 20 feet

Skin and Stringer Construction -- Tri-Sector Design
Subcontractor: Boeing

Liquid rocket engines: Refurbished Titan II ICBM Engines
Subcontractor: Aerojet Tech Systems
Date deployed: September 1988

(Current as of March 2001)

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