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back to article Amazon boss finds Apollo 11 engines on seabed

Jeff Bezos, Amazon's adventurous CEO, says his organization has found the F-1 rockets used briefly by Apollo 11 and he wants to salvage them for American museums. "A year or so ago, I started to wonder, with the right team of undersea pros, could we find and potentially recover the F-1 engines that started mankind's mission to …

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Pint

Remains the property of NASA....

I thought anything abandoned or lost at sea, became the property of whoever salvages it, when they do....

Surely this would qualify as abandoned at sea.

Beer because I'm on my 3rd.

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Mushroom

Re: Remains the property of NASA....

I thought if it was in international waters then whoever finds if first has salvage rights.

I assume is NASA are claiming its their property, then they knew exactly where it was and have previously claimed salvage rights...

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Bronze badge

Re: Remains the property of NASA....

No I believe it remains the property of the owner. The salvage company are allowed to claim reasonable recovery fees which often results in transfer of ownership but not every time.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Remains the property of NASA....

The fuel they used in them is quite toxic, maybe it is better to let sleeping motors......

Anyway, if he has the money to bring them up, use the money for a better purpose like....

Free kindled all round.

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FAIL

Re: Toxic

Yes, that pesky poison dihydrogen monoxide strikes again....

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Re: Remains the property of NASA....

The F-1's burned liquid O2 and kerosene.

Not must to worry about there!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Remains the property of NASA....

I suspect you're thinking of hydrazine, which is used as a rocket fuel (possibly because it contains its own oxidizer?) which is massively toxic, but these engines ran from hydrogen and oxygen IIRC.

Either was, if it were covered in hydrazine, you wouldn't want to leave it in the sea. Or take it out...

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Joke

Re: Toxic

Water shame that is :D

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Remains the property of NASA....

I'm not sure this is correct - Liberty Bell (Liberty 7) is owned by the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space center, and is, in fact, the only flown, manned US space capsule NOT owned by the Smithsonian, precisely because KCSC and Discovery Channel salvaged it from the ocean.

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Silver badge

Re: Remains the property of NASA....

That' only for plebes like us. If you're a government all bets are off. The Spanish government has been claiming salvage from 18th century pirate raids for at least the last 50 years.

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Stop

Doesn't anyone read Ignition any more?

Hydrazine - actually unsymmetrical dimethyl hydrazine (UDMH) - is used as a rocket fuel for space-based firings (ie, not for lift-off) because it has a very low freezing point (-57C), is a liquid at normal earth temperatures and is hypergolic with both IFRNA and MON oxidizers.

If you haven't read it, Ignition is available on-line here: http://library.sciencemadness.org/library/books/ignition.pdf

If you know any chemistry (O-level would be enough) then this history of the chemistry of rocket fuel is a stunning piece of history.

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Paris Hilton

Most powerful?

The F-1s were rated at 1.5M lb thrust (6.77 MN). One shuttle solid booster was rated at 2.8M lb thrust (12 MN).

It would be more accurate to say the F-1s were the most powerful liquid fuel engines.

Paris, because thrust and all that.

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I hope if he does get them off the sea bed and into a exhibit they end up doing a travelling show, of them I would love to see them.

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Coat

Remains the property of NASA...

Maybe.

But they definitely remain the propertieS of various sea life.

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Anonymous Coward

If you really have too much money ...

... why can't you do something worthwhile with it, like funding cures to diseases etc, rather than spending it on going down to 14000ft and retrieving an unusable rocket. FFS

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Re: If you really have too much money ...

Given that we've not been to the moon since these missions, this project will hopefully inspire the human race to do bigger better things. There are plenty of people funding research into diseases such as Bill Gates. There comes a point where more cash won't help to cure the diseases anyway but ultimately it's his money and he can do as he pleases.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: If you really have too much money ...

I had no idea these things had to be mutually exclusive.

No, you're right. Let's not do *anything* else until all diseases have been cured.

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Re: If you really have too much money ...

You can't spend the same money twice. Choosing to spend a few million quid means that you can't spend that particular few million quid on something else, so to that extent, they appear to be mutually exclusive.

Of course, you could argue that investing a few million quid in something that gives a return potentially enables everyone to be better off in the long term, but I think that's a very hard argument to make for something that appears to be so totally pointless. The National Air and Space Museum already has a display with an F1 engine and a load of mirrors as I recall. Pretty impressive. I can't see that it would be more interesting to look at an engine that had hit the sea it high speed and then been left to corrode for n number of years.

