Author Topic: Amazon founder finds Apollo engines on ocean floor  (Read 47579 times)

Offline Jeff Lerner

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As reported by Alan Boyle over at MSNBC:

Amazon.com's billionaire founder, Jeff Bezos, says he's funded a successful effort to locate the mammoth rocket engines that sent the Apollo 11 mission on the first leg of its mission to the moon and now he's planning to bring them up from the Atlantic Ocean floor.

Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos aims to bring up Apollo 11's sunken engines
http://cosmiclog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/03/28/10906114-amazon-billionaire-jeff-bezos-aims-to-bring-up-apollo-11s-sunken-engines

And collectSPACE's story written with SPACE.com:

"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 announced on his Expeditions website.

Amazon.com founder finds Apollo 11 moon rocket engines on ocean floor
http://www.collectspace.com/news/news-032812a.html

Also see Bezos Expeditions: http://www.bezosexpeditions.com/engine-recovery.html
« Last Edit: 05/14/2013 10:46 PM by Chris Bergin »

Offline EirikV

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Very interesting.
Anyone want to take an educated guess on what condition they will be in? Given a lengthy free fall from ~ 60 km altitude (and wouldn't the heavier end of the stage, with the engines, hit first and completely disintegrate?) and the conditions on the bottom of the Atlantic.

Offline racshot65

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Cool, hopefully there in a reasonably decent condition. I'd pay to go see them at a museum or something.

Offline grakenverb

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There was a thread on this subject a few years ago.  It is cool to see that someone is willing to spend the money to find them. 

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=5881.0

Offline Blackstar

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I sure hope he gets some maritime salvage lawyers on this. They remain property of the U.S. government, and unless he negotiates ahead of time, the Federal Marshals will meet the boat at the pier and immediately impound the artifacts.

Offline collectSPACE

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Bezos has addressed ownership:

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. (For clarity, I'll point out that no public funding will be used to attempt to raise the engines, as it's being undertaken privately.)

Amazon.com founder finds Apollo 11 moon rocket engines on ocean floor
http://www.collectspace.com/news/news-032812a.html
« Last Edit: 03/28/2012 09:03 PM by collectSPACE »

Offline LegendCJS

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I sure hope he gets some maritime salvage lawyers on this. They remain property of the U.S. government, and unless he negotiates ahead of time, the Federal Marshals will meet the boat at the pier and immediately impound the artifacts.

That is really pessimistic of you, beyond the point of reasonableness.  Federal Marshals aren't stormtroopers.
Remember: if we want this whole space thing to work out we have to optimize for cost!

Offline Ronsmytheiii

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So is this how RAC-2 SLS was going to get its engines ;D

Offline Blackstar

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1-That is really pessimistic of you,
2-beyond the point of reasonableness. 
3-Federal Marshals aren't stormtroopers.

1-Thank you!

2-Nope. I suggest you google around a little bit about the salvage of sunken U.S. Navy aircraft and what has happened when people have attempted to raise them. The Navy has stepped in and seized the property and refused to reimburse the salvage costs. (Use the U.S. Naval Aviation Museum in your search attempts.) Also, you might look up the recent case of the Spanish galleon where the gold was all recently returned to Spain, after about 500 years of being on the bottom of the ocean. The U.S. government upheld Spain's right of ownership.

3-They don't have to be stormtroopers in order to enforce the law. All they need to do is show up with a warrant.

Offline QuantumG

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He had to. Couldn't let us profit. Wouldn't be "civilized". - Mal

When someone is wishing for a pony, there's little to be gained by suggesting a unicorn would be ever better.. ya know, unless it's sarcasm.

Online Chris Bergin

Opening post updated with the main resources for this story.

Offline Lurker Steve

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1-That is really pessimistic of you,
2-beyond the point of reasonableness. 
3-Federal Marshals aren't stormtroopers.

1-Thank you!

