|Country of origin||France|
|Height||6 to 11.7m (Véronique 61M)|
|Mass||1 to 2 tons|
|Status||Succeeded by the Diamant rocket|
|Launch sites||CIEES, Guiana Space Centre|
|Thrust||20 to 60 kN (Véronique 61M)|
Véronique was a French-led project that had its roots in the German V-2 rocket, and was partially developed by German scientists who had worked in Peenemünde. It was a successor to the cancelled Super V-2, the Véronique was built between 1950 and 1969 in several versions, of which the versions P2, P6 and R were only experimental models. They were made in Vernon, Eure. The name Véronique is a portmanteau of Vernon-électronique, and is also a common French first name.
On 20 February 1959, the first Véronique launch was performed, although it was recorded as a failure. One day later, the second launch took place, which attained an altitude of 84 miles (135 km). The last Veronique-61 was launched on 31 May 1974. The programme was eclipsed by new rockets, such as the wholly indigenous Diamant launcher.
In the immediate aftermath of the Second World War, various nations were keen to incorporate recent military advances into their own armed forces; the newly liberated nation of France was no exception. Akin to the American's Operation Paperclip, France recruited various scientists and skilled personnel from the former Axis countries, particularly those with knowledge of advanced aerospace technologies. Amongst these were in excess of 30 staff that had formerly worked at Peenemünde, the hub of the Nazi German rocket programme that produced the V-2 rocket.
During mid-1946, France embarked on development of a V-2 derivative, popularly referred to as the Super V-2. This programme involved two distinct phases, the first being the establishment of appropriate facilities to produce V-2 components – this was partially achieved via the acquisition of most of the components for roughly 30 V-2s, either from subcontractors in France or sourced from the French zone of occupation in Germany. Surveys for a suitable launch facility in Algeria were also conducted, opting for a site near Colomb-Bechar (CIEES).
However, major problems with the Super V-2 programme had become clear by early 1947. France's allies were unwilling to supply V-2 components, yet establishing a completely independent production of all components in France was estimated to take at least five years, by which point the Super V-2 was expected to have become obsolete. Thus, it was decided that two separate programmes would be pursued; in addition to work on the Super V-2, a purely French derivative, initially referred to as project 4212, would be designed by a separate team. During 1948, the Super V-2 project was abandoned in favour other efforts, cumulating in project 4213, a one-tenth scale rocket that was given the name Veronique, a portmanteau of Vernon et electronique.
During March 1949, work formally commenced on Veronique. The project had the primary objective of delivering a flight test vehicle for liquid rocket engine development; a secondary purpose was the launching of scientific payloads at high altitudes. Principal responsibility for manufacturing was held by the Laboratoire de recherches balistiques et aérodynamiques (LRBA).
Partial system tests were conducted in 1951 and early 1952 (Veronique P and R (Réduite)). However, it was not until May 1952 that the first full-scale Véronique-N (Normal) was launched. It was powered by a single liquid-fuelled rocket motor with a thrust of four tonnes; its fuel was a combination of kerosene and nitric acid. Veronique employed a unique wire-guidance system that used four 55 m cables attached to its fins immediately upon launch. Initially, the rocket motor suffered from combustion instability, which became a leading cause of early launch failures; furthermore, the maximum altitude of 65 km was found to be insufficient for many scientific purposes.
Accordingly, it was decided to undertake a lengthy development programme throughout the 1950s which produced numerous other models were produced for specific purposes. The Véronique AGI (Année Géophysique Internationale) was developed as a sounding rocket, a total of 15 such rockets were constructed using subsidies provided by the French National Defense Scientific Action Committee. This model was largely similar to the Véronique-N, had had a reduced empty weight, and a simplified engine that used turpentine fuel in place of kerosene. A lengthened model, the Véronique NA (Normale Allongée), enabled an altitude of 135 km to be reached; it also features a modified engine injector that had greater stability. A pair of Véronique P2 test vehicles were produced to experiment with the wire-guidance system.