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Re: If you really have too much money ...

"... why can't you do something worthwhile with it, like funding cures to diseases etc"

I am assuming then that you do not have a television, since that is obviously not worthwile compared to curing diseases, etc. You also therefore spend all the money you earn (except for buying food and renting a room) on said causes?

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Re: If you really have too much money ...

I sit on a spike, in an otherwise unfurnished room, while meditating on how to solve the world's ills.

Watching TV is evil.

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Re: If you really have too much money ...

. . . and playing on the internet

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Unhappy

Re: If you really have too much money ...

The NASM has 1/4 of an F-1 mockup, set into a mirrored corner in a lame attempt to make it look like the real thing. Having also seen the real thing, I think it's a major ripoff and rather surprised they'd do such a poor exhibit.

If you think that's impressive, you should see the real thing.

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Coat

Re: If you really have too much money ...

> "There are plenty of people funding research into diseases such as Bill Gates."

I didn't know he was characterised as a disease. Most negativity towards him called Windows a virus, though...

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Childcatcher

Re: If you really have too much money ...

Luxury.

We lived in paper bag / hole in ground / went down t'pit / woke up before going to bed, etc.

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Re: If you really have too much money ...

I've been there, and seen it. It's actually one complete engine, and a quarter cutaway, with mirrors arranged to show the array of five.

I'm sure the real Saturn V, with real engines, looks more impressive, but they also exist on dry land, so I can't see why it's worth recovering this one.

Having said that, it's his money - he can do what he likes with it. I suppose when you are that wealthy, you get to indulge your more frivolous inclinations. I can't help thinking there are better ways to spend the dosh (unless he's already got a bevy of beautiful ladies on tap).

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Re: If you really have too much money ...

Well actually its not as if he's burning dollar bills. The money 'spent' will buy stuff and pay wages, and the people who sold the stuff or got the wages will pay taxes, and buy more stuff and pay more wages, and so the wheels of capitalism grind round.

if we are going to whinge about pointless expenditure I think there's quite a long list before you get to this - i would start at nuclear weapons and work down the list, through TV reality shows, past designer handbags and personalised number-plates before i carped at spending that celebrates heritage, arts and achievement.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: If you really have too much money ...

...and my wife sits on my lap - two spikes would be an extravagance!

*thanks to Blackadder II - Money

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WTF?

Re: If you really have too much money ...

So what charity do you give your spare money to? Beer is a luxury, not a necessity... do you drink that?

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Thumb Up

Re: If you really have too much money ...

So she's sitting on your spike?

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FAIL

Re: If you really have too much money ...

> retrieving an unusable rocket. FFS

If we all took that attitude we'd still be living in caves and dying at 35.

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Re: If you really have too much money ...

I think it might be Beer.

Money is the one with the Bishop of Bath and Wells, and features the threat of Blackadder dying in agony with a spike up his bottom.

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Re: If you really have too much money ...

Blackadder: If you'd like to help yourself to a legacy- I mean a chair!

Lady Whiteadder: Chair!? You have chairs in your house!?

Blackadder: Oh yes.

Lady Whiteadder: [slaps him twice] Wicked child! Chairs are an invention of Satan! In our house, Nathaniel sits on a spike!

Blackadder: And yourself?

Lady Whiteadder: [with a malicious smile] I sit on Nathaniel. Two spikes would be an extravagance! I will suffer comfort this once; we shall just have to stick forks in our legs between courses!

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This post has been deleted by its author

Re: If you really have too much money ...

"I'm sure the real Saturn V, with real engines, looks more impressive, but they also exist on dry land, so I can't see why it's worth recovering this one."

It's worth doing because, unlike the ones already on show, this one was an integral part of an Apollo mission, giving it a historical attachment which raises it above merely being "yet another Saturn V first stage rocket engine". Even if the impact with the ocean and the subsequent passage of time submerged in the briny has left it little more than a twisted lump of rusted metal, it's still a historically significant artifact worthy of at least as much attention as any of the existing Saturn V exhibits. Even if it turns out not to have the particular significance of having formed part of the Apollo 11 mission, it's still something we'll be able to look at and say "that helped send so and so to the moon".

