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A two-stage rocket, the Sea Dragon was, on paper at least, capable of "putting 1.2 million pounds (550 metric tons) into low Earth orbit," according to Encylopedia Astronautica. That is enough to lift a small space station into orbit. At the time of Robert Truax's design in 1962, Apollo 11 was still seven years off. Just getting man to the Moon seemed far away,.
"Air enters through the compressor, is forced into the reactor, and is heated by the fuel elements. After passing through the turbine, where energy is extracted to drive the compressor, the heated air is expelled at high velocity through the exhaust nozzle."