France unbuilt space launchers of the 60's and 70's

bgire

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Hello All :)
I've been on this forum for ten years and this is my first post.
35 years ago I co-wrote for the Journal of the British Interplanetary Society a detailed study of the French National Space programme form the 1950's until its termination to pass onto Ariane in 1973.
http://epizodyspace.ru/bibl/inostr-yazyki/jbis/1987/2/JBIS_1987-2.pdf
During these periods France produced many unbuilt projects as to evolve from the national Diamant space launcher.
Two public organizations worked simultaneously : the Laboratoire de Recherche Balistique et Aérodynamique (LRBA) founded in 1946 which developed many liquid fuelled launchers and the Société d'Etude et de Realisation d'Engins Balistiques (SEREB) founded in 1959 which worked for the Defense to develop solid fuelled launchers from the military ballistic program.

Later these two companies merged into other ones, ending in the SAFRAN group for SEREB and Arianespace for the LRBA.

35 years later I decided to go modelling these unbuilt projects, using 3D design and printing with the aim of producing a series of 1:144 scale resin kits to be made available worldwide through a small French company.

After designing the real space launchers and sounding rockets, I shifted to unbuilt projects.
First I did eight rockets which were proposed as upgraded Diamant: picture 1
Then I focused on the SEREB launchers of 1964-1968 based on various combinations of solid fuelled stages (except a cryogenic upper stage for Turquoise H) : picture 2

I started to print this bunch of kits on my Formlab printer which did the job fine : pictures 3, 4 and 5

Hope to show more in the coming days. Stay tuned.
_Bruno
 

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Michel Van

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fantastic work, bgire
thanks for Link to PDF

we have here also some info and graphics about French rocket Design

About French Rocket proposals (include Mercure and Orion)
https://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,2975.0.html

A US company that rebuild Diamant A rocket (feature also Diamant Cluster for Vulcan)
https://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,29857.0.html
 

bgire

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Michel Van said:
fantastic work, bgire
thanks for Link to PDF

we have here also some info and graphics about French rocket Design

About French Rocket proposals (include Mercure and Orion)
https://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,2975.0.html

A US company that rebuild Diamant A rocket (feature also Diamant Cluster for Vulcan)
https://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,29857.0.html
Hello Michel,
Thank you for the links which will help solving intricate details on the clustered Catherine (and possibly Octavie) first stages of Vulcain, Supervulcain and Bacchus.
It's right on time as I'm doing the drawings for these projects, to be printed later.

Also when I visited this forum earlier I got in one of your posts the designs for Mercure and I decided to include them in my project, just for the fun of doing a FIVE Vexin first stage!

As of today I'm printing the SEREB projects (Régent, Diogène 2 and Turquoise C and H). Pictures will come in a few days.

Thank you for your support & help
_Bruno
 

Tonton-42

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bgire said:
Hello All :)
I've been on this forum for ten years and this is my first post.
35 years ago I co-wrote for the Journal of the British Interplanetary Society a detailed study of the French National Space programme form the 1950's until its termination to pass onto Ariane in 1973.
http://epizodyspace.ru/bibl/inostr-yazyki/jbis/1987/2/JBIS_1987-2.pdf
During these periods France produced many unbuilt projects as to evolve from the national Diamant space launcher.
Two public organizations worked simultaneously : the Laboratoire de Recherche Balistique et Aérodynamique (LRBA) founded in 1946 which developed many liquid fuelled launchers and the Société d'Etude et de Realisation d'Engins Balistiques (SEREB) founded in 1959 which worked for the Defense to develop solid fuelled launchers from the military ballistic program.

Later these two companies merged into other ones, ending in the SAFRAN group for SEREB and Arianespace for the LRBA.

35 years later I decided to go modelling these unbuilt projects, using 3D design and printing with the aim of producing a series of 1:144 scale resin kits to be made available worldwide through a small French company.

After designing the real space launchers and sounding rockets, I shifted to unbuilt projects.
First I did eight rockets which were proposed as upgraded Diamant: picture 1
Then I focused on the SEREB launchers of 1964-1968 based on various combinations of solid fuelled stages (except a cryogenic upper stage for Turquoise H) : picture 2

I started to print this bunch of kits on my Formlab printer which did the job fine : pictures 3, 4 and 5

Hope to show more in the coming days. Stay tuned.
_Bruno
Franchement bravo ! Deeply the continuation ! Few people know the French spatial epic ... even in France !!!

Tonton
 

Archibald

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Vraiment bien. Du beau boulot.

The most impressive Diamant derivative ever imagined was the Supervulcain B, which rivalled a Soyuz or Ariane 1 in size. Do you plan to model that one ?

https://www.flightglobal.com/FlightPDFArchive/1968/1968%20-%200795.PDF
https://www.flightglobal.com/FlightPDFArchive/1968/1968%20-%200796.PDF
 

bgire

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Archibald said:
Vraiment bien. Du beau boulot.

