Air Force Bases

Titan Missile Facilities

Production Facilities

Existing Denver manufacturing facility covers 384,000 square feet, and historically supported a build rate for Titan 11 ICBMs of 20/year. Martin Marietta has produced over 500 Titans since 1959 and will maintain active production lines well into the 1990s. The basic US ELV assembly lines and tooling were designed for ICBM production (Atlas, Titan) -- and some at Martin have talked about being able to tool up for 40 vehicles per year. Existing manufacturing facilities can produce 20 Titan cores per year, although only 10 payload fairings can be produced per year with existing facilities

US launch system manufacturing and operations are manpower intensive. Current system designs fundamentally limit processing and operability improvements. US manufacturing processes extend from the plant to the launch pad in increasing degrees from Delta to Titan IV. In contrast, Arianespace, with Ariane 4, has segregated manufacturing from operations. However, when assessed on an equivalent basis by labor category, the launch processing teams for Atlas and Delta are not disproportionately large and compare favorably with Ariane. In the case of Titan IV, the launch team is sized for substantially greater launch activity than is now planned. Misperceptions arise because U.S. launch bases are often compared with foreign launch complexes. A substantial amount of the activity at the US ranges is not space launch related.

Production Rates

The contract baseline production rate was 11 core vehicles per annum, which was approved at milestone III schedule. In September 1991, Martin Marietta was authorized to begin a production slowdown in order to match reduced launch rate requirements. As documented in the FY93 President's Budget submission, the contract production slowdown I core vehicle build rate was reduced to 5.5 core vehicles per annum to meet mission manifest requirements.

he second Titan IV Production Slowdown II was authorized on 9 June 1993, when OSD approved the updated Titan IV Acquisition Program Baseline (APB). This modification reduced the Titan IV production rate from 5.5 to 3 vehicles per year to meet mission manifest requirements as documented in the FY94 President's Budget submission and the October 1992 Space Launch Advisory Group (SLAG). This production rate slowdown from 5.5 to 3 vehicles per year resulted in increased cost for vehicles 42 through 65.

On 18 January 1994, the Titan Program Office received approval to release a Request For Proposal (RFP) for a production "bridge" which would further slow production of Titan IVs to two per year and delay the follow on buy of Titan IVs by at least two years. The 2 core vehicles per annum projected production "bridge" core vehicle build rate was initiated to meet mission manifest requirements. Procurement quantities reflect a change from the FY95 President's budget to include a production "bridge" which will further slow production of Titan IVs to two per year and delay the follow on buy of Titan IVs by at least two years.

Launch Facilities

The preliminary Titan III development plan of 5 October 1961 recommended construction of "integrate-transfer-launch" (ITL) launch facilities at both the Atlantic and Pacific Missile Ranges. The plan proposed construction of a three pad ITL facility at the Atlantic Missile Range and a two pad ITL complex at the Pacific Missile Range It was estimated that this would permit up to 75 launches a year from these two facilities.(4) Planning in 1963 assumed a Titan III program of 50 launches per year.

Launch Complex 40 (LC-40) provides a second Titan IV launch pad at CCAFS. Work on LC-40 began in January 1990. Previous LC-40 ILC of fourth quarter FY92 was further refined to reflect a July 1992 ILC. LC-40 extended subcontractor support to complete the LC-40 development effort such as Heating/Ventilation/Air Conditioning (HVAC) resulted in unexpected redesign efforts and crane control console anomaly fixes. In July 1992, LC-40 Initial Launch Capability (ILC) was declared for Commercial Titan to support NASA for the Commercial Titan/Mars Observer mission, which was successfully launched in September 1992. LC-40 ILC for the Titan IV was successfully achieved in February 1993. In 1991 the Air Force received program management direction that deleted the requirement to activate Space Launch Complex 6 as a second VAFB Titan IV launch pad. The requirement for a second VAFB launch pad (SLC-7) was also deleted. IOC of the Centaur Processing Facility was delayed from September 1995 to January 1997 due to FY94 budget cuts and delays in awarding the military construction contract.

