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  Amazon founder recovers Apollo F-1 engines (Page 1)

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Author Topic:   Amazon founder recovers Apollo F-1 engines
Robert Pearlman
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posted 03-28-2012 03:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
collectSPACE
Amazon.com founder finds Apollo 11 moon rocket engines on ocean floor

When NASA's mighty Saturn V rocket launched the historic Apollo 11 mission to land the first men on the moon in 1969, the five colossal engines that powered the booster's first stage dropped into the Atlantic Ocean, sank, and were lost forever.

Lost, that is, until now.

A private expedition financed by Amazon.com founder and billionaire Jeff Bezos has discovered the five F-1 rocket engines that were used to launch Apollo 11 into space on July 16, 1969. The same team is now drawing up plans to retrieve one or more of the engines so they can be publicly displayed.

Glint
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posted 03-28-2012 04:20 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Glint   Click Here to Email Glint     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hey, that's cool! I guess they checked the serial numbers and everything?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 03-28-2012 05:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Bezos has said only that his team conducted "state-of-the-art deep sea sonar" — there was no mention of submersibles to image the engines on the ocean floor. So for now the best they can probably resolve is a roughly engine- or engine cluster-sized mound.

Presumably, the Apollo 11 identification is based on the historic records of where NASA predicted the S-IC to impact the ocean, along with other data points (such as where the German ship was when a fragment from the first stage fell on its deck).

Cozmosis22
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posted 03-28-2012 05:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Cozmosis22     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Cool. So, when these engines are retrieved they will be immediately turned over to NASA or face the wrath of the current Justice Department?

Jay Chladek
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posted 03-28-2012 06:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I admit I am a little skeptical. Even Curt Newport didn't go by his sonar data alone as he had to send an ROV down to scout out the targets visually (and got lucky when the first target happened to be LB7). Plus, I would say before any recovery attempt is mounted, there should at least be some imagery taken to see what condition these "engines" (provided it isn't a false target) are in and if they are still even recognizable as rocket engines.

Bezos may have done that already of course as he seems to like playing his cards pretty close to his chest.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 03-28-2012 06:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Cozmosis22:
So, when these engines are retrieved they will be immediately turned over to NASA...
Yes. Unless another arrangement is negotiated ahead of time, the engines belong to NASA, which Bezos acknowledged.
Though they've been on the ocean floor for a long time, the engines remain the property of NASA. If we are able to recover one of these F-1 engines that started mankind on its first journey to another heavenly body, I imagine that NASA would decide to make it available to the Smithsonian for all to see. If we're able to raise more than one engine, I've asked NASA if they would consider making it available to the excellent Museum of Flight here in Seattle.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 03-28-2012 06:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Jay Chladek:
Even Curt Newport didn't go by his sonar data alone...
Newport spoke to MSNBC's Alan Boyle about this project.
Curt Newport, the underwater salvage expert who orchestrated the raising of Liberty Bell 7, said bringing up the engines would pose significant challenges. He assumes that the engines are among other pieces of debris from the Saturn 5's first stage that are spread across the sea floor. "The information I found suggested that [the stage] broke up due to aerodynamic forces before it hit the water," he told me.

Verifying that the engines are from Apollo 11 rather than a different Apollo mission would require checking parts numbers against NASA's database, he said. And bringing up the engines would not be a trivial task.

"If they're intact, they're like nine tons each," Newport told me. "That is not going to be easy to bring to the surface."

David Carey
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posted 03-28-2012 07:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for David Carey   Click Here to Email David Carey     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A neat effort - I hope for a great recovery.

The LA Times story (at least originally) had this unfortunate line:

Well, for Amazon.com  founder and CEO Jeff Bezos -- worth $18.4 billion according to Forbes -- it’s about tracking down old space shuttle parts.

APG85
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posted 03-28-2012 08:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for APG85     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This is pretty neat stuff no matter what. Even if it doesn't work out, the prospect of seeing those engines lifted from the ocean floor will capture a lot of peoples interest which is always a good thing...

Spaceguy5
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posted 03-28-2012 09:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Spaceguy5   Click Here to Email Spaceguy5     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by David Carey:
The LA Times story (at least originally) had this unfortunate line...
Didn't you know? Every craft that flies into space is a Space Shuttle--or more correctly, a "shuttle." I thought this was common knowledge considering that almost everyone I know or have seen does it.

*Edit* Funny, they literally just fixed it.

Gilbert
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posted 03-29-2012 07:21 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Gilbert   Click Here to Email Gilbert     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hopefully this endeavor will generate lots of positive publicity and maybe rekindle some interest in manned space exploration. We can hope.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 03-29-2012 07:41 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
collectSPACE
Amazon CEO's moon engine recovery plan piques NASA's, salvage expert's interest

A dot-com billionaire's announcement that he had not only located the engines that launched the first manned moon landing mission but was also planning to recover at least one of them from the ocean floor came as just as much a surprise to NASA as it did to the public.