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Anonymous Coward

Re: If you really have too much money ...

One motive for this kind of effort is that it this particular vehicle is regarded with reverance as an ancient artefact of America's finest hour. Recovery of a holy object such as this will appeal to a rich guy who wants everyone to think he's important, generous, whatever.

They view it as historic like the Mary Rose.

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Re: If you really have too much money ...

I can see the argument, but I don't agree. A corroded, twisted ball of mess is more interesting because it once formed part of these missions, but that doesn't mean I think it's worthwhile to recover it.

Lots of people seem to agree that it is worthwhile, so perhaps I'm in the minority (on this website).

Having said that I love the space exhibits at the National Air and Space Museum - especially the LM they've got there and command module (and I think one of the very early US manned satellites). They were really pushing it.

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Windows

Re: If you really have too much money ...

Hit the nail on the head, squire!

We've too much money, let's spend it on a war someplace. As long as the country starts with a vowel. Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Idi Amin's back garden, Neither Russia nor China do, but Engl...oh...

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Re: If you really have too much money ...

Why is there always at least one unimaginative twit in the posting group who is more interested in assuaging his own guilt with other people's money than in appreciating someone's ingenuity, dedication, and success?

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Facepalm

Re: If you really have too much money ...

"Luxury.

We lived in paper bag / hole in ground / went down t'pit / woke up before going to bed, etc."

HA.... paper bag...... they only hung me the right way up yesterday !!!

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I visited the Saturn V exhibit at Kennedy Space Center (Cape Canaveral) just after they opened it hmm must of been 13-14 years ago.

You walk in on the business end of the first stage. I was suitably stunned by just how big the engines are - I knew their dimensions as a kid but to see them in real life was something else. Words still fail me.

My GF of the time was very understanding, and let me geek out and drool on myself for a while, and then helped guide me through the rest of the exhibit.

To think they almost let that history go. Any engines they can retrieve to get the word out on what they came up with *50* years ago is good news.

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Excellent news. The Apollo program was truly "awesome", and anything that puts it back into the public domain is fine with me. Hope they get the go ahead and succeed in this project.

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Out of interest

I wonder how they're so sure these are from Apollo 11, rather than the other Apollo missions? They would all have had a similar trajectory I presume?

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Re: Out of interest

I saw that immediately and wondered how they knew. There were at least 8 moon-bound apollo missions that could reasonable be expected to have that trajectory, so who is to say they are from 11? Hell, there were hundreds of missions nasa flew from canaveral that could have ended up there.

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Re: Out of interest

That was my first thought as well. I'd have thought that the only way to be sure would be to look for serial numbers, though these would probably have corroded by now.

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Trollface

Re: Out of interest

Meh. "Apollo 11 engines found!" makes a much better headline than "Rocket engine found, we hope it's an Apollo, preferrably Apollo 11."

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Re: Out of interest

Considering how much effort was put into tracking the Saturn V throughout its ascent into orbit, I'm thinking its unlikely the S1C stages weren't similarly tracked during their descent back to the ocean surface. The S1C page at Wiki (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S-IC) gives locations for each of the stages, and there seems to be sufficient distance between the Apollo 11 stage and its nearest neighbour to suggest that any debris found at that location probably was part of 11.

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min

the Russians..

..had a multi chamber/nozzle rocket powered by LOX and heavily refined Kerosene which had more power than the F-1, buuuut..this rocket engine certainly was the most powerful single nozzle engine lying at the bottom of the sea for sure! (i forget the name of the Russian engine, but have info on it in a hardback book at home somewhere which the geek in me will be digging out the moment i get home from work tonight!).

both had similar thrust to weight ratios IIRC, so the F-1 is still a cool mac-daddy!

anything capable of almost 7 megaNewton of thrust deserves better than a Paris icon IMO.

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Ru
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Flame

Re: the Russians..

RD-170, apparently. Energia uses em.

Though they manage about 10% more thrust than an F-1, I do note that their thrust-to-weight ratio is somewhat lower (~94 for the F-1, ~82 for the RD-170).

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Black Helicopters

Ok, we can work out how they know it's Apollo 11 later.

But first things first, what the hell are amazon doing at the bottom of the ocean in the first place?

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Re: Ok, we can work out how they know it's Apollo 11 later.

its a tax loop hole. if they send dvds from there they pay less VAT

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