The definitive version was the Veronique-61 (1961), which featured substantial improvements such as a 50% increase in thrust. It was a far larger rocket, capable of carrying a 60 kg payload to an altitude of 315 km. A lengthened version, the Veronique-61M (Modifié), was also produced, suitable for carrying payloads of up to 100 kg. On 8 June 1964, the first was launched; the last Veronique-61 was launched on 31 May 1974. Of the 21 launches performed, 20 were considered to be failures to varying degrees.
Amongst the tests in aid of scientific research that were conducted using the rocket were a series of biological experiments involving live animals. On account of the available payload capacity and thrust output available via Véronique, the use of larger animals was not possible, thus rats and cats were used; these were carried within a sealed container within the rocket's nose cone which was designed to be retrievable and for the return of its occupant alive. One consequence of these flights was the only recorded launch of a cat into space.
Five Veronique versions were developed:
|Veronique N||1,100 kg
(21 ft 4 in)
|32 seconds||60 kg
|Veronique NA||1,435 kg
(23 ft 11 in)
|45 seconds||60 kg
|Veronique AGI||1,342 kg
(23 ft 11 in)
|49 seconds||60 kg
|Veronique 61||1,932 kg
(31 ft 2 in)
|54 seconds||60 kg
|Veronique 61M||2,050 kg
(38 ft 5 in)
|56 seconds||100 kg
Veronique rockets were launched from 1950 to 1975:
|02 Aug 1950||Suippes||Veronique R1||Technology||Success? (3 m)|
|04 Aug 1950||Suippes||Veronique R2||Technology||Success? (8 m)|
|06 Apr 1951||Vernon||Veronique P2||Technology||Success|
|02 Oct 1951||Suippes||Veronique R3||Technology||Success? (15 m)|
|03 Oct 1951||Suippes||Veronique P5/1||Technology|
|04 Oct 1951||Suippes||Veronique P5/2||Technology|
|05 Oct 1951||Suippes||Veronique R4||Technology||Success (1800 m)|
|06 Oct 1951||Suippes||Veronique R5||Technology||Success (1820 m)|
|25 Jan 1952||Le Cardonnet||Veronique P6/1||Technology||Success|
|26 Jan 1952||Le Cardonnet||Veronique R7||Technology||Partial Success - Nosecone not jettisoned|
|28 Jan 1952||Le Cardonnet||Veronique P6/2||Technology||Success|
|28 Jan 1952||Le Cardonnet||Veronique R6||Technology||Success (1100 m)|
|30 Jan 1952||Le Cardonnet||Veronique R8||Technology||Success|
|20 May 1952||CIEES||Veronique N1||Technology||Failure (19 km)|
|21 May 1952||CIEES||Veronique N2||Technology||Failure (14 km)|
|22 May 1952||CIEES||Veronique N3||Technology||Success (60 km)|
|08 Nov 1952||CIEES||Veronique N4||Technology||Failure (10 km)|
|09 Nov 1952||CIEES||Veronique N5||Technology||Failure (<1 km)|
|13 Nov 1952||CIEES||Veronique N7||Technology||Failure (4 km)|
|16 Nov 1952||CIEES||Veronique N6||Technology||Failure (6 km)|
|17 Nov 1952||CIEES||Veronique N9||Technology||Failure (10 km)|
|18 Nov 1952||CIEES||Veronique N8||Technology||Failure (7 km)|
|18 Apr 1953||CIEES||Veronique N11||Technology||Failure (3 km)|
|21 Apr 1953||CIEES||Veronique N10||Technology||Success (45 km)|
|20 Feb 1954||CIEES||Veronique NA15||Technology||Failure (29 km)|
|21 Feb 1954||CIEES||Veronique NA14||Technology||Success(135 km)|
|17 Oct 1954||CIEES||Veronique NA13||Technology||Failure (39 km)|
