Encyclopedia Astronautica
Monica


French low-cost, three-stage, solid-propellant sounding rocket developed in France in the 1950's in support of the International Geophysical Year.

In 1952 France's CASDN (Comité d'Action Scientifique de Défense Nationale) ordered 15 Veronique sounding rockets through DEFA (Direction des Etudes et Fabrications d'Armement) for use during the International Geophysical Year. Budget cutbacks led to delays in the Veronique program, and in 1954 CASDN turned to ATEF company (Association Technique pour l'Etude des Fusees) to develop a low-cost, three-stage, solid-propellant alternative using the existing SEPR-35 sounding rocket design as a starting point. The SEPR-35's stage and stabilizing fin scheme was used as the starting point, but three solid rocket motors using newer-technology propellants were developed: the Melanie, using Plastolite for the booster; and Theodore and Oreste, using Epictete propellant for upper stages. The names of the stages formed into the acronym Meteo, by which the rocket was known at the time the first order for 50 ATEF-14 rockets was issued.. During the third launch campaign in June 1955, the rocket was renamed Monica.

A follow-on order for 15 rockets in 1956 was for new versions with larger upper stages, dubbed the Monica IV and V.

More... - Chronology...


Associated Launch Vehicles
  • Monica French low-cost, three-stage, solid-propellant sounding rocket developed in France in the 1950's in support of the International Geophysical Year. More...
  • Meteo French sounding rocket. Single stage vehicle. More...

Associated Launch Sites
  • Hammaguira The constellation of launch complexes and nuclear weapons test sites established by France in Algeria began with the Special Weapons Test Center (CIEES). This began operations at Colomb-Bechar, Algeria, on April 24, 1947. Development of the larger Veronique series required a new facility. This went into operation at Hammaguir, 120 km southwest of Colomb-Bechar, in May 1952. The evacuation of these launch sites was a condition of the final agreement signed in March 1962 that ended the Algerian Civil War. The sites continued in use until finally turned over to the Algerian government on 1 July 1967. French missile test activities moved to Biscarosse, in France, and orbital launches to Kourou, in French Guiana. Hammaguira was known to have been used for at least 271 launches from 1952 to 1967. More...
  • Ile du Levant In October 1950 a military missile test site was established at the French naval base on the Ile du Levant, an offshore island in the Mediterranean near Toulon. This was named CERES (Special Weapons Research and Tests Center) in 1952 and replaced a beach site at Pampelone used for ad-hoc launches since 1948. In 1968 it was expanded to include the La Renardiere site on Pont ST Mandrier and renamed CEM (Mediterranean Test Center). La Renardiere had been used in 1945 for testing the first French liquid propelled rocket, the EA 41. Ile du Levant was known to have been used for at least 111 launches from 1956 to 1969, reaching up to 270 kilometers altitude. More...

Monica Chronology


1955 February 25 - . Launch Site: Hammaguira. Launch Complex: Hammaguira CB. LV Family: Monica. Launch Vehicle: Monica I. LV Configuration: Monica I I.
  • Campaign 1 to Mar 7 test - . Nation: France. Agency: CASDN. Apogee: 40 km (24 mi).

1955 April 12 - . Launch Site: Hammaguira. Launch Complex: Hammaguira CB. LV Family: Monica. Launch Vehicle: Monica I. LV Configuration: Monica I I.
  • Campaign 2 to Apr 19 Test / aeronomy mission - . Nation: France. Agency: CASDN. Apogee: 40 km (24 mi).

1955 June 2 - . Launch Site: Hammaguira. Launch Complex: Hammaguira CB. LV Family: Monica. Launch Vehicle: Monica I. LV Configuration: Monica I I.
  • Campaign 3 to Jun 11 Test / aeronomy mission - . Nation: France. Agency: CASDN. Apogee: 40 km (24 mi).

1955 October 2 - . Launch Site: Hammaguira. Launch Complex: Hammaguira CB. LV Family: Monica. Launch Vehicle: Monica I. LV Configuration: Monica I I.
  • Campaign 4 to Oct 11 Test / aeronomy mission - . Nation: France. Agency: CASDN. Apogee: 40 km (24 mi).

1956 January 17 - . Launch Site: Hammaguira. Launch Complex: Hammaguira CB. LV Family: Monica. Launch Vehicle: Monica I. LV Configuration: Monica I I.
  • Campaign 5 to Feb 2 Test / release mission - . Nation: France. Agency: CASDN. Apogee: 40 km (24 mi).

