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Strange Spacecraft Designs That Never Made It To Launch
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Sea Dragon

  • Concept Led By: N/A
  • Companies Involved: Aerojet

While some science fiction shows and films have sort of used this idea, it was never as wild as the real thing. Developed by Robert Truax while he was working at Aerojet in 1962, one of the many spacecraft designs he came up with was the now-infamous “Sea Dragon.” The idea was that a rocket would take off from the ocean. Of course, it was technically a floating rocket but still. Funny enough, while NASA did have some interest, one of the first private companies interested in space exploration was too, Todd Shipyards. Yet neither decided to bite.

At dimensions of just under 500 feet long and 75 in diameter, it would have been the largest rocket ever built. Keep in mind that this was a fully conceived concept too, unlike many of the proposals you see today. Among rockets that have been fully conceived but never built, the Sea Dragon is far and away the largest one. In terms of its payload into low Earth orbit, it was equaled only by the Interplanetary Transport System. The Sea Dragon was designed at the rough 600 tons limit, so it was understandably going to be useful for some ideas NASA had. However, the cost and also the mere idea of taking off from the sea just never made a lot of sense.

Where Do We Find This Stuff? Here Are Our Sources:

United Nations

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)

European Space Agency (ESA)

Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)

British Interplanetary Society (BIS)

British Aerospace Systems (BAE)

United States Air Force (USAF)

United States Space Force (USSF)

Russian Aviation and Space Agency (RKA)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Harvard University

Stanford University

Cornell University

Lockheed Martin (LM)

The Boeing Company


General Motors (GM)


Northrop Grumman


Rockwell International

TransAstronautics Corporation


Smithsonian Institute

American Nuclear Society (ANS)