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NASA Space Science

Bezos Expeditions Recovers Pieces of Apollo 11 Rockets 119

Posted by samzenpus
from the treasure-finder dept.
skade88 writes "Jeff Bezos has been spending his time fishing up parts of the Apollo 11 rockets. From his blog 'What an incredible adventure. We are right now onboard the Seabed Worker headed back to Cape Canaveral after finishing three weeks at sea, working almost 3 miles below the surface. We found so much. 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 Apollo program. 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.'"
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Bezos Expeditions Recovers Pieces of Apollo 11 Rockets

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  • Dammit, editors! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 20, 2013 @06:07PM (#43229271)

    Nothing here says there were from Apollo 11! Included in the post is the statement:

    Many of the original serial numbers are missing or partially missing, which is going to make mission identification difficult.

    • Re:Dammit, editors! (Score:4, Informative)

      by voidptr (609) on Wednesday March 20, 2013 @06:44PM (#43229681) Homepage Journal

      He stated a year ago he was looking specifically for Apollo 11 and started with estimates of where that particular flight profile would have ended up.

      It's possible this stage is from another launch with a similar ground track and they can't confirm it until they find an intact serial number, but it's likely these are Apollo 11.

      • Re:Dammit, editors! (Score:4, Interesting)

        by girlintraining (1395911) on Wednesday March 20, 2013 @10:47PM (#43231173)

        It's possible this stage is from another launch with a similar ground track and they can't confirm it until they find an intact serial number, but it's likely these are Apollo 11.

        You can't make that assessment. There were 10 test launches, each of which would have left some debris in the ocean. There were an additional 6 unmanned launches, and 12 manned missions. There were an additional 5 launches using the same launch technology. That's a total of 33 flights which had the same hardware as the materials they've recovered. Only one of those 33 was Apollo 11. You can't say it's likely -- the odds are against it. At best, it's an educated guess.

    • Re:Dammit, editors! (Score:5, Informative)

      by DerekLyons (302214) <fairwater@gmFREEBSDail.com minus bsd> on Wednesday March 20, 2013 @07:33PM (#43230147) Homepage

      I'm not sure how much I buy that... even partial serial numbers should be enough to determine that they pieces are likely to be from mission 'x' and not from mission 'y'. Enough partials and the level of confidence as to which mission they came from can get pretty high.

      You can also compare the recovery location to the impact point for each mission - Apollo By The Numbers [nasa.gov] has a table giving the impact locations [nasa.gov] for the S-IC and S-II stages. I'd have to plot it out to see how far apart they are, but at first glance they're modestly well scattered. (Anyone know how to convert those lat/long coordinates into WGS-84 or Google Earth coordinates?) Again, not a smoking gun but definitely a way to increase the confidence level.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        > (Anyone know how to convert those lat/long coordinates
        > into WGS-84 or Google Earth coordinates?)

        don't worry about it, just treat them as WGS84. The datum conversion differences (at most a couple hundred meters) is generally less than the loran-c or earlier positioning tech accuracy.

        wolfram alpha does the great circle distance calculations for you, our download PROJ.4 and use the geod program to do them yourself.

        • (Anyone know how to convert those lat/long coordinates into WGS-84 or Google Earth coordinates?)

          don't worry about it, just treat them as WGS84. The datum conversion differences (at most a couple hundred meters) is generally less than the loran-c or earlier positioning tech accuracy.

          You can't do that because the formats are completely different. The coordinates NASA provides are in decimal rather than DMS or WGS84.

    • by MiG82au (2594721)
      And who the fuck is stupid enough to attribute multiple rockets to one mission?
      • by tlambert (566799)

        And who the fuck is stupid enough to attribute multiple rockets to one mission?

        Saturn 5 rokets had 5 F1 engines. Google Saturn V Booster.

        • by MiG82au (2594721)
          I know, but I and the article specifically said "rockets" not "engines". One mission, one fucking rocket. Rockets = Apollo more-than-one-number.
    • by wmac1 (2478314)

      I am just curious. Why a rocket engine has a turbine inside? One of the photos on Jeff's blog is of a turbine. Anyone is aware?

      • Gotta pump fuel into the combustion chamber somehow.
      • It's a 55,000 brake horsepower fuel pump motor, used to drive both the kerosene fuel and the liquid oxygen pumps.

        • by wmac1 (2478314)

          Thanks for the information.

  • Oh Gawd... (Score:5, Funny)

    by qw(name) (718245) on Wednesday March 20, 2013 @06:28PM (#43229523) Journal

    He's turning into some super villain. Wait, he was already one. nvm...

  • NASA claims that the US government still owns these artifacts. I think they're mistaken. The artifacts are not salvage, but rather abandoned property. NASA intentionally allowed them to be abandoned more than 40 years ago with no stated or demonstrable intention of ever recovering them. Since they were outside the territory of any US state, I don't think they are subject to any form of escheat. I think Bezos has clear title and ownership. If there's some US law providing to the contrary, I'd be intere

    • by HornWumpus (783565) on Wednesday March 20, 2013 @07:04PM (#43229899)

      Military ships remain the property of the owning government.

      Spain has used this to claim the salvage of gold from treasure ships and won.

