Diamant and France’s drive for space power status
Late in 1960, SEREB submitted a report to the Armed Forces Minister indicating that “a craft able to place a satellite weighing 50 kilograms into Earth orbit is achievable.”
In 1962, CNES signed an agreement with DMA, the French ministerial office for defence procurement, to execute this national launcher project, aiming for a 1st launch 3 years later in 1965.
Having received the go-ahead, the partners now put the project organization in place: DMA would lead launcher studies, production and testing, and development of 4 experimental satellites; SEREB would be prime contractor; and CNES would contribute funding for studies, production and testing.
This launch was a first shot that rang across France and around the world. In the words of General De Gaulle: “the orbiting of France’s 1st satellite by a French launcher is an important success that fills the entire nation with joy and pride.”
It also proved that France’s ballistic missile industry had reached maturity.