Encyclopedia Astronautica
VE



zaigle.jpg
Aigle
Aigle
Series of Experimental Vehicles (VE's), each named after precious stones, leading to the MSBS/SSBS solid propellant missiles that made up the French nuclear deterrent.

In 1959 French President de Gaulle approved development of a national deterrent force that included silo-based and submarine-based solid propellant ballistic missiles. A series of test rockets, based on available French solid propellant motors, would be necessary to prove thrust vectoring, solid propellant chemistry, control, guidance, and re-entry vehicles for the operational missiles. In September 1959 SEREB (Societe pour l'Etude et la Realisation d'Engins Balistiques) was created as a private company for development of these test vehicles and ballistic missiles. A basic ballistic research (EBB) program was carried using a series of Experimental Vehicles (VE's), each named after precious stones. These were flown in the 1960's, with a short-term result being the Diamant, France's interim satellite launch vehicle.

More... - Chronology...


Associated Launch Vehicles
  • Aigle VE10 The Aigle's simple mission was to allow test of the telemetry equipment that would be used on later instrumented warheads. The first version of the Aigle was a simple fin-stabilised solid rocket propelled by a Stromboli SEPR 737 loaded with 984 kg of 'Plastolite' propellant. More...
  • VE Series of Experimental Vehicles (VE's), each named after precious stones, leading to the MSBS/SSBS solid propellant missiles that made up the French nuclear deterrent. More...
  • VE9 First test rocket in the series leading to French IRBM's. The VE 9 instrumented warhead was boosted twice in 1960 and 1961 by a SEPR 732, motor, 55 cm in diameter. his had been developed as the booster for the SE.4400 Surface-to-Air Missile and was the most powerful French solid propellant motor available at that time. More...
  • Agate The Agate was the first of the 'precious stone' series of French rockets leading to the Diamant satellite launcher. The single-stage vehicle used the NA801 Mammouth solid propellant rocket developed originally for the SSBT program. The purpose of the fin-stabilised unguided rocket was to test the recoverable instrument pod planned for later missile tests. The Agate R / VE110RR version was used to develop recovery procedures at sea. More...
  • Topaze VE111 Topaze was the first guided rocket in the French 'precious stones' series. As such it was the first launched from a pad rather than a ramp. The initial model was the VE111C (short) with the NA802 motor. More...
  • Aigle VE10A The VE10A used an improved, lightened version of the Stromboli booster. More...
  • Topaze VE111L French test vehicle. The VE111L (long) used the stretched NA803 motor. The VE111L was successfully demonstrated the thrust vectoring concept over a longer burn period. The last two flights were VE111LG configuration, equipped with all-up inertial navigation systems. 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...

VE Chronology


1960 December 17 - . Launch Site: Hammaguira. Launch Complex: Hammaguira Bacchus. LV Family: VE. Launch Vehicle: Aigle VE10.
  • Test mission - . Nation: France. Agency: ONERA. Apogee: 20 km (12 mi).

1960 December 19 - . Launch Site: Hammaguira. Launch Complex: Hammaguira Bacchus. LV Family: VE. Launch Vehicle: Aigle VE10.
  • Test mission - . Nation: France. Agency: ONERA. Apogee: 20 km (12 mi).

1961 March 16 - . Launch Site: Hammaguira. Launch Complex: Hammaguira Bacchus. LV Family: VE. Launch Vehicle: Aigle VE10.
  • Test mission - . Nation: France. Agency: ONERA. Apogee: 20 km (12 mi).

1961 March 21 - . Launch Site: Hammaguira. Launch Complex: Hammaguira Bacchus. LV Family: VE. Launch Vehicle: Aigle VE10.
  • Test mission - . Nation: France. Agency: ONERA. Apogee: 20 km (12 mi).

1961 June 3 - . Launch Site: Hammaguira. Launch Complex: Hammaguira Bacchus. LV Family: VE. Launch Vehicle: Agate.
  • Test mission - . Nation: France. Agency: ONERA. Apogee: 20 km (12 mi).

