And If You Order With Prime, They Can Be There Tomorrow

Do you know Jeff Bezos? He's the CEO of Amazon, has a personal wealth that would make Lex Luthor jealous, and he's really into space. At the turn of the century, he founded Blue Origin, one of several private companies trying to get into space, with the specific goal of eventual space tourism (putting him more in line with Richard Branson rather then say, SpaceX).

 And he may have found the Apollo 11 rockets.

OK, some history. The F-1 rocket engines were what NASA used to launch the Saturn V rockets, which carried the Apollo missions into space, and eventually to the moon. They are the most powerful single-chamber liquid-fuelled rocket engine ever designed, capable of generating 1.5 million pound force and 55,000 brake horsepower (take that, Bugatti). Five of these things were strapped to the underside of every Apollo mission rocket, 65 in total, giving them enough umph to break up through the atmosphere and into space. After they expended their fuel, they were jettisoned 2.5 minutes into flight, where they were allowed to splash into the Atlantic ocean. And were abandoned. To be fair, there was no reason to recover them, other then for museum pieces. They couldn't be reused, and were in such a condition that the Russians wouldn't have been able to reverse engineer anything from them if they had been found. So they were left on the ocean floor.

Almost exactly a year ago, Bezos announced that a team of his had located a set of engines on the ocean floor using sonar. Last week, he announced that some fragments of the rockets had successfully been raised in an ongoing effort to locate the Apollo 11 engines. Said Bezos, "Many of the original serial numbers are missing or partially missing, which is going to make mission identification difficult. We might see more during restoration." The used engines would, of course, have a significant historical value, but also still have a functional value as well. NASA was, as of a few years ago, using original spare unused F-1 engines in experiments, for possible future applications on long space missions.

There is a significant amount of Apollo nostalgia gripping the science-fan, and scientist, community right now, given the last few years have seen massive and sweeping cuts to the American space budget, and the increased successes and bold future plans of private companies, like the one owned by Bezos. This sort of nostalgia is good, because rather then obsessing over what did happen, we can use it as a driving force to make it happen again.

Via Uproxx.
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About MR. Clark

Adopting the descriptor of "successfully unpublished author", MR. Clark began writing things on the internet in 2012, which he believed to be an entirely reputable and civilized place to find and deliver information. He regrets much.


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