Vote 2020 graphic
Everything you need to know about and expect during
the most important election of our lifetimes

Fifty Years Ago Today France Launched Its First Satellite, Astérix

Illustration for article titled Fifty Years Ago Today France Launched Its First Satellite, Astérix

European Space History has just posted this awesome movie poster-like orange-blue launch photo of a historic space event that took place on November 26th way back in 1965.

Advertisement

Fifty years ago, France launched its first satellite to low Earth orbit on a Diamant A rocket from the Joint Center for Special Weapons Testing of Hammaguir, Algeria.

With this step, France became the sixth nation—after USSR, USA, Canada, UK and Italy—to have a satellite in orbit, and the third to launch its own. The military satellite was originally called A-1 (the French Army’s first satellite), but was later was renamed to Astérix, after the popular French comic character.

Advertisement
Illustration for article titled Fifty Years Ago Today France Launched Its First Satellite, Astérix

Photo: Ecpad

The satellite reached it planned orbit, but its antennae were damaged during the separation of the fairing, so the satellite remained silent. Nonetheless, Asterix is still with us due to the relatively high altitude of its orbit, and is not expected to re-enter Earth’s atmosphere for the next few hundred years.

Here’s the full shot of the launch.

Illustration for article titled Fifty Years Ago Today France Launched Its First Satellite, Astérix
Advertisement

Photo: European Space History/ESA

Share This Story

Get our newsletter

DISCUSSION

Brutalitarian
Brutalitarian

no mean feat, they had to overcome many an Obelix to get to launch day. There was the Dogmatix nature of the politicians, rocket broke down on the pad they has to Getafix for it to launch. The Cacofonix as it went up was something to behold I’m told and they have gathered many Vitalstatistix regarding its ultimate failure.

/Gets coat