Museum To Restore 200-Foot Titan 4B Space Launch Vehicle

Sep 01, 2014 09:34 AM EDT | Jordan Ecarma

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The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force will soon feature its biggest exhibit yet: a Titan 4B space launch vehicle that will have to be displayed horizontally since it's too tall for the museum's ceiling.

Slated to be part of a new exhibit in the museum's fourth building, which is expected to open in 2016, the Titan 4B has been stored in huge pieces in a Wright-Patterson Air Force Base hangar near Dayton, the reported.

The Titan 4B, which is almost twice as tall as similar vehicles at the museum, is an important artifact that will help relate the history of American space efforts from 1959 to 2005, a 50-year period defined by Titan rockets.

"The Titan 4B and the exhibit space around it will be crucial for telling the USAF space story," Dr. Doug Lantry, project manager for the new Space Gallery to be featured in the fourth building, said in a . "These exhibits are important because they illustrate what the USAF has done in space to defend our nation, how those jobs were and are done and by whom, and how the science, technology, engineering and mathematics of space work in the context of national defense history."

When it was whole, the Titan 4B stood at more than 200 feet tall.

"This is the largest artifact we have ever restored," Greg Hassler, a supervisor in the Restoration Division, said in a statement. "Just one of its solid rocket motor units weighs 75,000 pounds, with a diameter of 10 and a half feet."

From 1959 to 2005, more than 350 Titans were launched altogether. The Titan rocket family comprised two models of intercontinental ballistic missiles as well as several variously configured types of space launch vehicles.

The giant pieces of the Titan 4B have been shifted into the museum's restoration hangars as the staff prepares to start the huge project. 

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