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Diamant
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Diamants
Diamants
Credit: © Mark Wade
French orbital launch vehicle. In December 1961 France decided to demonstrate an indigenous satellite-launch capability, using stages in development for its ballistic missile program. Following careful evolutionary development, Diamant was successful on its first attempt in 1965. Improved versions were flown over the next ten years. Although France abandoned the planned ICBM for the solid-propellant SSBS, Diamant technology was used in the European Europa and Ariane launch vehicles.

Status: Retired 1975.


More at: Diamant.

Subtopics

Emeraude VE121 Emeraude was a step toward larger liquid propellant launch vehicles, building on the Veronique and Vesta experience. It burned 12.8 metric tons nitric acid/turpentine pressure-fed propellants in 91 seconds. The engine was gimbaled for pitch and yaw control, with aerodynamic fins controlling roll. In anticipation of the next step, Saphir, a dummy Topaze stage topped the vehicle to confirm aerodynamic characteristics. The first three launches were failures due to propellant sloshing. This was remedied in the later tests.

Saphir VE231 Saphir was the penultimate step in the 'precious stones' series. The variants of the two-stage vehicle were designed to allow testing of radio-controlled guidance (VE231P), inertial guidance (VE231G), and warhead separation and re-entry of an ablative RV (VE231R). Addition of a third stage would transform Saphir into the Diamant satellite launcher.

Diamant A Diamant development could be done relatively quickly using stages and systems being developed for strategic missiles. In May 1962 CNES selected DMA as program manager, with SEREB as the prime contractor. The Diamant orbital launch vehicle was created by replacing the payload of the existing Saphir test vehicle with a new third stage. Prior to any all-up satellite launch attempt the P064 third stage was flight tested on the smaller suborbital Rubis test vehicle. This evolutionary approach paid off.

Diamant B As a follow-on to the Diamant-A, CNES decided to evolve a more capable launch vehicle. The Diamant-B used a new first stage with 50% more propellants and 33% more thrust; the same second stage; and a fatter third stage. Six Diamant-B boosters were ordered. Originally four of these were to be used to test the Europa 2 launch vehicle's Perigee-Apogee System. These tests were cancelled and instead CNES used five of the six boosters for orbital attempts.

Diamant BP.4 In January 1972 a further evolution, the Diamant BP.4, was authorized. The second stage was replaced with the P4 Rita motor developed for the MSBS SLBM. The larger 1.38 m diameter fairing developed for the British Black Arrow launcher allowed larger payloads to be accommodated. Three launches of the BP.4 in 1975 completed the Diamant saga.

Family: orbital launch vehicle. Country: France. Engines: Topaze, Vexin B. Spacecraft: Asterix, D, Diadem, Dial MIKA, DIAL WIKA, Peole, Starlette. Stages: P6. Agency: SEREB. Bibliography: 126, 2, 279, 34, 572, 6.
Photo Gallery

Diamant A Diamant A
Diamant A - COSPAR 1965-096


Diamant 2Diamant 2


Diamant ADiamant A
Credit: © Mark Wade


Diamant BDiamant B


Diamant B Diamant B
Diamant B - COSPAR 1970-109


Diamant BP.4 Diamant BP.4
Diamant BP.4 - COSPAR 1975-039


Diamant BDiamant B
Credit: © Mark Wade



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