      • Regardless of ownership of underseas artifacts, the finder only get's 10% . If they're taking from a civilian ship lost centuries ago, the finder only get's 10%. If the ship is a 'military' ship, salvaging a hold still only grosses the salvager 10%. But, the government doesn't necessarily own the military ships. Modern ships lost are often insured, in which case the insurance company owns the ship and it's contents, and the salvager still only get's 10%, the S.S. Port Nicholson is a good example where t

        • by Eric Smith (4379)
          The 10% is for salvage rights. Deliberately abandoned property is different than salvage.
      • by Prokur (2445102)
        Was Apollo 11 a military ship? And its main weapon was a pencil!
        • Was Apollo 11 a military ship?

          No, NASA is explicitly a civilian agency. Sometimes it runs military flights, but only those are military flights.

    • by k6mfw (1182893)
      ITAR! Don't be surprised if some guvmint type issues this claim. I heard a cutaway illustration poster of Saturn V was removed from KSC visitor center per this reason. I don't know if it was urban legend or if cooler heads said it was ok to return it.
    • Let them try. Bezos has the resources to sue them to the Supreme Court.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Jeff: People with your itinerary also have purchased:

    • Carribean Cruise with Carnival Cruise Lines
    • Cruise around Spain with Thomson Cruises
    • Mediterranean Cruise with Costa Cruises

    Order by Thursday 5 PM for Free Baggage Checkin!

  • by new death barbie (240326) on Wednesday March 20, 2013 @09:26PM (#43230803)

    F1 Rocket Engines

    Just like the ones used in the Saturn-5 rocket.

    0 available new
    3 available used.

    Premium members get free overnight shipping!

  • Then he can REALLY be a super villain. (The Thresher, I believe, was armed with some nuclear weapons when it sank).

    Conversely he coud also try for the nuclear sub the Glomar Challenger (Howard Hughes) tried to raise. I believe they only got the crew compartment, the missiles and (nuclear tipped?)* torpedoes are still there.

    Anyone know of any other nukes sitting on the sea floor in international water just waiting to be picked up? (Did they get all four of the H-bombs from the B-52 near Spain?). Of cours

    • by kermidge (2221646)

      a little bit of searching might answer some of your speculations

      for instance, the Mk-45 had an ~11KT warhead, but couldn't be carried by Thresher - it used Mk-48s

      Thresher did some SUBROC testing the year before she sank, but there's no mention that she was armed with them.

    • From general reports there isn't much left of the Thresher to recover. The pressure shredded it and in the debris field the most they could locate was a foot or so of marled pipe. This was of many thousands of pieces that were located.
  • by skidisk (994551) on Thursday March 21, 2013 @12:14AM (#43231515)

    The F1s were only used on the Apollo missions, and they were truly awesome -- they shook the ground like nothing you've ever experienced. My dad worked for NASA and we saw the flights. Even three miles away, it was scary powerful. To give you an idea, one of those F-1 has more power than 3(!) Shuttle MAIN engines -- and there were FIVE F-1s at the bottom of Saturn's first stage. So that's like fifteen shuttles taking off at once. You have no idea what that's like...

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Most of the noise of a shuttle launch came from its solid rocket boosters, not the main engines. It was actually nearly as loud as the Saturn V was on liftoff, but because of its superior intitial thrust:weight ratio (1.5:1 for shuttle, 1.1:1 for Saturn V), it spent less time near the ground where you can hear it. The Saturn V also had a greater low frequency component to its noise, by all reports, so the sound was physically felt as a series of slaps on the chest.

      • by skidisk (994551)

        Yes, you're right, I did not take into account the shuttle SRBs. But watching (feeling) a Saturn V on liftoff was majestic and spectacular, I guess because it rose so much more slowly and the sound blasts were overwhelming and a bit scary (I was just a kid, also). Every time I watched it, I worried it would just fall over, or stop rising and collapse back. But it just kept roaring, and rising majestically.

    • > The F1s were only used on the Apollo missions

      And Skylab.

    • by khallow (566160)
      And the two solid rocket boosters (SRBs) on the sides of the Space Shuttle stack had a little more thrust than three and a half F-1 engines.
    • So that's like fifteen shuttles taking off at once.

      Or it would be - if the Shuttles had only their three main engines running at launch. You've forgotten to include the solids, which account for over 80% of the Shuttle's takeoff thrust.

  • Nostalgia is nifty but we have two fully intact Saturn 5s (in Canaveral & Houston). We also have the designs and could rebuild Apollo which is something we realistically need to do before considering going out elsewhere. Repeating the Mercury and Gemini mission series is unnecessary as everything we learned from them we still use now. But we're 40 years' worth of rusty when it comes to leaving a comfortable Earth orbit.

    Yes, we can modernise the systems, but should only do so where necessary, such as c

  • by Thud457 (234763) on Thursday March 21, 2013 @08:32AM (#43233635) Homepage Journal
    This is ancestral worship cargo-cultism of the highest order.
    Bezos might as well be building a mockup of the command module from palm fronds on the lawn in front of congress.

    Elon Musk has a much better name for a megalomaniacal billionaire super-villain anyhow.
  • I wish one of these clowns would spend their money bringing Hubble home. It's done so much - it would be awesome to have it at the air and space museum. OR at least buy Captain Marvel from DC and give it to Marvel Comics. /s

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