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Saturday, March 31, 2012

Amazon boss Jeff Bezos 'finds Apollo 11 Moon engines'

From The BBC

29 March 2012

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos says he has located the long-submerged F-1 engines that blasted the Apollo 11 Moon mission into space. In a blog post, Mr Bezos said the five engines were found using advanced sonar scanning some 14,000ft (4,300m) below the Atlantic Ocean's surface. Mr Bezos, a billionaire bookseller and spaceflight enthusiast, said he was making plans to raise one or more. Apollo 11 carried astronauts on the first Moon landing mission in 1969. The F-1 engines were used on the giant Saturn V rocket that carried the Apollo landing module out of the Earth's atmosphere and towards the Moon. They burned for just a few minutes before separating from the second stage module and falling to Earth somewhere in the Atlantic. Mr Bezos' announcement comes days after film director James Cameron succeeded in his own deep-sea expedition, reaching the bottom of the Mariana Trench, the deepest point on the planet.

Announcing the discovery on his Bezos Expeditions website, Mr Bezos described the F-1 as a "modern wonder" that boasted 32 million horsepower and burned 6,000lb (2,720kg) of rocket-grade kerosene and liquid oxygen every second. "I was five years old when I watched Apollo 11 unfold on television, and without any doubt it was a big contributor to my passions for science, engineering, and exploration," he wrote, confirming that his team had located the engines but without hinting where they might be. "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," Mr Bezos wrote. His privately funded team was planning to raise one or more engines, he wrote. He said he planned to ask Nasa - which still owns the rockets - for permission to display one in the Museum of Flight in his home city of Seattle. Nasa said it looked forward to hearing more about the recovery, the Associated Press reports. Other elements of the Apollo missions - including the Apollo 11 command module - are on display in the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC. The attempt to raise the F-1 engines is not the first foray into space technology for Mr Bezos. In 2000 he founded a private space flight firm, Blue Origin, which has received Nasa funding and is working on making orbital and sub-orbital spaceflight commercially available.

[Cool – OK cool GEEK – story. The best of luck to him!]


wunelle said...

Too awesome!--though not as awesome as the original engines doing their thing; 6,000 lbs of fuel every second while lifting something like 5 million pounds and accelerating it to17,000 mph and beyond! Astounding.

CyberKitten said...

...and with 1960's technology! It's amazing when you think about it. They put men on the Moon with computing power that now resides in the average car!

wunelle said...

Absolutely. I understand the realities, and I'm still thrilled at the unmanned things NASA is doing, but I can't help regretting that our manned program is so long stalled now. Think what we could have achieved if we'd kept at it. Bases on the moon, trips years ago to Mars and perhaps beyond.

CyberKitten said...

You do have to wonder were we would be now if the Space Program had continued on in the way it had. There were definite plans for a manned landing on Mars in the 1980's. We'd almost certainly have permanent bases on both the Moon and Mars by now. What a wasted opportunity!