When the Air Force's Titan III-C space launcher thundered off its launch pad recently from Cape Kennedy it gave the nation a weight-lifting capability substantially greater than that of any known Russian vehicle.
LS ROCKET ON LAUNCH PAD
CU ROCKET ON LAUNCH PAD
LS ROCKET READY FOR LAUNCH
MS ROCKET IN FLIGHT
LS ROCKET IN CLOUDS
LS BOOSTER SEPARATION
MS BOOSTER SEPARATION FROM ON-BOARD CAMERA
LS ROCKET CASES SPLASH IN OCEAN
MS ROCKET BUILD-UP (ARTWORK)
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Background: When the Air Force's Titan III-C space launcher thundered off its launch pad recently from Cape Kennedy, it gave the nation a weight-lifting capability substantially greater than that of any known Russian vehicle.The two 250-ton, solid-propellant rockets, which propelled the vehicle along the first 28 miles of its record-shattering flight, demonstrated a record surge of power for any space launch propulsion system.Clearing the umbilical tower within 4 seconds, the United Technology Centre-built solid boosters produced nearly 2 1/2 million pounds of thrust as they lifted the 700-ton rocket.As the Titan III-C approach speeds over 3,000 miles per hour, it slammed through the clouds and headed down range over the Atlantic Ocean.Precisely as programmed, the big boosters blasted themselves away from the centre core, allowing the rocket's liquid-fuelled first and second stages to inject the third stage and its payload into a nearly 100-mile high circular orbit.The empty solid rocket cases splashed into the ocean about 130 miles out to see less than 6 minutes after launch, creating two tremendous sonic booms during their descent.The success of the Titan III-C's solid-propellant boosters mean that payloads many times heavier than any yet sent aloft can be put in orbit by huge launch vehicles composed of clusters of large, segmented, solid propellant rockets.The segments, which have only to be locked together and equipped with a nozzle to become a complete rocket motor, may also be used for advanced missiles and as thrust augmentation units for other space vehicles.The rockets can be used with any number of power units from one to eight.For example, according to UTC the use of two seven-unit motors would increase the Titan III-C's launch thrust to 3 million pounds.When enormous power requirements are needed, the stacked units can be clustered to deliver more than 11 million pounds of thrust and push 50-ton payloads into space.