The last Titan rocket blasted off from California’s Central Coast on Wednesday, signaling the end of an era as the U.S. military converts to cheaper space boosters. The 16-story-tall unmanned Titan IV carried a secret payload for the National Reconnaissance Office, which oversees the nation’s constellation of spy satellites. Like previous Titan missions, the purpose of the latest launch was classified. About 3,000 spectators and military dignitaries gathered at Vandenberg Air Force Base, north of Los Angeles, to watch the historic launch around 11 a.m. PDT. “The Titan has been the backbone of heavy launch for many, many years,” said Walt Yager, vice president of the Titan program at Denver-based Lockheed Martin Corp., which developed the rocket. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week “It’s a loss to a lot of people, but everybody recognizes that even good things end sometimes,” Yager continued. “The Titan has served the country very valiantly over the years.” The latest liftoff marked the 368th time the United States has sent a Titan rocket into space. Of those, 200 voyages originated at Vandenberg. In April, spectators gathered at Cape Canaveral, Fla., to bid farewell to the final Titan rocket launch there.