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Mon, May 02, 2005

Florida Sees Last Titan Flight

Hundreds To Be Laid Off

The last Titan to be launched from Cape Canaveral blasted into space Friday night while many watched. It thundered up and away from the pad into the clear sky at 8:50 p.m. carrying a satellite for the National Reconnaissance Office. About 300 workers will lose their jobs in 60 days.

"With our customers, we share a tremendous pride in this successful flight, tempered only by our sense of sadness as the proud history of Titan here at Cape Canaveral comes to a close for our team," said G. Thomas Marsh, executive vice president of Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company in a news release. "It is always impressive to hear the roar of a Titan IV as it streaks into space, but this rocket got help in getting off the ground by the hard work, prayers and wishes of thousands of employees and retirees whose dedication to mission success is unparalleled."

Col. Michael T. Baker, director, Launch Programs, Space and Missile Systems Center, Air Force Space Command, said, "Titan has performed honorably by providing us strategic deterrence in the form of the Titan ICBMs, helping us explore our universe by launching NASA missions like Cassini, assisting our manned space activities by launching NASA's Gemini test flights and supporting our national decision makers and our warfighters in the field by deploying spacecraft such as the one launched tonight. The men and women of the Martin Marietta Corporation, now Lockheed Martin Space Systems, have much to be proud of. The Air Force is grateful to have been a part of this wonderfully successful program."

One final Titan is planned to launch from Vandenburg AFB this summer, bringing an end to an era, along with the end of several hundred jobs. About 300 Lockheed Martin workers will lose their jobs 60 days after launch. Another 125 will be in the same boat over the next year as the program is shut down. This remaining crew will secure the rocket facilities and pad.

Lockheed Martin has hosted job fairs to help the workers find new jobs either in the area or perhaps within the company. Unfortunately, most of those positions are not in the area for those who have been in the company and the community for many years. Still, many of those employees are hoping to stay with the company.

FMI: www.lockheedmartin.com

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