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back to article Amazon boss salvages Apollo engines from watery grave

Amazon boss Jeff Bezos and his deep-sea salvage crew have successfully raised enough wreckage from the seabed off Florida to rebuild two of the massive F-1 rocket engines that once powered NASA's Apollo missions. F-1 rocket from an Apollo engine A fixer-upper in mechanical terms "We found so much," Bezos said in a blog post …

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Silver badge

Look...

One owner, lightly used.

What could possible be wrong.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Look...

Slightly used yes but can be recycled and repaired. Amazon has a bigger budget than NASA now.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Look...

However, NASA exist to do Space and Aeronautics, it seems that these big Internet companies, such as Amazon, Google, etc, exist to allow their owners to carry out ego projects.

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Re: Look...

yeah how dare they allow their super reach execs to spend money on things like this!

What an exec does with their pay is not related to the company

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Go

Re: Look...

If they bring up interesting bits of history from the sea bed, or create their own launch system at vastly cheaper cost than existing systems, or indeed do anything that spends their money rather than hording it, they can do all the ego projects they like.

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Thumb Up

Re: Look...

Thank you Real Ale is Best for the smartest post I've read all day.

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Anonymous Coward

"plummeted into the sea at around 5,000 mph"

Where did that figure come from? Certainly you don't expect them to have maintained the velocity at separation all the way through the free-fall through a thickening atmosphere?

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Headmaster

Re: "plummeted into the sea at around 5,000 mph"

There's always one. Even on El Reg.

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JLV
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Thumb Up

Re: "plummeted into the sea at around 5,000 mph"

Good point, and I am pretty sure a booster which somehow ended up hitting the water surface at Mach 7 would not look remotely recognizable afterwards. That's, what, 2-3x as fast as a tank shell?

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Technical Matter

"Although the rockets are still technically the property of NASA the salvage attempt has been a privately-funded operation sponsored by Bezos and his chums."

Has he spoken to and more importantly reached any sort of agreement with NASA about this, uh, really trivial and purely technical matter - i.e. who owns them and/or who is going to decide on the engines disposition?

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Re: Technical Matter

I wonder if the International law on Martime Salvage might apply here? Or does that only apply to boats?

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Re: Technical Matter

Nope: salvage applies to aircraft, too, so why not rockets?

Clearly, these are abandoned wreckage so may be salved like any other wreck. The fact that the recovered items are headed for Canaveral suggests that Uncle Sam is not unhappy about this.

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Headmaster

Re: Technical Matter

Salvage doesn't apply to any government vehicle.

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Gold badge

Re: Technical Matter

I don't believe that's correct. Certainly the British government has had to pay out before, and salvage law is pretty standard.

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Thumb Up

Re: Technical Matter

Indeed NASA are aware and in support of the matter.

In Jeff's Bezos blog on the matter (already linked in this conversation) he states the following:

"

Finally, I want to thank NASA. They extended every courtesy and every helping hand – all of NASA’s interactions were characterized by plain old common sense, something which we all know is impressive and uncommon. We're excited to be bringing a couple of your F-1s home.

"

While not an outright declaration of their blessing, it is obviously strongly inferred.

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Mushroom

Re: Technical Matter / "Salvage"

You can be sure that U.S. only allows one of their own, trusted plutocrats to get his fingers on one of the most powerful rocket motors. These things still have massive military and political value and I would not be surprised to learn that parts of it are still classified secrets. You can build a nice ICBM with one of these. Not everybody really needs sold-fuel ICBMs when getting into that activity.

All your law technicalities mean exactly nothing when it comes to strategic weapons and surely they will find a way to route you to Gitmo if you try to grab one without their (written or not) permission.

A fitting picture.

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Linux

Re: Technical Matter

"Has he spoken to and more importantly reached any sort of agreement with NASA about this" -- I assume you missed the part of the article that said "Bezos is now steaming for Cape Canaveral to drop off the precious rockets for rebuilding and eventual display."

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Alien

I don't suppose

That they happened upon the remains of our proud playmonaut and his proud craft?

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Re: I don't suppose

mmm. Not unless he swam to Florida before drowning.

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Silver badge

Re: I don't suppose

Given a choice of drowning in the freezing four-foot waves we had in the channel that day, or drowning in Florida where maybe he could pick up a Mojito or two before he went, I know which I'd choose. It was bad enough in a boat!

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Anonymous Coward

Bet I know where they will be going....

I bet I know where NASA will send them for restoration - the same place Liberty Bell went, the same place the various V1 and V2 rockets go. I hope they do it like they did Liberty Bell, and do the restoration out in public.

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Ask if the SPB can borrow one.

You know, just because.

Hey, the response might be worth printing?

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Ahem, numbers...

"Nearly 50 years ago" -- Sorry, I was born days after Apollo 11 and I'm not that close to 50...the date range for Saturn V flights was more like 40-45 years ago.

"Plummeted into the sea at 5000 mph" -- The terminal velocity for a spent stage 1 booster would be much closer to 500 mph than 5000.

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Re: Ahem, numbers...

Indeed, after a collision with the surface of the sea at 5000 mi/hr the wreckage wouldn't be recognisable.

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Pint

Re: Ahem, numbers...

