I am a child of the NASA Apollo era, I lived the moon landing as a 7 year old and then kept lots of press cuttings for all the program following (sadly I can’t find this scrap book any more). When we have been to Florida as a family we have gone to the space centre and the Saturn 5 is still one of the most amazing things I have ever seen – I believe it is still the most powerful ‘machine’ ever built – not bad for the 1960s!
So the news that Amazon founder Jeff Bezos says he has located the long-submerged F-1 engines that blasted the Apollo 11 Moon mission into space is amazing! The five engines were found using advanced sonar scanning some 14,000ft (4,300m) below the Atlantic Ocean’s surface.
Mr Bezos, billionaire bookseller and spaceflight enthusiast, is making plans to raise one or more of the engines. The F-1 engines were used on the giant Saturn V rocket that carried the Apollo landing module out of the Earth’s atmosphere and towards the Moon. They burned for just a few minutes before separating from the second stage module and falling to Earth somewhere in the Atlantic.
And of course Apollo 11 carried astronauts on the first Moon landing mission in 1969.
The F-1 was a “modern wonder” (that has never been surpassed) it boasted 32 million horsepower and burned 6,000lb (2,720kg) of rocket-grade kerosene and liquid oxygen every second. There are of course examples of unused F-1motors at the space centre, but these are ‘special’. I really hope they are raised and that I can see them next time I go to the space centre!