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 …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. ZagZee
    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.

    1. Marty
      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...

      1. Lusty

        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.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      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.

      1. hplasm Silver badge
        FAIL

        Re: Toxic

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

        1. AndrueC Silver badge
          Joke

          Re: Toxic

          Water shame that is :D

      2. JeffinLondon

        Re: Remains the property of NASA....

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

        Not must to worry about there!

      3. Anonymous Coward
        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...

        1. Richard Gadsden
          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.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      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.

    4. Tom 13

      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.

  2. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge
    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.

  3. Nights_are_Long

    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.

  4. Winkypop Silver badge
    Coat

    Remains the property of NASA...

    Maybe.

    But they definitely remain the propertieS of various sea life.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    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

    1. Lusty

      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.

      1. JetSetJim Silver badge
        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...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      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.

      1. tybalt

        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.

        1. Gene Cash Silver badge
          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.

          1. tybalt

            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).

            1. ChrisC

              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".

              1. tybalt

                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.

        2. Andrew Alan McKenzie

          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.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          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.

    3. BristolBachelor Gold badge

      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?

      1. tybalt

        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.

        1. tybalt

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

          . . . and playing on the internet

        2. I'm Brian and so's my wife
          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.

          1. Marty
            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 !!!

        3. Anonymous Coward
          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

          1. Gazareth
            Thumb Up

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

            So she's sitting on your spike?

          2. tybalt

            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.

        4. BenR
          Thumb Up

          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!

        5. This post has been deleted by its author

    4. Gary Riches
      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?

    5. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
      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.

    6. Andus McCoatover
      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...

    7. Tom 13

      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?

  6. G Mac
    Thumb Up

    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.

  7. Flugal
    Thumb Up

    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.

  8. Flugal

    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?

    1. SuperTim

      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.

    2. Uncle Slacky Silver badge

      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.

      1. Asiren
        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."

    3. ChrisC

      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.

  9. 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.

    1. Ru
      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).

  10. JeffUK
    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?

    1. Mike Brown

      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

    2. chris 233
      Joke

      Re: 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?

      Well, to co-opt an old lawyer joke, It's a good start!

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

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

      My guess is driving a van from Orlando to Paris, France

    4. Ged T
      Coat

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

      What are Amazon doing at the bottom of the ocean?

      .................. They are trying to Kindle a Fire....

      I'll get me coat...

  11. Blubster
    Coat

    @Lusty

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

    What? There's a disease called Bill Gates?

    1. min

      Re: @Lusty

      there's a disease called windows. Bill Gates is just the infection vector

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "infection vector"

        BillG personally came round and installed Windows on your machine? Sounds unusual.

        More of a saprophyte than a vector, I'd say.

        1. Peter Simpson 1
          Linux

          BillG personally came round and installed Windows on your machine?

          No, but when the registration screen comes up, I always enter "Bill Gates" and "Microsoft Corporation"...

  12. b166er

    'There comes a point where more cash won't help to cure the diseases anyway'

    Twaddle!

    1. Crisp Silver badge

      How can we even think about starting to cure diseases when we haven't even solved world hunger yet!?

      1. Gordon 10 Silver badge
        Happy

        Its difficult to solve world hunger. Ever since Orson died Unicron hasn't been back.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    how do they know it's from the Apollo 11 mission?

    Probably a silly question... but there were 6 moon landings plus a couple of other apollo trips that orbited the moon without landing.

    I imagine all of them used similar rocket engines, and all would have taken a similar launch path and dumped their first stages in roughly the same place. But these guys seem pretty certain that sonar readings identify these as Apollo 11 engines (since they don't suggest they've looked at them yet or know the condition of them). If they're going on sonar readings, then they cannot have observed serial numbers yet. So presumably it is location alone they are going on. How close are the other moonshot rocket engines? How accurately do they know where each first stage came down?

    Genuinely interested...

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Amazon boss finds Apollo rocket engine on sea bed

    America is back in the space race!

  15. Dan Paul
    Boffin

    Multiple Moonshots flew on different trajectories

    They have likley examined the specifics of the trajectory for that particular Apollo 11 moon shot to follow the debris path.

    No rocket trajectory is exactly the same as they all change due to time of day, year, weather etc.

    Radar tracking data would have helped them narrow down the search.

  16. samlebon23

    I can't imagine why all these billionaires are obsessed with deep diving and outer space balades.

    The only times they come back to earth is to fatten their pockets, and scam the rest of us.

  17. Harry Kay
    WTF?

    Looking at some of these comments, it strikes me that many commentards recognise the price of everything and the value of nothing (Oscar Wilde's definition of a cynic). Why not spend money on curing diseases etc - sure, but I suspect Jeff Bezos has enough he could still spare a few million for those purposes if he wanted to. However, what would be remembered more in future, and would inspire more people to do innovative and adventurous things - going 5% towards 'curing' some unspecified disease, or recovering the engines that first sent humanity beyond the earth.

    given that we should be curing diseases etc (sure) why go to the moon in the first place, why look at galaxies billions of years away, why spend money in unwinnable wars etc etc.

    1. Figgus

      What struck me is how willing the commentards are to tell someone else how to spend their money. I wonder if they would be as content if they were being told how to spend their own money?

  18. Andus McCoatover
    Windows

    That's awesome!

    When I saw the piccie here (on the article), with what looks like an alien trying to shove a spawn into its mouth at the top, and a 'Hutt' - like tail at the bottom, the only words out of my mouth were..

    "FUCK. ME. SIDEWAYS!!!"

    Oh, man that's impressive for 50 years' ago, let alone now

    1. Tom 13

      Re: That's awesome!

      If you ever get the chance you have to stand next to the real thing - a picture just doesn't truly communicate the scale. And if you're looking for the best geek out of all, go to Canaveral to see the whole Saturn V. They've got it laying on its side and you get to walk the length of it.

      My buddies and I had to go three times before we'd actually finished the tour. Every time we'd geek out at the Saturn V display and have to skip a different part of the tour because of other things we'd put on the schedule like IMAX shows.

      1. Jay 2
        Unhappy

        Re: That's awesome!

        I've always wanted to see the Saturn V there. Unfortunately for me when I was there in late 1996, it wasn't on display as they where busy stuffing it into it's current home. Similarly after many years of wanting to go on the 20000 Leagues Under The Sea ride at MouseWorld, when I got there it was closed never to return.

  19. Domster
    Thumb Up

    BIG Engine

    I think the AJ-260-2 is the biggest rocket engine ever built, although it never flew. It was a 260 inch solid rocket motor built to determine if they could replace the Saturn V first stage with a single solid booster. The motors tested were half the height of the real ones but still produced over 17000kN of thrust the full size motor would produce twice as much thust. Apparently when they test fired it you could see the flame 50 miles away. The link below tells more, the astronautix website has everything you need to know about space flight.

    http://www.astronautix.com/engines/aj2602.htm

  20. Eponymous Bastard
    Devil

    Disease called Bill Gates

    Well what does that say about Steve Jobs you whingeing fanbois? Hehehehehe.

  21. Dorobuta
    Thumb Up

    They were impressive to see, hear, and feel in action too

    Though young at the time, I was fortunate enough to be at the Apollo 8 launch. This is something that will will stay with me my entire life. I've also been at a shuttle launch - while impressive, still not the same as a Saturn V liftoff.

This topic is closed for new posts.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019