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diamante, diamantito
The Diamant rocket Diamant is French for "diamond" was the first exclusively French expendable launch system and at the same time the first satellite launcher not built by either the United States or USSR As such it is the main predecessor of all subsequent European launcher projects It was derived from the military program Pierres précieuses fr: gemstones that included the five prototypes Agate, Topaze, Emeraude, Rubis and Saphir Agate, Topaz, Emerald, Ruby and Sapphire

Design of the Diamant began in 1962, as the inaugural spacecraft project of France's space agency, the CNES Out of 12 launch attempts between 1965 and 1975, 9 were successful Most notably, the Diamant was used to put the first French satellite, Astérix, into orbit on November 26, 1965 Despite the success, France abandoned its national launcher program in favor of the European Ariane launcher in 1975

Three successive versions of the Diamant rocket were developed, designated A, B and BP4 All versions had three stages and a payload of approximately 150 kg for a 200 km orbit


  • 1 Variants
    • 11 Diamant A
    • 12 Diamant B
    • 13 Diamant BP4
  • 2 Launch history
  • 3 See also
  • 4 External links


Diamant Aedit

Diamant A seen from the fairing in Musée de l'Air

This was the first version of the Diamant rocket It was used to launch the Astérix and subsequently three other small satellites during 1965-67 from the base at Hammaguir in Algeria Remarkably for a newly developed system, all four attempted launched were partly successful, the only failure occurring on the second launch when the payload was inserted into a lower orbit than planned It possessed a first stage of 10 m, 14 metres in diameter, and a weight of 147 metric tons Their engines of the type LRBA Vexin supplied a thrust of 269 kN for 93 seconds The second stage was 47 metres long and had a diameter of 80 centimetres It weighed 29 metric tons and developed a thrust of 165 kN for a duration of 44 seconds The third stage of 265 m in diameter Its weight amounted to 709 kilograms It burned for 45 seconds and developed a thrust of 27 kN to 53 kN Completely installed, a Diamond A was 1895 metres high and weighed 184 metric tons

Diamant Bedit

An improved version of the Diamant A with a more powerful first stage Five satellite launches were attempted between 1970 and 1973, of which the last two failed All launches took place from Kourou in French Guyana

Its first stage was 142 meters long, had a diameter of 14 meters and weighed 201 metric tons Its engine developed a thrust of 316 kN to 400 kN as a function of the flight altitude for 116 seconds The second stage the Diamond B corresponded to that the Diamond A The third stage was 167 meters long and had a diameter of 80 centimeters It developed a thrust of 24 kN for 46 seconds Completely assembled a Diamond B was 235 meters high and weighed 246 metric tons

Diamant BP4edit

This version incorporated a new second stage, while carrying the first and third stages over from its predecessor It performed three successful launches in 1975, putting a total of four satellites into orbit Its second stage, which was derived from the MSBS rocket, was 228 metres long and 15 metres in diameter and developed a thrust of 180 kN for 55 seconds

Launch historyedit

Diamant flights
Date Variant Payload Launch site Outcome Notes
November 26, 1965 Diamant A Asterix Hammaguir Success
February 17, 1966 Diamant A Diapason Hammaguir Success
February 8, 1967 Diamant A Diadème 1 Hammaguir Partial failure Orbit too low
February 15, 1967 Diamant A Diadème 2 Hammaguir Success
March 10, 1970 Diamant B Mika / Wika Kourou Success
December 12, 1970 Diamant B Péole Kourou Success
April 15, 1971 Diamant B Tournesol Kourou Success
December 6, 1971 Diamant B Polaire Kourou Failure Second stage failed
May 21, 1973 Diamant B Castor / Pollux Kourou Failure Fairing not separated
February 6, 1975 Diamant BP4 Starlette Kourou Success
May 17, 1975 Diamant BP4 Castor / Pollux Kourou Success
September 27, 1975 Diamant BP4 Aura Kourou Success

See alsoedit

  • Spaceflight portal
  • Aggregat 8
  • Comparison of orbital launchers families
  • French space program

External linksedit

  • Capcom eSpace French language page with history on French/ESA rockets
  • Encyclopedia Astronautica Diamant
  • Encyclopedia Astronautica Precious Stones series of French rockets built in the 1950s-1960s

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