The Air Force currently operates three pads capable of launching Titan IV vehicles-one on the west coast at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, and two on the east coast at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. The Air Force initially planned to launch four Titan IVs per year from complex 41 at Cape Canaveral, with a surge capability of six launches per year. Duplicating the pad 41 modifications at pad 40 at the Cape would allow eight launches per year and a surge of 12 per year.(7) Combined with 2 to 3 launches per year from the West Coast, these rates were planned allow the Titan IV roughly 10 launches per year, matching the initial Titan production rate. Current plans call for the capability of launching at least six Titan IVs per year -- two Titan IVs per year from each pad. While the current launch schedule shows only one future year which might require the use of both east coast pads, that schedule is being revised to slow down some Defense Support Program launches and transfer others to the space shuttle.(8) On the Eastern Range Titan IV can launch four missions per year.

According to the May 1994 DOD Space Launch Modernization Plan, operations costs per launch for Titan IV are significant and rising. Although there have been eight Titan IV launches to date, it has not yet reached its full operational capability (FOC) and must be classified as in the development phase. Thus, operation of the system requires more time and people than for a mature system. In 1989, operations cost per launch was $34 million (CY 94 $); by 1994 it increased to $54 million; and by 1999 it is projected to be $72 million. As the launch bases conduct further Titan IV launches and the system approaches FOC, the on-pad time should shrink, and the number of personnel, particularly those involved in Titan RDT&E, should diminish. If the number of Titan IV launches per year remains very small, the Study suggested that it would be appropriate to consider closing or putting into a backup mode one of the East Coast Titan IV launch pads.

Consolidation of Atlas and Titan operations includes cross-training crews for the Atlas LC-36A/B and Titan LC-40/41.

Titan LC-40/41

Titan mission preparations and launches occur at Launch Complexes 40 and 41 (LC-40 & LC-41) Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, but also can involve the adjoining Kennedy Space Center and offsite commercial operations. A mission requires facilities for stage preparation, vehicle assembly payload preparation, propellant storage and loading, launch and mission control and, of course, a launch pad.

Commercial Titan missions employed most of the same procedures and facilities used for Air Force Titan launches. Under a contract signed with the US government in 1987, Martin-Marietta paid a fee for use of LC-40 each time a Commercial Titan was launched. Payloads may move through a commercial payload servicing center next to Canaveral Air Force Station or through government facilities. depending on the processing needs of the payload and the availability of commercial facilities.

The concept of the "integrate-transfer-launch" sequence, usually abbreviated as the "ITL" system, was one of the most important advances included in development of the Titan III space vehicle system. Assembling and checking out the complete launch vehicle relatively close to the launch pad and then transferring in on a mobile platform to the launching pad in a "ready to go" status resolved the problem posed by the superficial expedient of building more launch stands, even if there were sufficient land in the right places and enough money. The first preliminary Titan III development plan, submitted to the defense engineering office on 5 October 1961, recommended construction of "ITL" launch facilities at both the Atlantic and Pacific Missile Ranges. It was estimated that the system would permit up to 75 launches a year from two launch pads. This launching rate, if conducted by means of conventional launch procedures, would cost at least $80 million a year more than those performed with the new system. These savings were possible because the "ITL" concept was an application of industrial engineering principles and assembly-line procedures (insofar as they are practical) to the design of entire ground systems for launching space it vehicles.

Pad 40 was completed first and then pad 41, farther north, was finished to complete the entire ITL construction program. Pad 42, planned but not funded, could be added later if future operations so required. The third launch pad, LC-42, was never built and probably could not be today, due to environmental restrictions and proximity to STS LC-39A.

