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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 the 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 Agate, Topaze, Emeraude, Rubis and Saphir (Agate, Topaz, Emerald, Ruby and Sapphire). Design of the Diamant began in 1962, as the inaugural spacecraft project of France's space agency, the CNES. Out of 12 launch attempts between 1965 and 1975, 9 were successful. Most notably, the Diamant was used to put the first French satellite, Astérix, into orbit on November 26, 1965. Despite the success, France abandoned 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.