Amazon's Bezos recovers Apollo 11 engines

Mar 20, 2013
This image released by the Bezos Expeditions shows expeditions workers on March 19, 2013 examining an F-1 thrust chamber from the Apollo 11 mission to the Moon. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos announced that a year after discovering the rocket engines of Apollo 11 at 14,000 feet (4267.2 meters) in the Atlantic Ocean, the Bezos Expedition had retrieved "many prime pieces."

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos claimed success Wednesday in his mission to recover Apollo 11 moon mission engines that plunged into the ocean decades ago.

"We found so much," Bezos said in a blog posting en route to land after three weeks at sea for his Bezos Expeditions project.

"We've seen an underwater wonderland—an incredible sculpture garden of twisted F-1 engines that tells the story of a fiery and violent end, one that serves testament to the ."

Bezos said many of the original serial numbers from the engines have been eroded, making identification difficult, but that his team would conduct a restoration.

"The objects themselves are gorgeous," he said.

This undated image released by the Bezos Expeditions shows an F-1 thrust chamber from the Apollo 11 mission to the Moon. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos announced that a year after discovering the rocket engines of Apollo 11 at 14,000 feet (4267.2 meters) in the Atlantic Ocean, the Bezos Expedition had retrieved "many prime pieces."

"We photographed many beautiful objects in situ and have now recovered many prime pieces. Each piece we bring on deck conjures for me the thousands of engineers who worked together back then to do what for all time had been thought surely impossible."

Bezos said his team would have enough major components to create displays of two flown F-1 engines, and that a restoration would stabilize the hardware and prevent further corrosion.

"We want the hardware to tell its true story, including its 5,000 mile per hour re-entry and subsequent impact with the ," he said. "We're excited to get this hardware on display where just maybe it will inspire something amazing."

It was not immediately clear when or where the objects might be displayed, but Bezos said when he launched the project last year that he hoped they could be viewed at the Smithsonian's in Washington.

The engines that rocketed astronaut and his crew toward the moon in 1969 were located deep in the Atlantic Ocean using sophisticated sonar equipment.

This image released by the Bezos Expeditions shows expeditions workers on March 19, 2013 examining an F-1 thrust chamber and a gas generator and manifold from the Apollo 11 mission to the Moon. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos announced that a year after discovering the rocket engines of Apollo 11 at 14,000 feet (4267.2 meters) in the Atlantic Ocean, the Bezos Expedition had retrieved "many prime pieces."

Bezos used private funds to raise the F-1 engines from their resting places 14,000 feet (4,267 meters) below the surface of the ocean, even though he has maintained that they remain the property of NASA.

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden welcomed the news.

"This is a historic find and I congratulate the team for its determination and perseverance in the recovery of these important artifacts of our first efforts to send humans beyond Earth orbit," Bolden said in a statement.

"We look forward to the restoration of these engines by the Bezos team and applaud Jeff's desire to make these historic artifacts available for public display."

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