Apollo moon rocket engines recovered from seafloor
Washington, March 21: A private expedition led by the founder of Amazon.com has successfully raised two massive Apollo Saturn V rocket F-1 engines, which launched astronauts to the moon more than 40 years ago, from the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean.
Jeff Bezos, the online retailer's CEO, said in an update posted Wednesday on the Bezos Expeditions website that his team has seen an underwater wonderland - an incredible sculpture garden of twisted F-1 engines that tells the story of a fiery and violent end, CBS News reported.
When NASA's mighty Saturn V rockets were launched on missions to Earth orbit and the moon in the late 1960s and early 1970s, the five F-1 engines that powered each of the boosters' first stages dropped into the Atlantic Ocean and sank to the seafloor.
There they were expected to remain, discarded forever.
But one year ago, Bezos announced his private -- and until then, secret -- expedition had located what they believed to be the engines from the 1969 Apollo 11 mission that began the journey to land the first humans on the moon.
In a statement released Wednesday, NASA administrator Charles Bolden recalled how Bezos shared with them his plans to recover F-1 engines nearly one year ago.
He added that they are also thrilled about Jeff's recovery of two of the powerful Saturn V first-stage engines from the ocean floor.
The Bezos expedition returned enough major components to rebuild two Saturn V F-1 engines.
Despite claims last year that the engines were specifically from Apollo 11, Bezos now said the history of the engine parts he recovered may not be known.
Inspecting the raised pieces, Bezos reported that many of the parts' original serial numbers are missing or partially missing, which may make mission identification difficult.
Once the engine parts are back on land, they will undergo a restoration to stabilize the hardware and prevent further corrosion from their decades-long exposure to the ocean's salt water.