1961 June 7 - . Launch Site: Hammaguira. Launch Complex: Hammaguira Bacchus. LV Family: VE. Launch Vehicle: Agate.
  • Test mission - . Nation: France. Agency: ONERA. Apogee: 20 km (12 mi).

1961 November 13 - . Launch Site: Hammaguira. Launch Complex: Hammaguira Bacchus. LV Family: VE. Launch Vehicle: Agate.
  • Test mission - . Nation: France. Agency: ONERA. Apogee: 20 km (12 mi).

1961 November 17 - . Launch Site: Hammaguira. Launch Complex: Hammaguira Bacchus. LV Family: VE. Launch Vehicle: Agate.
  • Test mission - . Nation: France. Agency: ONERA. Apogee: 20 km (12 mi).

1962 March 19 - . Launch Site: Hammaguira. Launch Complex: Hammaguira Bacchus. LV Family: VE. Launch Vehicle: Agate.
  • Test mission - . Nation: France. Agency: ONERA. Apogee: 20 km (12 mi).

1962 March 23 - . Launch Site: Hammaguira. Launch Complex: Hammaguira Bacchus. LV Family: VE. Launch Vehicle: Agate.
  • Test mission - . Nation: France. Agency: ONERA. Apogee: 20 km (12 mi).

1962 December 19 - . Launch Site: Hammaguira. Launch Complex: Hammaguira Bacchus. LV Family: VE. Launch Vehicle: Topaze VE111. LV Configuration: Topaze VE111 C3.
  • Test mission - . Nation: France. Agency: ONERA. Apogee: 80 km (49 mi).

1963 March 5 - . Launch Site: Hammaguira. Launch Complex: Hammaguira Brigitte. LV Family: VE. Launch Vehicle: Aigle VE10A.
  • Test mission - . Nation: France. Agency: ONERA. Apogee: 20 km (12 mi).

1963 March 22 - . Launch Site: Hammaguira. Launch Complex: Hammaguira Bacchus. LV Family: VE. Launch Vehicle: Topaze VE111. LV Configuration: Topaze VE111 C4.
  • Test mission - . Nation: France. Agency: ONERA. Apogee: 80 km (49 mi).

1963 March 28 - . Launch Site: Hammaguira. Launch Complex: Hammaguira Bacchus. LV Family: VE. Launch Vehicle: Topaze VE111. LV Configuration: Topaze VE111 C7.
  • Test mission - . Nation: France. Agency: ONERA. Apogee: 80 km (49 mi).

1963 May 18 - . Launch Site: Hammaguira. Launch Complex: Hammaguira Brigitte. LV Family: VE. Launch Vehicle: Agate.
  • Test mission - . Nation: France. Agency: ONERA. Apogee: 20 km (12 mi).

1963 May 21 - . Launch Site: Hammaguira. Launch Complex: Hammaguira Brigitte. LV Family: VE. Launch Vehicle: Agate.
  • Test mission - . Nation: France. Agency: ONERA. Apogee: 20 km (12 mi).

1963 June 21 - . Launch Site: Hammaguira. Launch Complex: Hammaguira Bacchus. LV Family: VE. Launch Vehicle: Topaze VE111. LV Configuration: Topaze VE111 C9.
  • Test mission - . Nation: France. Agency: ONERA. Apogee: 80 km (49 mi).

1963 June 27 - . Launch Site: Hammaguira. Launch Complex: Hammaguira Bacchus. LV Family: VE. Launch Vehicle: Topaze VE111. LV Configuration: Topaze VE111 C8.
  • Test mission - . Nation: France. Agency: ONERA. Apogee: 80 km (49 mi).

1963 October 24 - . Launch Site: Hammaguira. Launch Complex: Hammaguira Bacchus. LV Family: VE. Launch Vehicle: Topaze VE111. LV Configuration: Topaze VE111 C10.
  • Test mission - . Nation: France. Agency: ONERA. Apogee: 80 km (49 mi).