2-Nope. I suggest you google around a little bit about the salvage of sunken U.S. Navy aircraft and what has happened when people have attempted to raise them. The Navy has stepped in and seized the property and refused to reimburse the salvage costs. (Use the U.S. Naval Aviation Museum in your search attempts.) Also, you might look up the recent case of the Spanish galleon where the gold was all recently returned to Spain, after about 500 years of being on the bottom of the ocean. The U.S. government upheld Spain's right of ownership.

3-They don't have to be stormtroopers in order to enforce the law. All they need to do is show up with a warrant.

I think if Bezos tells NASA that he is going to deliver the engines to them, they will gladly wait for the delivery truck. Let Amazon Prime handle the free shipping.

I assume NASA wouldn't mind locating one of these engines in a space musuem within a few hundred miles of Bezo's house. 

Have there been any other large engines recovered from the ocean floor after this many years ? Does that fact that they are made from rare metals give them a better chance of surviving intact than a steel hulled ship like the Titanic ?

Offline Blackstar

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I assume NASA wouldn't mind locating one of these engines in a space musuem within a few hundred miles of Bezo's house. 

That's not the same as the legal right to possess the property.

Just look up the U.S. Naval Aviation Museum incidents and you'll see why. In at least one case the salvager claimed to be recovering the wreck to place it in a museum. The U.S. government seized it anyway.

Offline Namechange User

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Re: Amazon founder finds Apollo 11 engines on ocean floor
« Reply #13 on: 03/28/2012 10:09 PM »
This is pretty cool!  I like it when people do this kind of thing....

Oh, and Legend, you may not have to like it but Blackstar is completely right and well within bounds to say this.  The fact Bezos has already spoken with NASA and acknowledged this as well just further validates the rationale. 
Enjoying viewing the forum a little better now by filtering certain users.

Offline collectSPACE

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Have there been any other large engines recovered from the ocean floor after this many years? Does that fact that they are made from rare metals give them a better chance of surviving intact than a steel hulled ship like the Titanic?

I think the closest comparison is the raising of the Liberty Bell 7 Mercury spacecraft after nearly 40 years.
« Last Edit: 03/28/2012 10:26 PM by collectSPACE »

Offline Space OurSoul

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Re: Amazon founder finds Apollo 11 engines on ocean floor
« Reply #15 on: 03/28/2012 10:18 PM »
Would the other SV first stages be clustered nearby? I've no idea how identical their early trajectories were...
A complete OurSoul

Offline collectSPACE

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Re: Amazon founder finds Apollo 11 engines on ocean floor
« Reply #16 on: 03/28/2012 10:27 PM »
Curt Newport, who led the expedition to find and recover Liberty Bell 7, wrote in 2002 that he concluded that the S-1C boosters from Apollo 8, 9, 10, 11, 13, and 16 landed in roughly a 5 by 11 nautical mile area.

Offline AS-503

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Re: Amazon founder finds Apollo 11 engines on ocean floor
« Reply #17 on: 03/28/2012 10:59 PM »
Thanks to Jorge, I found this excellent essay on Apollo launch windows.

http://history.nasa.gov/afj/launchwindow/lw1.html

This document clearly shows the azimuth angle deviation as time changes during the launch window.

Obviously the first stage debris field from each launch will be closer together than the second stage debris field.

Notice also that the Saturn V flies through the center of the Moon's antipode in order to get the right alignment for TLI.

Offline Jim

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Re: Amazon founder finds Apollo 11 engines on ocean floor
« Reply #18 on: 03/28/2012 11:10 PM »

Offline jaysvw

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Re: Amazon founder finds Apollo 11 engines on ocean floor
« Reply #19 on: 03/29/2012 06:17 AM »
My guess is they already have some sort of visual confirmation (other than sonar) that the engines are in decent shape.  He wouldn't be making press releases and spending millions of dollars to raise F-1 parts.  I always figured that falling from that height would have destroyed everything beyond recognition.
« Last Edit: 03/29/2012 06:18 AM by jaysvw »

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