Last Launches from Algeria, Plus Two Weather Satellites

Forty-five years ago today — February 8, 1967 — France launched the Diademe-1 satellite atop a Diamant-A rocket from their Hammaguir, Algeria, launch site. Exactly a week later they launched Diademe-2. These appear to be the last launch campaigns conducted at the Hammaguir site.

(Diamant launch vehicle static display. Photo by “I, Captainm,” licensed under Creative Commons, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Diademe-1 and its sister satellite were “designed for experimental geodetic studies using Doppler effect and laser telemetry techniques,” and were tracked by French and other ground stations around the world. According to this Wikipedia page on the Diamant launch vehicle, Diademe-1 was placed in a lower-than-expected orbit; however, the National Space Science Data Center did not mention that fact.

On the same 1967 date as the Diademe-1 launch, the U.S. launched a Defense Meteorological Satellite Program Block 4 satellite from Vandenberg AFB on a Thor rocket. And on this date 5 years earlier — i.e., 50 years ago — a Thor-Delta launched from Cape Canaveral put the Television and InfraRed Observation Satellite TIROS-4, also a weather satellite, into orbit.

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