The most impressive Diamant derivative ever imagined was the Supervulcain B, which rivalled a Soyuz or Ariane 1 in size. Do you plan to model that one ?

https://www.flightglobal.com/FlightPDFArchive/1968/1968%20-%200795.PDF
https://www.flightglobal.com/FlightPDFArchive/1968/1968%20-%200796.PDF
Hello Archibald,
YES, of course. I'm precisely drawing the designs for the "LRBA projects" which will include: Mercure, Carmen, Vulcain C, Vulcain P, Vulcain H, Bacchus and.... SUPERVULCAIN B)
Works is now well advanced on Carmen. I'm working on the complex Vexin bays.

Two days ago I printed the "lower height" parts for the SEREB projects. That is the part which aren't too high to have a short printing duration (only 6h40!).
Yesterday I printed the "higher height" parts for Régent and Diogène 2.... 9h30 of continuous printing.
Below are some results before polishing.

Today I printed the last of SEREB projects : Turquoise C and H... 11h30 and just finished, now curing in the UV oven. Will post pictures tomorrow.

Stay tuned.
_Bruno
 

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bgire

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Hello :)
Working further with the French never built launchers I'm now shifting on the large ones designed by LRBA in 1967-68.
To get a chance to have them taken into consideration by the French authorities, LRBA designed a family of launchers using as much existing hardware as possible.
They went to clustered stages like the Soviet contemporary R-7 by using either Catherine, a cluster formed from four Améthyste (Diamant B) first stages, or Octavie which was the same design based on four Diane, an enlarged version of Améthyste, yet to be designed. Vexin engine was chosen against the more recent Valois as it was found easy to convert and fit to the new propulsion bays.

Fellows on this forum supplied me with a rare drawing detailing the Catherine cluster and I took it as a basis to design my own, completely conjectural, Diane propulsion bay of the Carmen launcher with twin gimballed Vexin engines. I tried to design using comparable arrangement as these projects were issued at about the same date by the same design bureau.

Picture 1: the LRBA family
Picture 2: the Catherine stage
Pictures 3 to 7: conjectural Carmen/ Diane propulsion bay
Lot of fun doing this indeed. Hope they'll print well in a few days.
_Bruno
 

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Michel Van

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wonderful Work Bruno

Note to Vulcain and Europa Analog rocket
Around 1968 the British menaced to leave ELDO and stop payment and Blue Streak production.
French LRBA, SEREB and German Bölkow offers Alternatives to replace the Blue Streak

So far i know was one the Vulcan rocket with Coralie and Astris stage

Nord-Aviation proposal was quite interesting cluster of Seven Diamant B rockets

French (LRBA?) German (Bölkow) proposed the L-95 build on Diamant B hardware
using 4 engines, total thrust 160 tons, isp 276 sec burn time 142 second
16,035 meter long 3,00 meter ø, empty mass 7.121 kg, fuel around 95.000 kg

But British gave the Blue Streak production to ELDO
how far the L-95 let to development of L-120 of Europa III/L-140 Ariane 1 is unclear to me.


Source
Flight International, 12 December 1968
 

bgire

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Hello :)

Still on my project. Now is the turn of the Vulcain C mid-size launcher of 1967. An equivalent of the Atlas with 1,050kg in low orbit and 170kg in geostationary orbit.

The Vulcain family was based on a new first stage, Catherine, which was a cluster of four Améthyste (Diamant B) tanks feeding four modified Vexin engines (Diamant A).
Each tank carried only one ergol : two tanks for UDMH and two for nitrogen peroxide.
In the middle of the cluster was the two stage device which injected pressurized gases into the tanks to force the chemicals out to the ejectors. The Vexin engine was a simple one which lacked turbo-pump.
A pile of pressure air bottles was used to push UDMH and Nitrogen peroxide into a central small engine where they burned, producing neutral exhaust gases. These were injected into the main tanks to force the chemical out to the main engines. A simple and reliable solution which was then standard on the French launchers and Coralie.

I really enjoyed "playing the engineer" in drawing the whole stuff from the scheme supplied (see above) and three pictures of a Catherine prototype which was presented to Le Bourget air show in 1968.

This kit is much more complex and elaborate than the previous ones. It will include resin, photo etched parts and brass rods.
The second stage was a Coralie, borrowed from the Europa programme. The third was a Rita 1, a solid (powder) stage borrowed from the military ICBM programme (this was later used on Diamant BP4).

Here are rendering of my CAD. later I'll post printed prototype parts.
_Bruno
 

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Michel Van

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Again fantastic work, Bruno

I can confirm most part of Vulcain proposal
they study into
"Vulcain C" Catherine- extended Coralie - P4 Solid
"Vulcain P" use of the P16 solid as second stage (putting the french ICBM on top of Catherine)
"Vulcain H" Catherine- extended Coralie - with third stage H3.5 with Hydrolox HM-4 engine (a small pressured fed?)

was any plan to put a aerodynamic cover around Catherine ?
 

bgire

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Michel Van said:
Again fantastic work, Bruno

I can confirm most part of Vulcain proposal
they study into
"Vulcain C" Catherine- extended Coralie - P4 Solid
"Vulcain P" use of the P16 solid as second stage (putting the french ICBM on top of Catherine)
"Vulcain H" Catherine- extended Coralie - with third stage H3.5 with Hydrolox HM-4 engine (a small pressured fed?)

was any plan to put a aerodynamic cover around Catherine ?
Aerodynamic cover? I've been thinking about for a long time.
I mean an aft skirt the same way as for Saturn I rocket.
On the other side, an uncovered bay, "Titan II style" enlightens the complex bay & piping.
Maybe I'll design an optional skirt after all, as I did for Carmen... Thanks for the suggestion.

