CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla. – The first and second stages of the last Titan IV-B to be launched from the Cape were rolled off of a C-5 Galaxy aircraft here May 1.

After being taken off the C-5, the stages were placed on large trailer trucks and transported to the Integrate, Transfer, and Launch Facility where the rocket will be prepared over an almost six-month period.

The arrival of these components was an emotional event for members of the launch team.

“Itís bittersweet!” said Tech. Sgt. Jeffry Evans, 3rd Space Launch Squadron, who works on maintenance of the Titan IV rockets. He added that it was sad to see the off-loading because it was the last time heíll experience the entire process of a new Titan arriving for launch.

“Sometimes I hear about pilots using the Global Positioning Satellite or Defense Support Program satellites and Iím proud of what Iím doing to help accomplish the mission,” said Capt. Craig Dumas, also of the 3rd SLS and the deputy launch crew commander for the Titan’s final flight from the Cape.

When the final mission is flown sometime in 2003, it will be carrying almost 50 years of Titan history with it. Titan rockets have been tested as ICBMs and used to launch payloads into space from the Cape since the 1950s.

This last Titan mission from the Cape will put a DSP satellite into orbit. The last Titan is scheduled to launch from Vandenberg AFB, Calif., in 2005.

The Titan IV is the Air Force’s largest space launch vehicle. It’s capable of carrying payloads weighing up to 10,000 pounds into synchronous orbit from the Cape. Once the last Titan IV-B mission is flown, payloads in this weight class will be flown on the new Atlas V or Delta IV space launch vehicles.