|29 Oct 1954||CIEES||Veronique NA12||VLF transmission||Success (104 km)|
|07 Mar 1959||CIEES||Veronique AGI18||Na release||Failure|
|10 Mar 1959||CIEES||Veronique AGI17||Na release||Success|
|12 Mar 1959||CIEES||Veronique AGI16||Na release||Success|
|23 Feb 1960||CIEES||Veronique AGI23||Scientific||Failure|
|02 Mar 1960||CIEES||Veronique AGI22||Na release||Success|
|05 Mar 1960||CIEES||Veronique AGI21||Na release||Success|
|13 Jun 1960||CIEES||Veronique AGI20||Na release||Success|
|16 Jun 1960||CIEES||Veronique AGI19||Na release||Success|
|18 Jun 1960||CIEES||Veronique AGI25||Explosivee||Success|
|22 Jun 1960||CIEES||Veronique AGI26||Explosive||Success|
|11 Feb 1961||CIEES||Veronique AGI27||Scientific||Success|
|13 Feb 1961||CIEES||Veronique AGI28||Scientific||Failure|
|15 Feb 1961||CIEES||Veronique AGI29||Scientific||Success|
|18 Feb 1961||CIEES||Veronique AGI30||Scientific||Failure|
|22 Feb 1961||CIEES||Veronique AGI24||Biology||Success (110 km)|
|10 Jun 1961||CIEES||Veronique AGI31||Double explosive||Success|
|24 May 1962||CIEES||Veronique AGI39||Explosive||Success (168 km)|
|31 May 1962||CIEES||Veronique AGI38||Explosive||Success|
|01 Jun 1962||CIEES||Veronique AGI41||Double explosive||Success|
|04 Jun 1962||CIEES||Veronique AGI42||Double explosive||Failure|
|06 Jun 1962||CIEES||Veronique AGI43||Explosive||Success|
|15 Oct 1962||CIEES||Veronique AGI37||Biology||Success (120 km)|
|18 Oct 1962||CIEES||Veronique AGI36||Biology||Partial Success (110 lm)|
|19 Oct 1962||CIEES||Veronique AGI44||Technology||Success (135 km)|
|22 Oct 1962||CIEES||Veronique AGI46||Technology||Success (120 km)|
|23 Oct 1962||CIEES||Veronique AGI32||Diffuse solar radiation||Success (175 km)|
|29 Oct 1962||CIEES||Veronique AGI34||VLF transmission||Success (180 km)|
|20 Apr 1963||CIEES||Veronique AGI35||Ionosphere||Success (175 km)|
|23 Apr 1963||CIEES||Veronique AGI49||Ionosphere||Success (140 km)|
|01 May 1963||CIEES||Veronique AGI45||Ionosphere||Success (160 km)|
|10 May 1963||CIEES||Veronique AGI48||Solar corona (UV) / Ptr||Partial Success (135 km), no recovery|
|18 Jun 1963||CIEES||Veronique AGI33||Electron density||Partial Success (160 km)|
|19 Jun 1963||CIEES||Veronique AGI40||Electron density||(38 km), Destroyed at 34 sec|
|18 Oct 1963||CIEES||Veronique AGI47||Biology||Success(155 km)|
|24 Oct 1963||CIEES||Veronique AGI50||Biology||Failure(88 km)|
|14 Apr 1964||CIEES||Veronique AGI51||FU110 Atomic H (Ly-alpha), Solar X-rays||Partial Success (119 km)|
|08 Jun 1964||CIEES||Veronique 61/75||FU120 Technology||Success(260 km)|
|13 Jun 1964||CIEES||Veronique 61/76||FU120 Technology||Success(260 km)|
|04 Nov 1964||CIEES||Veronique AGI53||FU110 Atomic H (Ly-alpha), Solar X-rays||Success(152 km)|
|08 Nov 1964||CIEES||Veronique AGI52||FU111 UV Solar Astronomy / Ptr||Success(98 km)|
|12 Feb 1965||CIEES||Veronique AGI56||FU100 Technology / Ptr||Failure (95 km), untimely fairing jettison|
|27 May 1965||CIEES||Veronique 61/79||FU144 Atomic H (Ly-alpha)||(70 km)|
|22 Oct 1965||CIEES||Veronique AGI54||FU115 Electron density||Success (210 km)|
|28 Oct 1965||CIEES||Veronique AGI55||FU115 Electron density||Success (210 km)|
|24 Mar 1966||CIEES||Veronique 61M/80||FU155 Technology||Success (209 km)|