Of course I'm right now working on Vulcain P and H ;)

_Bruno
 

bgire

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I completed the drawings for the Vulcain family, adding :
- Vulcain P (for Powder) : Catherine first stage, P16 second stage (from French ICBM), Rita 1 P4 third stage (from ICBM)
- Vulcain H (for Hydrogen) : Catherine first stage, Coralie second stage, new H3.5 cryogenic third stage

Family pictures here.
_Bruno
 

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Hobbes

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I like these projects. Never heard of half of them (and I've got a few books on European space projects on my bookshelf), but the more unusual the better.
 

bgire

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Hello Folks :)
Continuing my projects. Going to the last and biggest launchers: Bacchus and SuperVulcain, both of 1968.

Both shared a new first stage, called Octavie, which was a cluster of four Diane (from Carmen), each with two ejectors, making eight Vexin in total.
As with the Catherine cluster two tanks were devoted to nitrogen peroxide and two to UDMH with cross connecting tubing.
SuperVulcain's Octavie tanks were lengthened, so I included more pressure air bottles inside and a larger gas generator for pressurization of a larger volume.

I designed this stage using the same concept than Catherine, but adapted to twice the number of ejectors.

Here are the drawings:
 

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bgire

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... And the last but not the least: SuperVulcain (1968) of 363tons with a GTO capacity of 600kg, about the capabilities of Ariane 1.
First stage, enlarged Octavie, was to be a cluster of four Diane with lengthened tanks and eight modified Vexin engines.
Second stage, Catherine, was to be a cluster of four Améthyste with four modified Vexin engines.
Third stage was to be Coralie from the Europa programme with four L10 engines.

This completes my study of unbuilt French launchers. Now it's the time to print the masters, prepare the kits an assemble them. Lot of work left :p!

_Bruno

Pictures of Super Vulcain:
 

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Archibald

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Great job ! I really, really want to see Supervulcain B for "real" that is a model of it. You can be pretty sure it will be a unique model in your collection or even in the world (Supervulcain B ? what's that ?)

What scale for your model, by the way ?
 

bgire

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Hello Archibald,
My kits will be at the standard 1:144 scale. Super Vulcain B will be 312mm high.
I plan to complete all these kits by next September. In the meantime I'll post pictures when ready.

And I'm still willing to made these kit available commercially.
_Bruno
 

Archibald

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I've stopped modelling a while back, but this is sooo tempting... my hands are itching...
 

bgire

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Yesterday I started printing the small parts for Super Vulcain B.

Some parts (left of the ruler) will be replaced by photo etched ones which will be easier to handle, but the overall rendering is excellent.
Tomorrow I'll print the tanks.
_Bruno
 

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Archibald

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I always liked SuperVulcain B because it is really the largest Diamant derivative and the real funny thing was, it was an Europa III or Ariane 1 class launcher. It would be really awesome to get Supervulcain, Europa and Ariane 1 side by side on a shelf.

Also, SuperVulcain was just big enough, it could have orbited a Gemini or a truncated Soyuz (minus the forward, orbital module - that is, a Zond, albeit not a cislunar one)

If you ever heard of France Fights On, I'm really tempted to include Supervulcain B in their universe...
 

Michel Van

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Archibald said:
If you ever heard of France Fights On, I'm really tempted to include Supervulcain B in their universe...
that Alternate History story were in June 1940 France moved its government and armies to Algiers and continue the War against germany
more here
https://www.alternatehistory.com/forum/threads/france-fights-on.337031/
 

bgire

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Continued...

Small printed corrections yesterday, and a new "big" part: the Bacchus inter-stage skirt.
This truncated cone was but a challenge for me, as that kind of thin part (.4mm thick) is a nightmare for most printers.
I spent more than an hour placing correctly the numerous temporary supports to get a printing without deformation and Yipikaï!, it turned very fine.
Tomorrow I'll have my last printing session on this project with the huge stage tanks.

_Bruno
 

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bgire

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And here comes Bacchus. These are only dry fit of the rough printed parts, just to give an idea.
Well, somewhat surprised by the size... I was expecting a smaller launcher ;D

The printing phase will end tomorrow with Super Vulcain B.
 

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bgire

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At last the phase 2 of this project (printing) is done. next step will be the lengthy preparation and polishing of each part to be cast. In the meantime I'll send the photo-etched sheet to the etcher.

Thanks for watching. Stay tuned.
_Bruno

Images:
Dry fit of Bacchus and Super Vulcain B (printed parts only)
Bacchus
Super Vulcain B
Photo etched accompanying sheet
 

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