Titan vehicle processing is accomplished at the Titan Integrate, Transfer, and Launch (ITL) facility, a complex designed with a number of advantages over other launch systems, including quick reaction time, vehicle configuration flexibility capability to accommodate a variety of payloads without extensive modifications, and vehicle launch rates. This facility eliminates the necessity for vehicles to occupy the launch pad for long time periods before launch. The ITL consists of the vertical integration building (VIB), the solid rocket motor assembly building (SMAB), solid motor assembly and readiness building (SMARF), the tank car holding area (TCHA), the motor inert storage building (MISB) and receiving areas, and Launch Complexes 40 and 41.

The complex was originally designed for a "high" launch rate; however, no requirement evolved and high launch rate was Centaur launches from Pad 41 and were 19 and 15 days apart. Through the years the launch rate capability has been degraded by:

Safety requirements associated with fueled spacecraft precluded integration in the VIB, therefore, payload integration and failing installation is at the pad for current operations;

The solid Motor Assembly Building has been assigned to other joint usages, i.e., Shuttle Payload Integration and IUS processing. These reduce through-put potential for SRM build-up by eliminating storage space and creating security and hazardous operations limitations;

Solid motors for T-IV are too heavy for the railbed, therefore, the top segments are installed at the pad where final SRM checkout is then accomplished;

Logistics support, i.e., major component spares provisioning has never been adequate to support rapid flows, and cannibalism has been a common practice;

Due primarily to low processing rates and long time spans, the extent of testing on the launch pad is much greater than originally planned.

The Commercial Titan program baselined a higher launch rate by performing payload assembly, test and "encapsulation" in its pairing at a remote location off-line. Commercial Titan (T-III) became operational in 1990 using ITL with LC-40.

Launch rates attainable at CCAFS with current assets depend on various ground rules and assumptions but are generally about 4 Titan IV's and 5 Titan III's per year with single shift, 5 day weeks except during the last few weeks at the launch pad. In general, there will be as many as 4 Titans in flows at any one time. SRM NDT requirements and facilities are not fully resolved and may become a determining factor in the near term.

Current studies indicate that a higher launch rate for Titan IV's could be achieved by:

Building an upgraded Solid Motor Assembly Building with adequate height and storage to enable efficient multi-shift stacking and storage. The Solid Rocket Motor Upgrade (SRMU) with fewer segments will reduce SRM stacking time.

Assignment of all VIB cells to exclusive Titan core build-up and checkout would enable the continuation of build-up activity in the absence of a transporter and could shorten recycle times for transporters in the VIB integrated test cells.

Performing T-IV payload encapsulation off-line can reduce LC-41 pad time as has been planned for T-III.

Reduction in launch pad test (retest) activity can further shorten the time on the pad. In the past, extensive pad tests to restor confidence resulted partially from elapsed times since similar VIB tests.

Spares provisioning to enable a more compatible LRU philosophy can take many trouble-shooting and anomaly resolution problems off-line.

It is believed that a launch rate of 8 to 10 per year each of Titan IV and commercial Titan is technically achievable at CCAFS if the above areas are worked extensively.

Due to a decrease in launch rate, a study is underway to evaluate the shared use of the excess capacity of the Integrate-Transfer-Launch (ITL) area constructed for the Titan program in the 1960s to support medium launch vehicles (MLVs). This option contemplates the sharing of flight hardware processing/launch facilities which do not contain a launch control function. As a result, this option has no impact on the Delta program's current plans to build a new facility (Delta Launch Operations Facility - DLOF) to relocate the Delta launch control function from the blockhouse at space launch complex 17 to the DLOF. This study will address the funding required to modify the Titan facilities for use by the Delta program as well as any potential schedule impacts between the two programs. Implementation could saves $120 million by not refurbishing Delta launch complex. (circa 2000), with additional saving of a portion of O&M costs for Delta infrastructure (circa 2000). This would achieve efficiency by consolidating resources, using proven, reliable, under utilized facilities and conserving valuable real estate at CCAFS. In addition, it would maintain the capacity and flexibility of existing infrastructure to support Titan.

Titan SLC-4

Titan support facilities are located in buildings on both North and South Vandenberg AFB. The vehicles are launched from Space Launch Complex 4 (SLC-4) which is located on SVAFB. SLC-4 consists of an east and a west launch pad; Titan IV is launched from SLC-4E and Titan II are launched from SLC-4W. Currently, SLC-4W is not configured to launch Titans with solid rocket motors.

