VE 231 sapphire
The VE 231 Saphir was a French sounding rocket . It was launched between 1965 and 1967, had a payload capacity of 365 kg, a peak height of 1000 km, a takeoff thrust of 280 kN, a takeoff mass of 18.058 t, a diameter of 1.40 m and a length of 17.77 m. The orbital diamond rocket, which launched the first French satellite into orbit, was developed from the Saphir . They were available in three different versions with radio control (VE231P), inertial steering (VE231G) and for testing the separation of the warhead and the ablative re-entry body (VE231R).
Between July 5, 1965 and January 27, 1967, 15 launches were carried out from the Brigitte launch pad in Hammaguir , Algeria . The highest altitude reached was 1150 km on October 9, 1965.
It belonged to the French VE program (véhicule expérimental) for the development of air, silo or submarine-based intercontinental ballistic missiles , which also includes the VE8 , VE9 , VA10 Aigle , VE110 Agate , VE111 Topaze , VE121 Emeraude and the VE210 Rubis included . These rockets were developed from 1959 on de Gaulle's instructions by the company SEREB (Société pour l'Etude et la Réalisation d'Engins Balistiques) founded in September 1959 .