1963 November 19 - . Launch Site: Ile du Levant. Launch Pad: CERES. LV Family: VE. Launch Vehicle: Agate. LV Configuration: Agate R. FAILURE: Failure.
  • Test mission - . Nation: France. Agency: ONERA. Apogee: 0 km ( mi).

1963 November 28 - . Launch Site: Ile du Levant. Launch Pad: CERES. LV Family: VE. Launch Vehicle: Agate. LV Configuration: Agate R.
  • Test mission - . Nation: France. Agency: ONERA. Apogee: 20 km (12 mi).

1963 December 21 - . Launch Site: Hammaguira. Launch Complex: Hammaguira Bacchus. LV Family: VE. Launch Vehicle: Topaze VE111L. LV Configuration: Topaze VE111L L1.
  • Test mission - . Nation: France. Agency: ONERA. Apogee: 110 km (60 mi).

1964 February 28 - . Launch Site: Ile du Levant. Launch Pad: CERES. LV Family: VE. Launch Vehicle: Agate. LV Configuration: Agate R.
  • Test mission - . Nation: France. Agency: ONERA. Apogee: 20 km (12 mi).

1964 March 11 - . Launch Site: Hammaguira. Launch Complex: Hammaguira Bacchus. LV Family: VE. Launch Vehicle: Topaze VE111L. LV Configuration: Topaze VE111L L2.
  • Test mission - . Nation: France. Agency: ONERA. Apogee: 110 km (60 mi).

1964 April 20 - . Launch Site: Ile du Levant. Launch Pad: CERES. LV Family: VE. Launch Vehicle: Agate. LV Configuration: Agate R.
  • Test mission - . Nation: France. Agency: ONERA. Apogee: 20 km (12 mi).

1964 June 4 - . Launch Site: Hammaguira. Launch Complex: Hammaguira Bacchus. LV Family: VE. Launch Vehicle: Topaze VE111. LV Configuration: Topaze VE111 Ci1.
  • MSBS test - . Nation: France. Agency: ONERA. Apogee: 80 km (49 mi). Summary: MSBS stability recovery test.

1964 October 21 - . Launch Site: Hammaguira. Launch Complex: Hammaguira Bacchus. LV Family: VE. Launch Vehicle: Topaze VE111. LV Configuration: Topaze VE111 Ci2.
  • MSBS test - . Nation: France. Agency: ONERA. Apogee: 80 km (49 mi). Summary: MSBS stability recovery test.

1964 November 2 - . Launch Site: Hammaguira. Launch Complex: Hammaguira Brigitte. LV Family: VE. Launch Vehicle: Aigle VE10A.
  • Test mission - . Nation: France. Agency: ONERA. Apogee: 20 km (12 mi).

1964 December 11 - . Launch Site: Hammaguira. Launch Complex: Hammaguira Bacchus. LV Family: VE. Launch Vehicle: Topaze VE111. LV Configuration: Topaze VE111 Ci3.
  • MSBS test - . Nation: France. Agency: ONERA. Apogee: 80 km (49 mi). Summary: MSBS stability recovery test.

1964 December 15 - . Launch Site: Hammaguira. Launch Complex: Hammaguira Bacchus. LV Family: VE. Launch Vehicle: Topaze VE111. LV Configuration: Topaze VE111 Ci4.
  • MSBS test - . Nation: France. Agency: ONERA. Apogee: 80 km (49 mi). Summary: MSBS stability recovery test.

1965 May 18 - . Launch Site: Hammaguira. Launch Complex: Hammaguira Bacchus. LV Family: VE. Launch Vehicle: Topaze VE111L. LV Configuration: Topaze VE111L LG1.
  • Test mission - . Nation: France. Agency: ONERA. Apogee: 100 km (60 mi).

1965 May 21 - . Launch Site: Hammaguira. Launch Complex: Hammaguira Bacchus. LV Family: VE. Launch Vehicle: Topaze VE111L. LV Configuration: Topaze VE111L LG2.
  • Test mission - . Nation: France. Agency: ONERA. Apogee: 100 km (60 mi).

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