NW077 1/144 Diamant B
French satellite launch vehicle
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.
Work on a three-stage rocket able to launch a small satellite began in 1960. By 1961, the Diamant A design, capable of lofting 80 kg satellite, had emerged. In adittion to its Emeraude first stage and Topaze second stage, the Diamant featured a new solid fueled third stage P-6.
The first Diamant lifted off from Hamaguir, Algeria, at 2:47 PM on November 26, 1965.
Diamant B used new Amethyste first stage with 50% more propellants with new Valois engine. The second stage was the same Topaz used in the Diamant A. The solid propellant P.68 third stage was based on a rocket developed for the international Europa program. The improved rocket could launch 115 kg into orbit.
The first Diamant B lifted off from Kourou in French Guiana on October 10th, 1970, carrying the French-German Dial/Wika satellite into orbit. Two French satellites followed in December and April 1971. But a launch in December of 1971 failed to reach orbit. The final flight, in May of 1973, also failed to reach orbit.