SP- 350, Cousteau`s Soucoup Plongeant (Diving Saucer)

In 1953, Jacques Cousteau designed a smaller, more maneuverable, 1,000ft/350m submersible, Diving Saucer. He wanted a platform from which scientists could study and record the ocean depths. His design was a positively buoyant steel hull, with a disc shape 6 feet 7 inches in diameter and 5 feet in height. Unfortunately, this structure was lost, and in 1959, Cousteau`s second Diving Saucer was launched. The ship Calypso provided support and transportation for Diving Saucer. 

SP-350, Soucoup Plongeant (Diving Saucer)
The `Diving Saucer` is 10 feet in diameter, 5.3 feet in height, and weighs approximately 7,000 pounds. Her two-man crew operates her by lying prone on opposite sides of a central water ballast tank that enables the craft to attain zero weight in the sea. Steering is done by turning two jets on opposite sides of the craft near the forward end, or stopping the flow of fuel to one of them.

The saucer is capable of turning left or right, pitching down or up, and going straight forward or backward. It is also able to spin completely around in one location, affording its crew a panoramic view of any underwater area from their normal prone position. Additional observation windows are located in the top half of the saucer. There are three of these, 120 degrees apart, and each providing a view of 170 degrees.

Descent and ascent of the saucer are controlled by droppable ballast weights. Fine adjustments in buoyancy are made by regulating the in-flow and outflow at the central water ballast tank. Contact with the surface is maintained by underwater phone and two-way radio. Powerful search lamps at the forward end of the vehicle enable the crew to record whatever they see on film.

Back to History Index

Image Country Year Description
Monaco 1962 Jacques Cousteau's Soucoupe Plongeante/Diving Saucer, 12 Dec' 1962
Monaco 1962 Jacques Cousteau's Soucoupe Plongeante/Diving Saucer, 12 Dec' 1962
Monaco 1962 Jacques Cousteau`s Soucoupe Plongeante/Diving Saucer
France 1971 Oceanexpo Bordeaux 1971.J. Cousteau's Soucoup Plongeant, submersible
Monaco 1985 1910-1985 Le musee oceanographique.Soucoup plongeant/Diving Saucer
Palau 1995 Jacqes Cousteau`s Diving Saucer 1,350 feet
United Nations Org. 1998 Submersible, Jacqes Cousteau's Diving Saucer
Lesotho 1999 Soucoupe plongeante-firest modern oceanographic submersible
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