"We read Mr. Bezos's blog post with the same excitement as I am sure others have today," Robert Jacobs, NASA's deputy associate administrator for communications, wrote on Wednesday (March 28) in an e-mail to journalists. "We have not had any formal contact with Mr. Bezos about the Apollo engines but we look forward to hearing more from his team and the recovery expedition."

dabolton
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posted 03-29-2012 12:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for dabolton   Click Here to Email dabolton     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Is there a possibility that the engines are still attached to one another in a cluster? Or is the expectation that they would have separated upon ocean impact?

Fra Mauro
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posted 03-29-2012 01:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fra Mauro   Click Here to Email Fra Mauro     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I would be a little skeptical until there is visual confirmation. The engines might not be from Apollo 11, really any flight would be fine, or they might not be engines at all.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 03-29-2012 04:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Apollo 11 or not, assume Bezos succeeds in raising one or more engines.

Do you restore them (as needed) to appear as they did before they sank (as best as possible, as was done with Liberty Bell 7) or do you stabilize any corrosion but strive to keep the engine looking as it did when it was on the ocean floor?

Is there any value of displaying an engine in its "as is" state — whatever condition that may be?

Rob Joyner
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posted 03-29-2012 05:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rob Joyner   Click Here to Email Rob Joyner     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
If two can be raised I think one should be kept the way it looks now, after dealing with the corrosion only, and the other restored. It would make a great side by side 'before and after' display.

If only one can be raised I'd opt for just dealing with the corrosion, and then display it along side KSC's Saturn V.

SpaceAholic
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posted 03-29-2012 07:20 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAholic   Click Here to Email SpaceAholic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The sinking of LB7 was never intended and constitutes an important part of its history (one arguably which overtakes the significance of the flight itself).

MrSpace86
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posted 03-30-2012 12:06 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for MrSpace86   Click Here to Email MrSpace86     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Full restoration. If not, what's the point of even bringing them up?

KA9Q
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posted 03-30-2012 05:27 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for KA9Q   Click Here to Email KA9Q     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
What is the law here regarding ownership of these objects? It seems pretty obvious to me that NASA deliberately abandoned the spent S-IC stages, making no attempt to recover them, so they really ought to belong to whoever wants to spend the time and money to locate and recover them.

That said, I think it would be wonderful if they'd be donated to a museum so that the greatest number of people can see them. I certainly don't mind Bezos getting full credit for his efforts.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 03-30-2012 08:09 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by KA9Q:
What is the law here regarding ownership of these objects?
To quote Jeff Bezos:
Though they've been on the ocean floor for a long time, the engines remain the property of NASA. If we are able to recover one of these F-1 engines that started mankind on its first journey to another heavenly body, I imagine that NASA would decide to make it available to the Smithsonian for all to see. If we're able to raise more than one engine, I've asked NASA if they would consider making it available to the excellent Museum of Flight here in Seattle.
And to quote NASA deputy associate administrator for communications, Bob Jacobs:
The rules regarding NASA property in the ocean are the same as those that govern sunken ships and other government property, including our hardware on the moon and other celestial bodies. As Mr. Bezos points out in his blog, the federal government retains ownership until the property is properly disposed. However, we do not see that as any impediment to the recovery efforts of the Apollo engines.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 03-30-2012 06:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
collectSPACE
NASA chief salutes 'bold venture' to raise sunken Apollo 11 engines

NASA's chief hopes that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has "all the luck in the world" recovering one or more of the engines that launched the first manned moon landing mission from where the dot-com billionaire recently discovered them on the ocean floor.

"I would like to thank Jeff Bezos for his communication with NASA informing us of his historic find," said Charles Bolden, NASA Administrator, in a statement issued Friday (March 30). "I salute him and his entire team on this bold venture."

Fra Mauro
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posted 03-31-2012 09:14 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fra Mauro   Click Here to Email Fra Mauro     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
Is there any value of displaying an engine in its "as is" state — whatever condition that may be?
If they can be brought up they should be treated the way Liberty Bell 7 was. How could they be brought up? There is no attachment hook like on LB7.

Fra Mauro
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posted 10-18-2012 10:48 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fra Mauro   Click Here to Email Fra Mauro     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Anyone heard any updates about this?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 03-20-2013 10:09 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
collectSPACE
Apollo F-1 rocket engines raised off ocean floor by Amazon CEO

Long thought to be lost on the ocean floor, the massive engines that launched astronauts to the moon more than 40 years ago have been recovered by a private expedition led by the founder of Amazon.com.

