A thrust chamber from a Saturn V F-1 engine was recovered in the Atlantic Ocean by Bezos Expeditions. Photo courtesy Bezos Expeditions.
Cape Canaveral, FL (Florida Today) -- For decades they lay in darkness nearly three miles below the Atlantic Ocean's surface.
the rusted and mangled remains of Saturn V rocket engines that may have
launched the first men to the moon sit aboard a salvage ship expected
to arrive this morning in Port Canaveral, their first stop en route to
three-week expedition funded by Amazon.com founder and CEO Jeff Bezos
successfully recovered enough components to restore and display two of
the F-1 engines that helped Apollo missions blast off from Kennedy Space
Center, Bezos said Wednesday
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 Apollo program," Bezos wrote in an update
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
who also started the private space firm Blue Origin, announced a year
ago that his team had located the five engines that blasted the first
moon landing mission off its pad in 1969.
However, it's not yet known on which missions the recovered engines flew.
parts' serial numbers were all or partly missing, erased by the
engines' high-speed ocean impacts or corrosion from sitting more than 40
years in salt water on the ocean floor.
NASA property, the engines, once restored, are expected to be displayed
at the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum and the
Museum of Flight in Seattle.
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," NASA Administrator
Charles Bolden said in a statement.
look forward to the restoration of these engines by the Bezos team and
applaud Jeff's desire to make these historic artifacts available for
blessed the recovery project and is now assisting efforts to research
the flight hardware's history, but otherwise was not involved in the
privately funded expedition.
State-of-the-art deep sea sonar found the engine parts on the ocean floor.
the crew aboard the 290-foot vessel Seabed Worker dispatched tethered,
remotely operated vehicles more than 14,000 feet down to inspect the
"The objects themselves are gorgeous," said Bezos.
arm operators threaded slings around the misshapen and partially buried
parts and deposited them in giant baskets hoisted to the surface.
Cranes delicately lifted them onto the ship's deck.
Working in pitch darkness, floating as if in microgravity, the deep sea vehicles conjured echoes of the Apollo missions.
blackness of the horizon. The gray and colorless ocean floor. Only the
occasional deep sea fish broke the illusion," Bezos said.
Bezos himself took part in an expedition crew that numbered nearly 60, according to a photo posted online.
The team included a diver who discovered the main ship's wheel of Titanic and an underwater archeologist who oversaw recovery expeditions to the Civil War ironclad warship USS Monitor near Cape Hatteras, N.C.
Bezos says the F-1, the most powerful liquid-fueled rocket engine ever developed, "is still a modern wonder."
cluster of five powered the first stage of Saturn V rockets with a
combined 7.5 million pounds of thrust at liftoff. Intact, each engine
measured 19 feet tall by 12 feet wide and weighed over 18,000 pounds.
the Apollo 11 moon landing as a 5-year-old fueled Bezos' enthusiasm for
science, engineering and exploration, and he said he hoped recovering
the historic engines would encourage more young people to invent and
"We're excited to get this hardware on display where just maybe it will inspire something amazing," he said.