Encyclopedia Astronautica
Centaure 1


French sounding rocket.

Gross mass: 600 kg (1,320 lb).
Height: 5.90 m (19.30 ft).
Diameter: 0.28 m (0.91 ft).
Apogee: 130 km (80 mi).
First Launch: 1968.05.20.
Last Launch: 1972.04.08.
Number: 9 .

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
See also
  • Belier Family of sounding rockets, developed by Sud Aviation, with the only or upper stage being variants of the Belier stage powered by a Jericho rocket motor. These were the most significant series of French civilian suborbital rockets. Manufacturing licenses were sold to India and Pakistan, becoming the basis of their rocket industries. More...

Associated Launch Sites
  • 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...
  • Sonmiani Sounding rocket launch location known to have been used for 90 launches from 1962 to 2007, reaching up to 423 kilometers altitude. More...
  • Kiruna The sounding rocket launch site at Kiruna was officially opened in September 1966 under the auspices of ESRO (European Space Research Organisation). When ESA was created in 1972 and replaced ESRO, Kiruna came under the management of the Swedish Space Corporation, a state-owned limited liability company under the Swedish Ministry of Industry. The 'Esrange' is located 45 km from the town of Kiruna and has seven permanent pads able to launch the largest sounding rockets, including the Black Brant 9, Skylark 12, and Castor 4B-boosted vehicles. More...
  • Kourou After the agreement with newly independent Algeria for France to evacuate their launch sites in that country, a location near Biscarosse was selected for French missile testing. However since only launches westwards across the Bay of Biscay could be made from this site, it was unsuitable for France's Diamant orbital launch vehicle. After reviewing 14 potential sites, a location in the South American French colony of Guiana was selected. This would allow over-water launches to a tremendous range of possible orbital inclinations -- from -100.5 deg to 1.5 deg. Being near the equator, it would provide the maximum assist from the earth's rotation for launches into equatorial orbits. The decision was formalized in April 1964 and in July 1966 ELDO chose the site for future launches of the Europa II launch vehicle. More...
  • Kourou ALFS Veronique, Stromboli, Skua, Cajun, Belier, Arcas launch complex. Aire de Lancement Fusee-Sondes More...

Associated Stages
  • Dragon-2 Solid rocket stage. 20.00 kN (4,496 lbf) thrust. Mass 300 kg (661 lb). More...

Centaure 1 Chronology


1968 May 20 - . 15:51 GMT - . Launch Site: Kiruna. Launch Complex: Kiruna C. LV Family: Belier. Launch Vehicle: Centaure 1. LV Configuration: Centaure 1 CE-38.
  • ESRO C42 / 1 Meteorites mission - . Nation: Europe. Agency: ESRO. Apogee: 135 km (83 mi).

1968 June 7 - . 15:25 GMT - . Launch Site: Kiruna. Launch Complex: Kiruna C. LV Family: Belier. Launch Vehicle: Centaure 1. LV Configuration: Centaure 1 CE-44.
  • ESRO C42 / 2 Meteorites mission - . Nation: Europe. Agency: ESRO. Apogee: 138 km (85 mi).

1969 July 10 - . 12:31 GMT - . Launch Site: Ile du Levant. LV Family: Belier. Launch Vehicle: Centaure 1. LV Configuration: Centaure 1 C81.
  • CNES C81 Aeronomy mission - . Nation: France. Agency: CNES. Apogee: 109 km (67 mi).

1969 July 10 - . 17:50 GMT - . Launch Site: Ile du Levant. LV Family: Belier. Launch Vehicle: Centaure 1. LV Configuration: Centaure 1 C82.
  • CNES C82 Aeronomy mission - . Nation: France. Agency: CNES. Apogee: 114 km (70 mi).

1971 September 13 - . Launch Site: Kourou. Launch Complex: Kourou ALFS. LV Family: Belier. Launch Vehicle: Centaure 1. LV Configuration: Centaure 1 C133.
  • CNES C133 Aeronomy mission - . Nation: France. Agency: CNES. Apogee: 150 km (90 mi).

1971 September 19 - . 22:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Kourou. Launch Complex: Kourou ALFS. LV Family: Belier. Launch Vehicle: Centaure 1. LV Configuration: Centaure 1 C132.
  • CNES C132 Aeronomy mission - . Nation: France. Agency: CNES. Apogee: 150 km (90 mi).

1971 September 19 - . 22:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Kourou. Launch Complex: Kourou ALFS. LV Family: Belier. Launch Vehicle: Centaure 1. LV Configuration: Centaure 1 C146.
  • CNES C146 Aeronomy mission - . Nation: France. Agency: CNES. Apogee: 150 km (90 mi).

1972 April 7 - . 14:20 GMT - . Launch Site: Sonmiani. LV Family: Belier. Launch Vehicle: Centaure 1. LV Configuration: Centaure 1 Rehbar 23.
  • Aeronomy / ionosphere mission - . Nation: Pakistan. Agency: SUPARCO. Apogee: 150 km (90 mi).

1972 April 8 - . 14:18 GMT - . Launch Site: Sonmiani. LV Family: Belier. Launch Vehicle: Centaure 1. LV Configuration: Centaure 1 Rehbar 24.
  • Aeronomy / ionosphere mission - . Nation: Pakistan. Agency: SUPARCO. Apogee: 150 km (90 mi).

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