"We found so much," said Jeff Bezos, the online retailer's CEO, in an update posted Wednesday (March 20) on the Bezos Expeditions website. "We have seen an underwater wonderland – an incredible sculpture garden of twisted F-1 engines that tells the story of a fiery and violent end, one that serves testament to the Apollo program."

p51
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posted 03-20-2013 10:17 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for p51   Click Here to Email p51     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
So good to see the engines coming to the surface! Regardless where they go, I'm sure the public will get to see them somewhere...
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
And to quote NASA deputy associate administrator for communications, Bob Jacobs:

The rules regarding NASA property in the ocean are the same as those that govern sunken ships and other government property, including our hardware on the moon and other celestial bodies. As Mr. Bezos points out in his blog, the federal government retains ownership until the property is properly disposed. However, we do not see that as any impediment to the recovery efforts of the Apollo engines.


This is just the same as the Navy laying claim to ALL their aircraft and airships, wherever they are or how long they've been sitting somewhere abandoned. The Army and USAF are generally okay with someone recovering, say, a B-17 or P-40 from a swamp or lakebed, then doing whatever they want with it. With the Navy, if you recover it, you just spent the time and money to recover it for them, because they will be coming to get it even if they have no interest in it.

apolloprojeckt
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posted 03-20-2013 10:17 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for apolloprojeckt   Click Here to Email apolloprojeckt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Great news, there must be laying plenty more.

Jurg Bolli
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posted 03-20-2013 11:12 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jurg Bolli   Click Here to Email Jurg Bolli     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This is great!

Greggy_D
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posted 03-20-2013 11:16 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Greggy_D   Click Here to Email Greggy_D     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I find this absolutely fascinating!

garymilgrom
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posted 03-20-2013 12:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for garymilgrom   Click Here to Email garymilgrom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Wow!

GACspaceguy
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posted 03-20-2013 02:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for GACspaceguy   Click Here to Email GACspaceguy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I wonder how long before they get to go on display? Traveling road show like Liberty Bell 7 would be cool.

mikepf
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posted 03-20-2013 02:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mikepf   Click Here to Email mikepf     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Can I order one on Amazon?

YankeeClipper
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posted 03-20-2013 04:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for YankeeClipper   Click Here to Email YankeeClipper     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Sure, would you like it gift-wrapped and for next day delivery?

arjuna
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posted 03-20-2013 04:29 PM           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Steve Jurvetson has posted some great pics here.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 03-20-2013 04:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The same photographs are presented in our gallery (click on each to enlarge).

The other shots are, I believe, stills from the video presented with the gallery and embedded above.

dtemple
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posted 03-20-2013 06:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for dtemple   Click Here to Email dtemple     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The article stated the identities of the recovered F-1 engines may not be known with certainty. What are the possibilities considering the location where they were found?

garyd2831
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posted 03-20-2013 06:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for garyd2831   Click Here to Email garyd2831     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Imagine if you were on a boat or ship out in the Atlantic when these stages came crashing down? That would be some cool footage to see pending it didn't land up on you.

Headshot
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posted 03-20-2013 06:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Headshot   Click Here to Email Headshot     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I see that Jeff Bezos and his team have recovered major components of two Saturn V F-1 engine from the ocean floor. Although he is uncertain from which mission they come, it is something to applaud.

My question is: How can NASA still claim legal ownership of these engines?

NASA:

  1. Intentionally discarded them from the main vehicle during flight.

  2. Essentially abandoned them thereafter. They made no attempts to locate or recover them in the 40+ intervening years.
Editor's note: Threads merged.

dtemple
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posted 03-20-2013 06:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for dtemple   Click Here to Email dtemple     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by garyd2831:
Imagine if you were on a boat or ship out in the Atlantic when these stages came crashing down?
I haven't heard any accounts of people watching Saturn S-IC stages crashing into the Atlantic but I do recall reading in a book by Martin Caidin about the flight of Freedom 7 that people did witness the Redstone booster smashing into the Atlantic. Maybe some day pieces of that rocket will be recovered.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 03-20-2013 07:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Headshot:
My question is: How can NASA still claim legal ownership of these engines?
Per the United Nations' Outer Space Treaty, nations retain ownership of their spacecraft and launch vehicles until such time that they explicitly relinquish control, regardless if the vehicle is on Earth, in space or under the ocean.

The same was true for Liberty Bell 7. Curt Newport, Discovery Channel and the Kansas Cosmosphere negotiated terms with NASA that in return for the capsule being recovered, restored and put on public display, that title would be transferred to the Cosmosphere. Bezos, from the start, has accepted the engines are NASA property and hasn't indicated any objection to such.

GACspaceguy
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posted 03-21-2013 04:24 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for GACspaceguy   Click Here to Email GACspaceguy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
So scrapped bolts, washers, pieces in Lucite are not out of the question, as was done during the restoration of Liberty Bell 7?


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