"Sorry, I was born days after Apollo 11 and I'm not that close to 50"

Come on, don't kid yourself about how the years have flown, mate! I was a toddler when Armstrong mentioned steps and leaps, and I turn 47 this year. If you were born then, that means you turn 44 this year. So there's 44 years behind you and 6 years until you're 50, so you're 88% of the way there bud...

Here, have a pint on me and let's reminisce about the good old days like the old farts we are! ;)

I remember thinking when Dad dug me out of bed to watch the historic moment (it's my earliest childhood memory), as a child would, that the "funny man" bouncing around on TV in the big suit was talking about the fun of jumping down stairs. I had only recently started walking (or toddling I should say) and had just discovered how to jump. Armstrong said small step and giant leap, so I assumed he meant that it was OK to jump off of the bottom steps of the hall staircase - an enjoyable pursuit I had just discovered and from which Mum quickly did her best to dissuade me, in absolute terror of me breaking my silly little neck doing it!

Of course, given my very tender age at the the time, the significance of the "funny man" actually being on the moon was completely lost on me...

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Boffin

Re: Ahem, numbers... @Sorry ... taken

Ahem indeed. As the "18.5ft by 12.2ft rockets" seem to have been infinitely flattened by the impact.

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Pint

Re: Ahem, numbers...

Steve, you wrote my post. My dad got me up to watch as well and I do have a memory of it.

Cheers!

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Alien

Re: Ahem, numbers...

Mine too - though I was nine. At school, they showed us the previous missions and the launch for that one... I can't remember how to do italic handwriting any more but I still recall that.

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Bronze badge

Re: Ahem, numbers...

and me....my how the years have sneaked past since then

About that pint...

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Meh

Re: Ahem, numbers...

"Sorry, I was born days after Apollo 11 and I'm not that close to 50...the date range for Saturn V flights was more like 40-45 years ago."

So a 10% variance.

That's 'nearly'!

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Headmaster

" Each of the five engines fired for just 165 seconds"

I think you'll find it was 155 seconds (2 minutes, 35 seconds). As schoolboys in that era we memorised such figures by heart. The first stage engines had a combined thrust of 7500000 lbs and burned propellant at 1000 tons/minute (no metrication in those days), meaning that the first stage got through more than 2500 tons of fuel before separating.

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Re: " Each of the five engines fired for just 165 seconds"

Just to be awkward... from a number of sources the burn time varied between 150 and 165 seconds, so you're both right: "it started out at 150 seconds, and the first two Mercury flights were 150 seconds, but they were unmanned. They had the whole stack, but they didn’t have the astronauts. They made flight changes for the first manned one, and from that point on, the burn duration was 165". From http://history.nasa.gov/monograph45.pdf, definitely worth a read.

Just one statistical snippet: "We got over 280,000 seconds of total burn time throughout the entire program. There were twelve Apollo flights that used the F-1 engines, then the Skylab used the last one that flew. That added up to thirteen flights or sixty-five total engines in flight. "

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Pirate

News flash!! The engines have mysteriously disappeared on the way to Cape Canaveral!!!

In other news, Jeff Bezos' Amazon purchase history has been hacked, and it was found that lately he has been stocking up on neutral-colored Nehru jackets and a white persian cat with a diamond collar.....

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Joke

News flash!! The engines have mysteriously disappeared on the way to Cape Canaveral!!!

Did they get a 'while you were out' note through the door telling them the engines are now at a depot 20 miles away?

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Trollface

He should be easily able to rebuild them, I mean, it's not exactly Rocket Science is it?

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Pint

As a side note...

It's a little known fact that a large proportion of the Saturn engines and telemetry systems were engineered and built by Chrysler...

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More photos on Bezos' site here:

http://www.bezosexpeditions.com/updates.html

There's one of the thrust chamber on the sea bottom. It looks like it dug itself a little crater when it hit bottom.

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Joke

So much material but no Paris icom

"thrust chamber", "see bottom", "little crater when it hit bottom".

Sounds like they should be entries in roger mellys Profanisaurus

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WTF?

SI units?

Has The Register given up completely on SI units already? The decision to use SI was not that long ago, how come standards have slipped (pun intended) so quickly?

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Joke

The US Government sure is thorough

They faked all the Moon missions, but to make sure no one found out they even sunk some 'damaged' rocket engines in the ocean. That's very thorough.

</sarcasm>

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Boffin

Re: The US Government sure is thorough

Very thorough indeed. The faked moon-landing was actually more expensive than a real moon-landing would have been.

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Coat

Fitting that Bezos has got 'em.

After all, they went up into the clouds and then came crashing back down again.

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Coat

Well it's amazing what you can find for sale

on eBay.

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Re: Well it's amazing what you can find for sale

And just how much do you think they'd sell for? I know that even a small fitting would probably be out of my price range.

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Stop

"Most Powerful"

According to

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RD-170_%28rocket_engine%29

this claim might not be entirely true today. It certainly was true then. The Russkies had their fair share of Nazi Engineers...

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Unhappy

Re: "Most Powerful"

Yes, but it has always been debatable whether the RD-170 is a single engine, or in fact four separate ones...

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Wow

They really are looking at taking cloud computing to another level with this...

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Happy

Where will they end up?

Somebody please say the Smithsonian. Next to Discovery please.

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