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Bezos plans to ask NASA's permission to put the engines in the Museum of Flight in Seattle

Amazon Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos has located and is looking to resurrect F-1 engines that were used on the Apollo 11 mission.

The Apollo 11 spaceflight landed the first humans on Earth's moon on July 20, 1969. Among those to first land on the moon were Neil Armstrong and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin Jr.

The launch vehicle used to blast Apollo 11 into space was the Saturn V rocket, which utilized F-1 engines. These powerful engines had 32 million horsepower and were capable of burning 6,000 pounds of rocket-grade kerosene and liquid oxygen each second. These engines burned for a few minutes before disconnecting from the second-stage module and plummeting into the Atlantic Ocean.

Now, a little over 40 years later, Bezos has found the F-1 engines in the Atlantic. He was able to do this by using advanced sonar, which is capable of scanning 14,000 feet below the surface of the Atlantic Ocean.

"I was five years old when I watched Apollo 11 unfold on television, and without any doubt it was a big contributor to my passion for science, engineering and exploration," said Bezos. "We don't know yet what condition these engines might be in -- they hit the ocean at high velocity and have been in salt water for more than 40 years. On the other hand, they're made of tough stuff, so we'll see."

Bezos, who set up the privately funded aerospace company Blue Origin, plans to resurrect at least one of the F-1 engines and would like NASA's permission to display it in the Museum of Flight in Seattle, Washington.

NASA didn't exactly give the green light at this point, but is keeping an eye on Bezos' effort to bring a piece of Apollo 11's history back to life.

Bezos isn't the only billionaire entrepreneur who has stepped out of his office to take an interest in space. Elon Musk, a co-founder of both PayPal and Tesla Motors, is currently the CEO of his American space transport company SpaceX, which is working toward becoming the first private company to launch the American astronaut into space. SpaceX's Dragon cargo capsule is expected to conduct an unmanned demonstration flight to the International Space Station (ISS) on April 30, becoming the first private company to dock at the ISS.

In addition to Bezos' deep-sea venture, director James Cameron just successfully completed a solo dive to the deepest part of the ocean -- the bottom of the Mariana Trench.

Source: BBC News

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By geddarkstorm on 3/29/2012 11:51:10 AM , Rating: 5
This is just awesome. The Saturn V is still the greatest rocket we've ever built, and I'd love to see this in a museum.

Even if one ignores the immense historical significance of finding the Apollo 11 first stage rocket engines, there's a lot we could learn by bringing them back up and looking at what's happened to them after separation, impacting the ocean, and 40 years under the sea. A great amount of science could be done which would help future reusable rocket designs, and give us a window back into a design that really worked.

RE: Amazing
By Brandon Hill on 3/29/2012 11:58:35 AM , Rating: 4

And on a side note, I encourage anyone that is even slightly interested in space to read "The Right Stuff" or at least watch the 1983 movie. It gives some good insight into the Mercury space program (I know it's two steps before Apollo, but it's still good stuff).

RE: Amazing
By themelon on 3/29/2012 12:19:00 PM , Rating: 2
If you really want to get lost in Mercury/Gemini/Apollo history go here:

RE: Amazing
By tallcool1 on 3/29/2012 12:16:57 PM , Rating: 3
I'd love to see this in a museum

There is a Saturn V rocket already on display at the Kennedy Space Center:

RE: Amazing
By kattanna on 3/29/2012 12:37:30 PM , Rating: 2
and at johnson space center in texas.

man.. i remember driving by it and going WOW

RE: Amazing
By geddarkstorm on 3/29/2012 1:29:26 PM , Rating: 4
Nothing like seeing the real deal that's charred, crumpled, and corroded from life on the sea floor verses a pristine mockup or unused spare.

RE: Amazing
By johnsonx on 3/30/2012 1:27:17 PM , Rating: 2
yep, and it's a LOT bigger in person. it's not just big. It's more like "holy crap that's BIG!".

RE: Amazing
By bryanW1995 on 3/31/2012 12:50:46 PM , Rating: 2
My wife used to work in Clear Lake. I remember the first time I met her there for lunch, it sure seemed to take a LONG time to drive by that rocket!

