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Saturn V moon rocket engines found on sea floor


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#1 DocM

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 21:50

Jeff Bezos (Amazon.com & Blue Origin Aerospace) has mounted a salvage mission to recover the monster F-1 engines from the US Saturn V moon rockets.

http://m.popsci.com/...-atlantic-floor

Renowned space fan and would-be space explorer Jeff Bezos is the latest billionaire with his head in the deep ocean. This time it’s not to reach the seafloor, but to dredge up the massive Saturn V engines that powered Apollo 11 to the moon.

Bezos, who is CEO and founder of Amazon as well as the rocket company Blue Origins, said in a statement last night that he’s located the engines and is planning to go fetch them.

“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,” he said in a statement on his blog.

The engines in question are the Saturn V’s F-1 engines from the rocket’s first stage. The F-1 provided 1.52 million foot-pounds of thrust and burned 6,000 pounds of kerosene and liquid oxygen every second, the most powerful single-chamber liquid-fueled rocket engine ever built. They fell to the Atlantic as the Saturn V’s second stage fired to lift the Apollo spacecraft out of Earth’s orbit.

It will not be easy to bring these behemoths to the surface — they’re huge, heavy, fragile, probably broken and covered in more than 40 years of sea sediments. Over at Cosmic Log, Alan Boyle details some of the particular problems.

But retrieving them, and then probably putting them on display, would be quite a feat — and an impressive intersection of space and ocean engineering. Good luck, Bezos.


Rocketdyne F-1 engine - Saturn V had. 5 of these
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#2 Growled

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 01:54

That's a heck of a find. I suspect it's going to be quit the rescue job too.

#3 Elessar

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 02:03

Very awesome. I would definitely want to see those in a museum.

#4 OP DocM

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 02:10

THEY'VE GOT ONE!!

Apparently they've got enough pieces to make 2 complete engines. So bloddy cool!!

Story, pics and video on the expedition site -

http://www.bezosexpe...om/updates.html

F-1 thrust chamber -

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#5 Mark

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 02:20

Aren't the blueprints still lying around somewhere? This isn't like it's some amazing lost technology...

Having said that, I can understand the nostalgic value of finding the originals..

#6 Growled

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 02:21

Very cool (Y)

#7 OP DocM

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 04:23

There is talk of using an upgraded F-1 engine, the F-1A which was designed but never flown, in liquid side boosters for the NASA SLS (Space Launch System) launcher. It would initially use solids, upgraded and lengthened units based on the Shuttle SRB's, then evolve to liquid side boosters.

SLS may or may not fly as costs are seriously overrunnibg and private large boosters are coming at much lower costs.

SpaceX's Falcon Heavy can lift half as much, but costs 1/8 what SLS does, making multiple partial launches and space assembly practical, and SpaceX is working on a launcher even more powerful thsn SLS but cheaper. ULA also has a Heavy version of Atlas V designed, but Congress has passed on it.

#8 68k

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 04:57

What are they doing under the ocean in the first place? Couldn't they have been disposed of properly? :s

#9 +Fractalizer

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 05:22

What are they doing under the ocean in the first place? Couldn't they have been disposed of properly? :s

They are released from the Rocket while it is heading away from the planet so they fell towards earth and I am guessing they probably landed in the Ocean and have not been found till now.

#10 OP DocM

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 08:04

They are released from the Rocket while it is heading away from the planet so they fell towards earth and I am guessing they probably landed in the Ocean and have not been found till now.


Correct. Current launchers are expendable launch vehicles, or ELV's. US military qualified launchers are known as Evolved ELV's or EELV's.

The first stage of most rockets gets it to a high altitude and about Mach 6-12 where it runs out of fuel. Thd first stage then falls away, crashing into the sea or some remote place like the Kazakh steppes, and the upper stage(s) take the payload to orbit. These upper stages usuall burn up re-enterig the atmosphere.

Powerhouses like Atlas V, Falcon 9, Delta IV etc. use 2 stages, but some launchers like Soyuz or Proton need to use 3 or even 4 stages for their heaviest payloads.

SpaceX is attempting go change this paradigm with their Grasshopper project (see that thread) which is an attempt to build a completely reusable launch vehicle, or RLV. This would drastically lower launch costs.

Their first attempt to use lessons learned during Grasshopper comes late this June when they'll try to bring down a Falcon 9 first stage to a soft touchdown in the Pacific, landing propulsively tail-first like in the 1950's sci-fi movies. If it works they'll attach landing gear and try to bring it down on land

#11 He's Dead Jim

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 08:10

yup, they're big lumps :)

#12 Rigby

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 08:27

Aren't the blueprints still lying around somewhere? This isn't like it's some amazing lost technology...


That's not the point. They aren't recovering them to see how they were built; they want to put them in a museum because of their historic importance.

#13 Crisp

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 12:54

Some amazing photos

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#14 ahhell

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 13:08

It's amazing that they could find something that "small" in the freaking ocean.

#15 spacer

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 13:36

It's pretty cool that remains of the rocket were found, but it's just a huge reminder how wasteful our space programs are.