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Saturn V moon rocket engines found on sea floor

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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/technology/article/2012-03/amazons-bezos-plans-salvage-apollo-11-rocket-engines-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

f1.gif

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

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

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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.bezosexpeditions.com/updates.html

F-1 thrust chamber -

image_1_lg.jpg

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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..

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Very cool (Y)

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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.

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

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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.

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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

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yup, they're big lumps :)

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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.

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Some amazing photos

apollo-11-f1-engine-thrust-chamber-seabed.jpg?1363793736

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

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

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

With side-scan sonar you can get very detailed images of large areas of sea floor rather quickly, then you send down robotic submersibles studded with cameras and lights to check out suspicious targets.

Side scan sonar image

sidescan_pic.jpg

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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.

The SLS is designed to use RS-25 engines (4) which are really just upgraded Shuttle main engines, not the F1.

http://www.nasa.gov/pdf/664158main_sls_fs_master.pdf

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The SLS is designed to use RS-25 engines (4) which are really just upgraded Shuttle main engines, not the F1.

http://www.nasa.gov/pdf/664158main_sls_fs_master.pdf

That's for the core (center) stage. I'm talking about the side boosters.

Initially the side boosters will be solids made by ATK, but later NASA plans on a competition between those and liquid fueled alternatives. There are 2 major liquid engine alternatives;

? The Aerojet AJ26-500, an evolved and up-powered version of the AJ26 being used in Orbital Science's Antares launcher, which itself is derived from the Russian NK-33.

? The F-1. Last year Rocketdyne and Dynetics propsed the F-1 option, and NASA pulled F-1 #6049 (removed from Apollo 11 for fit reasons), scanned and duplicated its gas generator to see if modern manufacturing techniques could be used to resurrect it but made cheaper.

11 F-1 gas generator firings were completed at Marshall earlier this year and now it seems the F-1 is back on the table.

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Confirmed: Engine #5, S/N 2044 from Apollo 11

http://www.universetoday.com/103589/apollo-11-f-1-engine-finding-confirmed-by-jeff-bezos-on-eve-of-1st-human-moonwalk/

Apollo 11 F-1 Engine Finding Confirmed by Jeff Bezos on Eve of 1st Human Moonwalk

In a fitting testament to NASA?s momentous Apollo Moon Landing Program, NASA and billionaire Jeff Bezos confirmed today the discovery of a powerful F-1 first stage engine component from the Saturn V moon rocket that launched three American astronauts on the historic journey of Apollo 11 to land the first two humans on the Moon on July 20, 1969.

?On the eve of the 44th moonwalk anniversary, the Bezos Expedition confirms an Apollo 11 Saturn V F1 engine find,? NASA officially announced on its websites just moments ago.

Apollo 11 commander and NASA astronaut Neil Armstrong, was immortalized forever when he first set foot on the moon 44 years ago tomorrow (July 20, 1969), followed minutes later by the lunar module pilot, NASA astronaut Buzz Aldrin.

The Saturn V rockets first stage was powered by a cluster of five F-1 engines ? a technological marvel and the most powerful single-nozzle, liquid-fueled rocket engine ever developed.

Bezos, founder and Chief Executive Officer of the aerospace company Blue Origin and Amazon.com, announced the discovery and recovery of significant components of two flown F-1 engines amongst a field of twisted wreckage from the floor of the Atlantic Ocean in March of this year, aboard the Seabed Worker at Port Canaveral, Florida, along with a treasure trove of other major Saturn V components hauled up from a depth of almost 3 miles.

?We brought back thrust chambers, gas generators, injectors, heat exchangers, turbines, fuel manifolds and dozens of other artifacts ? all simply gorgeous and a striking testament to the Apollo program,? wrote Bezos in a update this morning, July 19.

But until today, the engines exact identification remained elusive because of decades of severe seabed corrosion and their fiery, destructive end upon plunging and smashing unimpeded onto the ocean?s surface.

Conservators from the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center in Hutchinson, Kansas worked painstakingly since March to identify the F-1 engine parts.

?Today, I?m thrilled to share some exciting news. One of the conservators who was scanning the objects with a black light and a special lens filter has made a breakthrough discovery ? ?2044? ? stenciled in black paint on the side of one of the massive thrust chambers, says Bezos.

?2044 is the Rocketdyne serial number that correlates to NASA number 6044, which is the serial number for F-1 Engine #5 from Apollo 11. The intrepid conservator kept digging for more evidence, and after removing more corrosion at the base of the same thrust chamber, he found it ? ?Unit No 2044? ? stamped into the metal surface.?

?44 years ago tomorrow Neil Armstrong stepped onto the moon, and now we have recovered a critical technological marvel that made it all possible.?

>

>

The five F-1 engines used in the 138-foot-tall Saturn V first stage known as the S-IC generated 7.5 million pounds of liftoff thrust, or some 1.5 million pounds each. They stand 19 feet tall by 12 feet wide. Each one weighs over 18,000 pounds and was manufactured by Rocketdyne.

The F-1 had more power than all three space shuttle main engines combined. They burned a mixture of liquid oxygen and kerosene fuel for two-and-one-half-minutes, carrying the Saturn V to an altitude of some 36 miles.

Altogether, six Apollo Moon landing flights boosted by Saturn V?s sent a total of 12 humans on moon walking expeditions to Earth?s nearest neighbor during the 1960s and 1970s.

?This is a big milestone for the project and the whole team couldn?t be more excited to share it with you all,? Bezos wrote.

Bezos? Blue Origin firm is also working to develop a commercial rocket and ?space taxi? to finally resume launching American astronauts back to low Earth orbit from American soil after a multi year gap.

More than four decades have passed since the last humans traversed the lunar surface in December 1972 during NASA?s Apollo 17 moon landing mission.

After all that time, the F-1 may yet live again.

NASA is now working on an upgraded F-1 to power a future variant of the new SLS heavy lift booster under development and intended to launch humans aboard the new Orion crew capsule back to the Moon and to deep space destinations including Asteroids and Mars.

NASA?s robotic exploration of the moon continues this year with the blastoff of the LADEE Lunar observatory on Sept. 6 from NASA?s Wallops Island facility in Virginia.

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With side-scan sonar you can get very detailed images of large areas of sea floor rather quickly, then you send down robotic submersibles studded with cameras and lights to check out suspicious targets.

Side scan sonar image

sidescan_pic.jpg

 

What am I looking at in this sonar image exactly?

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What am I looking at in this sonar image exactly?

Looks like a ship to me.

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Yup.

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