Encyclopedia Astronautica
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.

Failures: 1. First Fail Date: 1963-11-19. Last Fail Date: 1963-11-19.

AKA: VE110.
Gross mass: 3,200 kg (7,000 lb).
Height: 8.50 m (27.80 ft).
Diameter: 0.80 m (2.62 ft).
Thrust: 186.00 kN (41,814 lbf).
Apogee: 20 km (12 mi).
First Launch: 1961.06.03.
Last Launch: 1964.04.20.
Number: 12 .

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
Associated Engines
  • Mammouth French solid rocket engine. 190 kN. 1900 kg 'Plastolite' propellant. Empty mass estimated. Originally developed as the booster for the SSBT missile. Isp=180s. Used on Agate launch vehicle. First flight 1961. More...

See also
  • 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...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • SEREB French manufacturer of rocket engines and rockets. SEREB, France. 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...

Associated Stages
  • Rubis Solid rocket stage. 190.00 kN (42,714 lbf) thrust. Mass 2,000 kg (4,409 lb). More...

Agate Chronology


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).

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 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).

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 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).

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