1956 May 1 - . Launch Site: Ile du Levant. Launch Pad: CERES. LV Family: Monica. Launch Vehicle: Monica I. LV Configuration: Monica I I.
  • Test mission - . Nation: France. Agency: ATEF. Apogee: 90 km (55 mi).

1956 May 22 - . Launch Site: Ile du Levant. Launch Pad: CERES. LV Family: Monica. Launch Vehicle: Monica I. LV Configuration: Monica I I.
  • Campaign 6 to jun 13 test - . Nation: France. Agency: ATEF. Apogee: 90 km (55 mi).

1957 January 1 - . Launch Site: Ile du Levant. Launch Pad: CERES. LV Family: Monica. Launch Vehicle: Monica I.
  • Test mission - . Nation: France. Agency: ATEF. Apogee: 90 km (55 mi).

1957 February 1 - . Launch Site: Ile du Levant. Launch Pad: CERES. LV Family: Monica. Launch Vehicle: Monica I.
  • Test mission - . Nation: France. Agency: ATEF. Apogee: 90 km (55 mi).

1957 May 1 - . Launch Site: Ile du Levant. Launch Pad: CERES. LV Family: Monica. Launch Vehicle: Monica I.
  • Test mission - . Nation: France. Agency: ATEF. Apogee: 90 km (55 mi).

1957 May 28 - . Launch Site: Ile du Levant. Launch Pad: CERES. LV Family: Monica. Launch Vehicle: Monica I.
  • Test mission - . Nation: France. Agency: ATEF. Apogee: 90 km (55 mi).

1959 October 1 - . Launch Site: Ile du Levant. Launch Pad: CERES. LV Family: Monica. Launch Vehicle: Monica IV.
  • Test mission - . Nation: France. Agency: ATEF. Apogee: 90 km (55 mi).

1959 October 1 - . Launch Site: Ile du Levant. Launch Pad: CERES. LV Family: Monica. Launch Vehicle: Monica IV.
  • Test mission - . Nation: France. Agency: ATEF. Apogee: 90 km (55 mi).

1959 November 1 - . Launch Site: Hammaguira. LV Family: Monica. Launch Vehicle: Monica IV.
  • Test mission - . Nation: France. Agency: ATEF. Apogee: 90 km (55 mi).

1959 November 1 - . Launch Site: Hammaguira. LV Family: Monica. Launch Vehicle: Monica IV.
  • Test mission - . Nation: France. Agency: ATEF. Apogee: 90 km (55 mi).

1959 November 1 - . Launch Site: Hammaguira. LV Family: Monica. Launch Vehicle: Monica IV.
  • Test mission - . Nation: France. Agency: ATEF. Apogee: 90 km (55 mi).

1959 December 1 - . Launch Site: Hammaguira. LV Family: Monica. Launch Vehicle: Monica IV.
  • Test mission - . Nation: France. Agency: ATEF. Apogee: 90 km (55 mi).

1959 December 1 - . Launch Site: Hammaguira. LV Family: Monica. Launch Vehicle: Monica IV.
  • Test mission - . Nation: France. Agency: ATEF. Apogee: 90 km (55 mi).

1960 February 1 - . Launch Site: Hammaguira. LV Family: Monica. Launch Vehicle: Monica IV.
  • Test mission - . Nation: France. Agency: ATEF. Apogee: 90 km (55 mi).

1962 December 7 - . Launch Site: Hammaguira. LV Family: Monica. Launch Vehicle: Meteo-MD. LV Configuration: Meteo-MD MD-01/6 (106). FAILURE: Failure.
  • Aeronomy mission - . Nation: France. Agency: CNES. Apogee: 17 km (10 mi).

1962 December 7 - . Launch Site: Hammaguira. LV Family: Monica. Launch Vehicle: Meteo-MD. LV Configuration: Meteo-MD MD-01/5 (105). FAILURE: Failure.
  • Aeronomy mission - . Nation: France. Agency: CNES. Apogee: 21 km (13 mi).

1963 May 24 - . Launch Site: Hammaguira. LV Family: Monica. Launch Vehicle: Meteo-MD. LV Configuration: Meteo-MD MD-01/8 (108).
  • Aeronomy mission - . Nation: France. Agency: CNES. Apogee: 60 km (37 mi).

1963 May 29 - . Launch Site: Hammaguira. LV Family: Monica. Launch Vehicle: Meteo-MD. LV Configuration: Meteo-MD Meteo M1A 01.
  • Aeronomy mission - . Nation: France. Agency: CNES. Apogee: 60 km (37 mi).

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