The core vehicle is received, prepared, and tested on NVAFB in the Vehicle Assembly Building (Building 8401) and is then transported to SLC-4. The payload fairings are also prepared on NVAFB before being transported to SLC-4. The SRM segments are received, inspected, assembled, and tested on SVAFB in the Receipt, Inspection, and Storage (RIS) facility. Payload processing occurs on SVAFB in the Payload Processing Room at SLC-6, which was originally built for the Space Shuttle program and the payload fairing is processed on NVAFB in the Payload Fairing Processing Facility (Building 8337) before being transported to SLC-4.

Preparation of the vehicle at the range consists of several steps. Each of the individual vehicle components are received, inspected, and prepared for assembly. The core vehicle (Stages I and II) are erected and tested. A combined systems test (CST) of the core vehicle is then run. Then the SRMs are built up, tested, and mated to the core vehicle. The payload pairing, a protective covering for the payload (what one sees as the cone of the vehicle); is installed around the payload (this process is called encapsulation"). The encapsulated payload is then connected to the core vehicle and a CST for the whole vehicle is performed. Finally, the ordnance (e.g., explosive bolts for stage separation) are installed, the propellants loaded, and the vehicle is ready to be launched.

The mating of Stage I and Stage Il, the stacking of the SRM segments, and the mating of the SRMs to the core vehicle all occur at SLC-4, rather than at a VIB or SMAB as is done at LC-40/41. The mating of the third stage and the payload fairing, and the payload also occurs at SLC-4. The combined systems tests, ordnance installation, and vehicle fueling are completed at the launch pad.

The SLC-4E and SLC-4W vertical stack and integration is done on the pad with an advantage for a single launch span time relative to LC-40/41 operations, but with significant disadvantages for a sustained launch rate.

The original schedule for the completion of the Space Launch Complex 4E (SLC-4E) was 16 months after the launch pad was turned over for modification. The final schedule showed the facility being completed after 20 months of work. The impact was a delay in the first launch of a Titan IV from VAFB. After some initial problems regarding the availability of the steel and the quality of the bolts in the structure, the overall construction proceeded apace. The Umbilical Tower was completed and the initial Mobile Service Tower (MST) modules arrived at Vandenberg AFB (VAFB). The initial inspection of these modules shows excellent workmanship. The jacking tower is being erected which will allow for the installation of the modules. The schedule was behind what was originally planned but since the initial delays, it changed very little.

Titan SLC-7

In 1989, the Air Force proposed construction and operation of Space Launch Complex 7 (SLC-7) at Cypress Ridge on South Vandenberg Air Force Base (SVAFB), California. The facility would provide for processing and launch of the Titan IV/Centaur, an unmanned space vehicle: to support requirements for timely and reliable launch of critical Department of Defense (DOD) satellites from a location where highly inclined and polar orbits can be safely achieved; to provide capability to launch payloads in the 10,000 pound class to high energy, inclined orbits; and to maintain assured access to space by providing backup launch capability for the Titan IV/NUS (No Upper Stage).

VAFB covers about 98,400 acres of land bordering the Pacific Ocean. While this area is large, the sites available for new launch complexes are limited, due to factors including topography, access, environmental constraints, and proximity to other space launch complexes, since they must be spaced at appropriate distances according to the required Safety Clear Zone. Based upon these siting factors and mission requirements, appropriate sites for locating the SLC-7 complex were generally restricted to South VAFB. In this area, three sites in addition to the proposed Cypress Ridge site were selected for engineering and technical evaluation: SLC-6, Boathouse Flats, and Vina Terrace. The proposed Cypress Ridge and alternative Boathouse Flats and Vina Terrace sites are undeveloped and located in an area of South VAFB that is utilized for grazing.

Concepts being studied for SLC-7 initially provided an ITL concept for T-IV.