Development of the Titan I first began in 1955 when the U. S. Air Force decided they needed a backup to their Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM), The Atlas, in case the program failed. They wanted a larger, two-stage missile that could travel further and carry a larger payload.
The Titan I strategic missile became the United States' first multi-stage ICBM, and although just a transitional missile, it played an important role to improving future Titans and other missiles.
Powered by liquid-fueled engines that could send the missile and its accompanying nuclear warhead to a range of about 6,000 miles, it relied on a radio-inertial missile guidance system to reach its intended target. This meant the missile's trajectory was determined from commands transmitted between the missile and the control room on the ground.
Fifty-four Titan Is were readied for launch in 1962 as a deterrent during the Cuban Missile Crisis, but their operational life was cut short by later missiles that used safer fuels and more advanced guidance systems. All Titan Is were phased out by 1965 and either scrapped or distributed to museums, schools, and other facilities. The SM-69, 61-4496, seen here is one of the several that were received for display.