|04 Apr 1966||CIEES||Veronique 61M/78||FU145 Technology (Attitude control)||(23 km)|
|06 Apr 1966||CIEES||Veronique AGI57||FU126 Solar corona (UV) / Ptr||Success (130 km)|
|27 Jun 1966||CIEES||Veronique AGI60||FU154 Technology (recovery)||Success (123 km)|
|01 Oct 1966||CIEES||Veronique 61M/77||FU145 Technology + Ionosphere / Stab||Partial Success (166 km)|
|24 Nov 1966||CIEES||Veronique 61M/82||FU158 Technology (recovery)||Partial Success (230 km)|
|09 Dec 1966||CIEES||Veronique AGI59||FU149 Ion Density, mass spectrometry||Success (122 km)|
|11 Jan 1967||CIEES||Veronique 61M/84||FU161 X-ray and UV astronomy / Stab||Success (158 km)|
|13 Jan 1967||CIEES||Veronique AGI63||FU160 Solar corona (UV) / Ptr||Success (123 km)|
|17 Jan 1967||CIEES||Veronique 61M/85||FU145b X-ray and UV astronomy / Stab||Success (205 km)|
|24 Feb 1967||CIEES||Veronique 61M/81||FU176 Technology (recovery)||Success (200 km)|
|17 Mar 1967||CIEES||Veronique AGI64||FU174 Solar corona (UV) / Ptr||(32 km)|
|24 Mar 1967||CIEES||Veronique 61M/86||FU156 Ionosphere + Biology||Success (365 km)|
|29 Mar 1967||CIEES||Veronique 61M/87||FU156 Ionosphere + Biology||Success (305 km)|
|04 Apr 1967||CIEES||Veronique 61M/88||FU178 X-ray and UV astronomy / Stab||Success (196 km)|
|09 Apr 1968||Kourou||Veronique AGI62||FU184 Technology (sea recovery)||Success (113 km)|
|25 Jul 1968||Kourou||Veronique 61M/89||FU185 Technology + X-ray astronomy / Stab||Partial Success (185 km), no recovery|
|18 Dec 1968||Kourou||Veronique 61M/83||FU159 UV astronomy / Stab||Partial Success (162 km), no recovery|
|22 Dec 1968||Kourou||Veronique 61M/90||FU159 X-ray and UV astronomy / Stab||Partial Success (188 km), no recovery|
|20 Feb 1969||Kourou||Veronique AGI61||FU170 CIRCE, Mass spectrometry||Failure(103 km), untimely fairing jettison|
|08 Jun 1971||Kourou||Veronique 61M/93||FU194 GESAIR, Ionosphere + Biology||Success (206 km)|
|12 Jun 1971||Kourou||Veronique 61M/94||FU194 GESAIR, Ionosphere + Biology||Success (211 km)|
|16 Dec 1971||Kourou||Veronique 61M/92||FU208 CISASPE, Ionosphere (active sounding)||Success (227 km)|
|17 Apr 1973||Kourou||Veronique 61M/||FU200 3SUV, UV solar astronomy / Ptr||Success (200 km)|
|31 May 1975||Kourou||Veronique 61M/||FU216 FAUST, UV astronomy / Stab||(172 km)|
- Ley, Willy (June 1964). "Anyone Else for Space?". For Your Information. Galaxy Science Fiction. pp. 110–128.
- Wade, Mark. "Véronique". Encyclopedia Astronautica. Archived from the original on 7 November 2016. Retrieved 13 February 2017.
- Reuter 2000, p. 179.
- Reuter 2000, pp. 179–180.
- Reuter 2000, p. 180.
- Reuter 2000, pp. 180–181.
- Reuter 2000, p. 181.
- Serra, Jean-Jacques (2008-06-14). "Veronique and Vesta". Rockets in Europe. Archived from the original on 2007-10-20. Retrieved 2023-08-26.
- Reuter 2000, pp. 181–182.
- Burgess and Dubbs 2007, pp. 220–222.
- Burgess and Dubbs 2007, pp. 222–228.
- Reuter 2000, p. 182.
- Burgess, Colin; Dubbs, Chris (2007). Animals in Space: From Research Rockets to the Space Shuttle. Springer Science & Business Media. ISBN 978-0-3874-9678-8.
- Reuter, Claus (2000). The V2 and the German, Russian and American Rocket Program. S.R. Research & Publishing. ISBN 1-8946-4305-4.