Sea Dragon is a two-staged sea-launched super-heavy rocket built by NASA and first launched from the South Pacific Ocean on its maiden flight, in 1977. The rocket was used on a mission to resupply and expand Jamestown with components for a plutonium fueled nuclear power-source, in an effort to cut the costs of living, on the moon.
At 150 m (490 ft) long and 23 m (75 ft) in diameter, Sea Dragon is the largest rocket ever built, and could carry 550 metric tons of payload into orbit. It was also large enough to fit the entire Saturn V into its first stage. The Sea Dragon appears to have a crew capsule on the top; this has never been used and no crew have ever been launched on the vehicle.
During a standoff with Buran, Ed Baldwin launched missiles toward Sea Dragon to prevent further escalation. NASA covered it up as a malfunction and further Sea Dragon production was halted as a result.
- The Sea Dragon was designed in 1962 by Robert Truax to serve as a low-cost heavy launcher, commonly known as a "big dumb booster". NASA and Todd Shipyards started showing interest in this project.
- To keep costs low, Sea Dragon was designed to be built from inexpensive sheet steel, launched from the ocean to reduce launch infrastructure, and operate using simple, reliable engineering principles.
- The rocket was to be built at a sea-side shipbuilder and towed to sea for launch.
- The rocket was partially reusable, as the first stage engine could be recovered after each flight.
- It was first launched in 1977, carrying parts of the Jamestown lunar base to begin expansion.
- It was to be fueled using hydrogen produced from the surrounding sea water via electrolysis generated from the nuclear reactor of a nearby aircraft carrier. (Hence the "Carrier task force" Ed mentions in 1983). While RP1 is loaded from the seaside.
- It remains the largest rocket ever launched.
- As of 1983, there have been 17 Sea Dragon launches.
- The Sea Dragon rocket has 42,000,000 pounds of thrust as for the Saturn V has 9.5 million pounds of thrust.
- Sea Dragon is built in a shipping yard and then is shipped through the Panama Canal and it takes 4.7 weeks for the rocket to be transported to the area. It is refueled ¨sometimes it would be refueled at the launch site" then another week to get to its launch destination. Sometimes, the rocket would be put at the launch site and the cargo would be put in. They were able to do this because they just adjusted the buoyancy tanks and that would allow the rocket to come out of the water more so they would then remove the fairings and put the payload in and then put the fairings back on and Sea Dragon would be ready for launch.