Diamant A

   General Information


Maiden Flight:
Number Flown (Failures):
Reliability Rate:

Reported Launch Price:
Société pour l’Etude et la Réalisation
d’Engins Balistiques (SEREB)

Délégation Ministérielle
pour l’Armement (DMA)

November 25, 1965
4 (0)
Retired (1967)



Gross Lift-off Mass:
Main Diameter:
Storable first stage, solid upper stages

18,480 kg
18.938 m
1.4 m
Launcher Architecture
Payload Accommodations
Industrial Team
Launch Log

   The Diamant A vehicle was first proposed by SEREB on December 23, 1960, as a follow-on to the two-stage Saphir test vehicle by adding a third stage to reach orbital velocity. The program was approved by the French government on November 16, 1961. The French Ministry of Defense’s DMA was in charge of the program with the newly-created French space agency, CNES, providing a FF54-million contribution to the program. SEREB and DMA were already responsible for the development of the ‘Precious Stones‘ series of test vehicles.
   The Diamant A’s solid third stage was flight-tested on eight flights of the
Rubis test vehicle from June 1964 to September 1965.
   On its maiden test flight, on November 25, 1965, the Diamant A lofted the A-1 "Astérix" to orbit, making France the third country to achieve satellite launching capability. However, A-1’s antennas were damaged at fairing jettison and its signal was weak. The Diamant A launched the Diapason research satellite in February 1966 and two Diadème geodesic satellites in February 1967 before it was retired in favor of the more capable
Diamant B.

 More on the history of the Diamant and Precious Stones family (soon to come) 

 Payload Performances
From Centre Interarmées d’Essais
d’Engins Spéciaux (CIEES),
Hammaguir, Algeria:
  Brigitte Launch Pad
  (30.9°N, 3.07°W)
Low Earth Orbit
(400 x 1,250 km, 30°)

80 kg
  (400 x 730 km, 30°)

100 kg

L’effort spatial français. Jacques Tiziou. Aviation Magazine International, No.440. Paris, April 1st, 1966.
Fusées françaises pour la recherche spatiale. CNES/Dunod. Paris, May 1964.
Les trente premières années du CNES. Claude Carlier & Marcel Gilli. CNES/La Documentation Française. Paris, 1994.


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