Smithsonian has Saturn 5 full-scale model too
By phazers on 3/29/2012 4:47:31 PM , Rating: 2
Actually one quarter of the real thing, with mirrors so that the entire 5 F1 nozzles appear full-scale..

I wonder if Bezos would sell one on But I'd bet the shipping would be horrendous :P..

RE: Smithsonian has Saturn 5 full-scale model too
By FaaR on 3/29/2012 7:46:22 PM , Rating: 3
Sell what on Amazon, a just a (replica) F1 engine, or an entire full-scale Saturn V? Considering the entire vehicle stack is over 100 meters tall when assembled, you bet the shipping would be a killer...although, just a very small fraction of the near-astronomical price of the rocket itself. ;)

By hduser on 3/30/2012 11:38:34 AM , Rating: 3
No worries. I have Amazon Prime.

By phazers on 3/30/2012 6:38:23 PM , Rating: 2
Just one F1 engine, thenkyewveddymuch :).

Imagine strapping that puppy on my Honda Civic - I'd get to work in about 60 seconds flat, or die trying :D.

RE: Smithsonian has Saturn 5 full-scale model too
By puplan on 3/30/2012 12:31:53 AM , Rating: 3
Remember, your orders over $25 ship free :-)

By edge929 on 3/30/2012 5:01:04 PM , Rating: 2
It would be $24 with 1 million shipping.

We're going backwards.
By Rob94hawk on 3/29/2012 8:41:42 PM , Rating: 2
It's cool that he wants to ressurect these great engines but you would think after 40 years we'd be a little more advanced by now.

What ever happened to ion thrust engines? Did we give up on them already? Or did it all die with the Project Prometheus?

RE: We're going backwards.
By Ringold on 3/29/2012 9:30:27 PM , Rating: 2
America's too culturally degraded to have the stomach to support anything with the word 'nuclear' in its description.

Wait a decade or so, and China will start pushing the envelope forward for the world.. America peaked with the F1/Saturn V. It's sad.

Been thinking a lot lately about Khrushchev saying America would fall due to its ongoing cultural decay, thus handing the USSR ultimate victory. Khrushchev was half right; the USSR just couldn't hang on long enough to see it happen. Reagan gave a good speech about it, though focused on the foreign policy aspect of projecting strength. NASA and nuclear power are just different manifestations of a culture too weak to push forward.

Reagan foresaw "a thousand years of darkness". Hopefully he was wrong on that. But a slightly darker world when the worlds beacon is in Beijing, not D.C., or on the Florida coast, or in the shops of booming, unbridled capitalist firms.

RE: We're going backwards.
By wordsworm on 3/30/2012 11:26:35 PM , Rating: 1
You do know that most Americans have nuclear accelerators in their kitchens, don't you?

Quite frankly, what's the worst thing that could happen if a nuclear rocket accidentally detonated a few km above continental USA?

RE: We're going backwards.
By vailr on 3/31/2012 12:41:38 AM , Rating: 2
Re: "the worlds beacon is in Beijing".
Not when Beijing (and other cities in Asia) have too much air pollution to breath without using a face mask.

RE: We're going backwards.
By stromgald30 on 3/30/2012 2:42:54 AM , Rating: 2
Project Prometheus is dead, so there's no nuclear space travel in NASA's near future.

However, ion thrusters have been used for quite awhile now. Look up XIPS or HETs. I believe Boeing and NASA are using XIPS on satellites and probes. Lockheed, Loral Space Systems, and various European/Russian companies use HETs for satellites.

RE: We're going backwards.
By Rob94hawk on 3/30/2012 2:04:52 PM , Rating: 2
Wasn't Prometheus supposed to use nuclear power to power the ion thrusters?

RE: We're going backwards.
By Ringold on 3/30/2012 8:50:19 PM , Rating: 2
I believe so, yes. Nuclear's also about the only way to power probes in the outer solar system.

Unfortunately, the political and cultural paralysis makes even RTG's difficult to launch. New Horizon's was supposed to launch with more plutonium, but the DoE couldn't come up with enough. Consequently, New Horizon's won't be able to operate all instruments simultaneously, as originally hoped, and will over all get a bit less science done, and New Horizons only needed a fraction of what Cassini did. At this rate, the US will be unable to conduct deep-space probe missions within a decade or two, without political changes. God knows there's plenty of plutonium to be had, both in existing sources (like old warheads) and that it's not difficult to produce.

