Amazon founder Bezos finds Apollo 11 engines on sea floor
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CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida - Space enthusiast and entrepreneur Jeff Bezos has found the rocket motors used to send the Apollo 11 astronauts to the moon and plans to mount a recovery expedition soon, the Amazon.com CEO and founder reported on a blog post.
The five F-1 engines were fired up on July 16, 1969, sending the massive Saturn 5 rocket on its way to the moon. The motors burned out a few minutes after liftoff from the Kennedy Space Center and tumbled into the Atlantic Ocean.
"I was 5 years old when I watched Apollo 11 unfold on television, and without any doubt it was a big contributor to my passions for science, engineering, and exploration," Bezos, the founder of Amazon.com and the Blue Origin rocket company, wrote in his blog on Wednesday.
"We don't know yet what condition these engines might be in. They hit the ocean at high velocity and have been in salt water for more than 40 years. On the other hand, they're made of tough stuff, so we'll see," he said.
The capsule's door blew off early and Grissom nearly drowned after his 15-minute suborbital ride. It sat on the ocean floor for 38 years until it was found and recovered by a team led by Oceaneering for a television documentary.
A spokeswoman for the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, the repository for NASA artifacts, said it was way too early to know whether the Apollo 11 rocket motors might someday be part of the national collection.