Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.com, revealed his plans to recover the F-1 engines used on Saturn V rocket that carried the Apollo 11 crew members to the moon.
“I’m excited to report that, using state-of-the-art deep sea sonar, the team has found the Apollo 11 engines lying 14,000 feet below the surface, and we’re making plans to attempt to raise one or more of them from the ocean floor,” Bezos wrote.
“We don’t know yet what condition these engines might be in; they hit the ocean at high velocity and have been in saltwater for more than 40 years,” he added. “On the other hand, they’re made of tough stuff, so we’ll see.”
Bezos shared that he watched the original mission on televison when he was five years old. It had inspired him to dream big, and now he wants to venture on this huge task of recovering the engines.
Each of the spacecraft engines approximately weigh about nine tons and they are clustered into five. Every second, they burned 60,000 pounds of fuel to produce 32 million horsepower. The five engines propelled the largest rocket in history 38 miles up in just under three minutes.
After launching the rocket into space, the engines plummeted into the ocean where it stayed for four decades. NASA had a general idea of its location and a piece of debris landed on a German merchant ship that provided more clues.
Robert Pearlman, a space memorabilia expert, said that there are 65 of these engines launched. Once the engines had been brought back to surface, it can be authenticated by their serial number. But bringing the spacecraft engines up would be a challenge. It can be liken to bring up a big part of the Titanic.
But this venture is hardly the first in retrieving spacecraft memorabilia, in 1999, NASA’s Mercury 7 space capsule piloted by Gus Grissom was found and recovered.
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News source: edition.cnn.com
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