RE: We're going backwards.
By Sleeperman on 3/30/2012 9:03:23 PM , Rating: 2
The legal profession and their wholly-owned subsidiary, big government, are crushing innovation in the US. The degraded and dependent culture just doesn't give a s**t, as long as the welfare checks show up.

By JBird7986 on 3/29/2012 12:28:18 PM , Rating: 4
Can someone explain to me how they can be sure that these are from Apollo 11 based on sonar alone?

Apollos 4, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, and 17 all used the Saturn V launch vehicle. That means that there are 12 of these first stages littering the ocean floor, as all of them burned to completion in order to get their vehicles into orbit. So have they actually done a visual inspection to check serial numbers in order to confirm that these are Apollo 11s?

RE: Um...
By EricMartello on 3/29/2012 4:03:05 PM , Rating: 2
They probably sent down a ROV down to check the debris after getting a hit on sonar to verify the find.

RE: Um...
By delphinus100 on 3/29/2012 6:28:22 PM , Rating: 2
You may not, aside from slightly different launch trajectories.

But once you raise it, as with recovered aircraft, you can check serial numbers and other details of record to know that it was from that particular Saturn V, or not.

not 'resurrect,' 'resurface.'
By chromal on 3/30/2012 12:16:50 PM , Rating: 3
Nobody's talking about 'resurrecting' the Apollo 11 Saturn V F-1 engines; that would imply restoring them to 'life' (e.g.: service) as rocket engines, and it's a pretty safe bet these engines will never again produce thrust.

No, what they're proposing to do is resurface or salvage these engines from the ocean floor. Quite a world of difference.

Word choice conveys information (or in this case, misinformation). This article's author should choose their wording more carefully.

RE: not 'resurrect,' 'resurface.'
By johnsonx on 3/30/2012 1:25:24 PM , Rating: 3
yes, I clicked on the article thinking 'resurrect' meant "refurbish and use" or "make live again". perhaps "Mickishness" has spread to Tiffany Kaiser as well!

Museum of Flight
By kattanna on 3/29/2012 11:51:46 AM , Rating: 2

Anyone who has even a passing interest in the history of flight should visit this place.

I did this last christmas time as I was visiting a buddy who lives up in seattle and who happens to work a couple miles from the museum. Its an awesome place. You also get to walk through a full sized mock-up of an IIS module as well as many other space related items.

so.. putting the engine there is a perfect fit, IMO, as it will be among friends so to speak.

RE: Museum of Flight
By bah12 on 3/29/2012 12:13:17 PM , Rating: 3
Agreed, I haven't been in 10 years, but it was awesome then. Plus, your in Seattle and get to eat some of the best seafood on the planet!

By jmunjr on 3/29/2012 12:03:47 PM , Rating: 2
I wonder if these things would fall under salvage laws. Perhaps Bezos' request for permission is just a kind gesture...

RE: Salvage
By Mr Perfect on 3/29/2012 12:22:54 PM , Rating: 2
That's what I'm thinking too. NASA threw that stuff away forty years ago, can they really lay claim to it?

f-ing bureocrats
By torpor on 3/31/2012 10:37:43 AM , Rating: 2
NASA didn't exactly give the green light at this point, but is keeping an eye on Bezos' effort to bring a piece of Apollo 11's history back to life.

This is what pisses me off about government.

They know what the guy's doing, but they can't sack up long enough to tell Bezos whether or not they're cool with it? If he'll get to display them in Seattle or not?

RE: f-ing bureocrats
By BushStar on 4/3/2012 11:58:55 AM , Rating: 2
Maybe the moon landing was fake and Bezo is unintentionally getting near to the truth!

By Wetworkz on 3/29/2012 12:05:46 PM , Rating: 1
Isn't this the guy who bit off Frodo's finger?

RE: Bezos?
By RufusM on 3/30/2012 11:47:20 AM , Rating: 2
LMAO my friend!!

Bezos waste
By reggieg on 4/2/2012 9:57:47 AM , Rating: 1
Too bad Bezos can't find something better to do with his money like funding research or scholarship programs .... something that would advance human progress.

"I f***ing cannot play Halo 2 multiplayer. I cannot do it." -- Bungie Technical Lead Chris Butcher

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