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Diamant: Wikis


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Diamant P6230215.JPG
Function Small launch vehicle
Manufacturer SEREB
Country of origin France
Height A: 18.95 m
B: 23.5 m
BP4: 21.6 m (A: 62.17 ft
B: 77 ft
BP4: 70.7 ft)
Diameter 1.34 m (4.39 ft)
Mass 18,400 kg (40,500 lb)
Stages 3
Payload to LEO 160 kg (350 lb)
Launch history
Status Retired
Launch sites A: Hammaguir
B/BP4: Kourou
Total launches 12 (A :4, B: 5, BP4: 3)
Successes 9 (A: 3, B: 3, BP4: 3)
Failures 3 (A: 1, B: 2)
Maiden flight A: 26 November 1965
B:10 March 1970
BP4:6 February 1975
Last flight A: 15 February 1967
B:21 May 1973
BP4: 27 September 1975
First stage (Diamant A) - Emeraude
Engines 4 Vexin B
Thrust 301.55 kN (67,791 lbf)
Specific impulse 221 sec
Burn time 93 seconds
Fuel N2O4/UDMH
First stage (Diamant B/BP4) - L-17
Engines 4 Vexin C
Thrust 396.52 kN (89,142 lbf)
Specific impulse 221 sec
Burn time 110 seconds
Fuel N2O4/UDMH
Second stage (Diamant A/B) - Topaze
Engines 1 Solid
Thrust 120.082 kN (26,996 lbf)
Specific impulse 255 sec
Burn time 39 seconds
Fuel Solid
Second stage (Diamant BP4) - P-4
Engines 1 Solid
Thrust 176 kN (39,566 lbf)
Specific impulse 273 sec
Burn time 55 seconds
Fuel Solid
Third stage (Diamant A) - P-6
Engines 1 Solid
Thrust 29.4 kN (6,609 lbf)
Specific impulse 211 sec
Burn time 39 seconds
Fuel Solid
Third stage (Diamant B/BP4) - P-6
Engines 1 Solid
Thrust 50 kN (11,240 lbf)
Specific impulse 211 sec
Burn time 46 seconds
Fuel Solid

The Diamant rocket (diamant is French for "diamond") was the first exclusively French expendable launch system and at the same time the first satellite launcher not built by either USA or USSR. As such it is the main predecessor of all subsequent European launcher projects.
It was derived from the military program Pierres précieuses (fr.: gemstones) that included the five prototypes Agathe, Topaze, Emeraude, Rubis et Saphir (Agate, Topaz, Emerald, Ruby and Sapphire). Out of 12 launch attempts between 1965 and 1975, 9 were successful. Most notably it was used to put Astérix, the first French satellite, into orbit on November 26, 1965. Despite the success, France stopped its national launcher program in favor of the European Ariane launcher in 1975.
Three successive versions of the Diamant rocket were developed, designated A, B and BP4. All versions had three stages and a payload of approximately 150 kg for a 200 km orbit.


Diamant A

This was the first version of the Diamant rocket. It was used to launch the Astérix and subsequently three other small satellites during 1965-67 from the base at Hammaguir in Algeria. Remarkably for a newly developed system, all four attempted launched were partly successful, the only failure occurring on the second launch when the payload was inserted into a lower orbit than planned. It possessed a first stage of 10 m, 1.4 meters in diameter, and a weight of 14.7 metric tons. Their engines of the type LRBA Vexin supplied a thrust of 269 kN for 93 seconds. The second stage was 4.7 meters long and had a diameter of 80 centimeters. It weighed 2.9 metric tons and developed a thrust of 165 kN for a duration of 44 seconds. The third stage of 2.65 m in diameter. Its weight amounted to 709 kilograms. It burned for 45 seconds and developed a thrust of 27 kN to 53 kN. Completely installed, a Diamond A was 18.95 meters high and weighed 18.4 metric tons.

Diamant B

An improved version of the Diamant A with a more powerful first stage. Five satellite launches were attempted between 1970 and 1973, of which the last two failed. All launches took place from Kourou in French Guyana, which thus became established as the sole French and European spaceport, a status that it still holds today (2008).

Its first stage was 14.2 meters long, had a diameter of 1.4 meters and weighed 20.1 metric tons. Its engine developed a thrust of 316 kN to 400 kN (as a function of the flight altitude) for 116 seconds. The second stage the Diamond B corresponded to that the Diamond A. The third stage was 1.67 meters long and had a diameter of 80 centimeters. It developed a thrust of 24 kN for 46 seconds. Completely assembled a Diamond B was 23.5 meters high and weighed 24.6 metric tons.

Diamant BP4

This version incorporated a new second stage, while carrying the first and third stages over from its predecessor. It performed three successful launches in 1975, putting a total of four satellites into orbit. Its second stage, which was derived from the MSBS rocket, was 2.28 meters long and 1.5 meters in diameter and developed a thrust of 180 kN for 55 seconds.

Launch list

Date Type Launch Site Payload Remarks
November 26, 1965 Diamant A Hammaguir Asterix
February 17, 1966 Diamant A Hammaguir Diapason
February 8, 1967 Diamant A Hammaguir Diadème 1 partial failure, orbit too low
February 15, 1967 Diamant A Hammaguir Diadème 2
March 10, 1970 Diamant B Kourou Mika/Wika
December 12, 1970 Diamant B Kourou Péole
April 15, 1971 Diamant B Kourou Tournesol
December 6, 1971 Diamant B Kourou Polaire second stage failed
May 21, 1972 Diamant B Kourou Castor/Pollux fairing not separated
February 6, 1975 Diamant BP4 Kourou Starlette
May 17, 1975 Diamant BP4 Kourou Castor/Pollux
September 27, 1975 Diamant BP4 Kourou Aura

External links

  • [1] (french language page with history on french/ESA rockets)
  • Precious stone (Series of French rockets built in the 1950s-1960's)


Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

See also diamant




Diamant m. (genitive Diamanten, plural Diamanten)

  1. diamond (uncountable, allotrope of carbon)
  2. diamond (gemstone)


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