Fiction | How billionaire raised from the ocean floor 40-year history of rocketry




Fiction | How billionaire raised from the ocean floor 40-year history of rocketry

If you follow our regular column # fiction , you probably already know about Elon Musk , his own company, SpaceX , and their desire to build the first Martian colony , as well as plans for commercial space flights. But not everyone knows that the founder and owner of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, one of the richest men in the world, too, dreams of space. That’s why he and his research team decided to travel to the depths, but the “cosmos” underwater, with a single purpose – to get from the ocean floor of the rocket engine F-1, which was used in the missions “Apollo.”

The research team went on the expedition to the multifunctional ship «Seabed Worker», equipped with various equipment and remotely operated bathyscaphe for underwater work and rise to the surface finds. In three weeks, the team was able to descend at around 4267 meters. Brezos mission plan developed more than a year, hoping to get from the bottom of the ocean depths engines that are used in a space mission, “Apollo”, launched on July 11, 1969. Despite the fact that the team will eventually be successful, serial numbers on raised from the ocean floor engines were partially or completely lost, so to pinpoint exactly which part of the missile were these engines will be a challenge.


F-1 engine assembly

The importance of this mission is that the raised part of the engine are quite weighty historical value, because they were developed during the early days of the space age. What was once allowed to make a breakthrough in space exploration, was mercilessly dumped on the dark ocean floor, where usually nothing ever comes back. Therefore decided Brezos literally set themselves personal goals – by all means pick up a historical artifact to the surface. And he could not.


Remains of rocket “Saturn V»

“What a wonderful adventure! At the moment we are on the board «Seabed Worker» and heading back to Cape Canaveral, after three weeks of work in the ocean at a depth of 4 kilometers. We have found so many things! We saw an amazing underwater world: literally true gardens of F-1 engines, who told us about the great glory at startup “Apollo” and on such a tragic and violent end. There have been a lot of photos. We were able to get a truly unique piece of history. Each raised a part of our team of several thousand people gradually deeper and deeper into the memories of past discoveries that were later so undeservedly forgotten, ”

– Shares the joy of a successful mission Brezos Jeff on his website.

Engines Series F-1 used to run from Cape Canaveral spacecraft “Apollo” from the 1960s to the 1970s. And they were not just tools that at one point led to the first step of mankind on the surface of another celestial body, but there were serious claim to dominance in the field of rocketry.


With a thrust of 6.87 MN (meganyuton), F-1, and is still the most powerful single-chamber liquid engine ever developed and really fly. Five of these engines were used in the first-stage boosters “Saturn V», for which they were created. But after three minutes of fame is dropping to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean, where they waited as much as 40 years of oblivion and corrosion.
Thanks to technology, which came after a half-century history of underwater archeology, these engines are found and brought to the surface. Accurate information about the search process is not publicly shared, but in addition to sonar, probably used magnetometers to detect metal objects are allowed and is based on searching for underwater 3D-map.

apollo 11

“Apollo 11”

Underwater Mission used remote-controlled bathyscaphes with attached optical and electrical cables, which were committed data and power in four thousand volts. Pilots submersibles had to face not only with the fact that the engines falling apart from hitting the ocean surface, but also with the fact that many parts over the years have been half dug into the bottom because of the deep ocean currents. But despite the difficulties, the team was able to use mechanical arm submersibles to retrieve the buried components and fastening them to the slings to lift up. Work once this level is almost heroic feats, but now it becomes a regular routine exercise.



Despite the fact that Bezos and his team managed to get the rocket engines, under international law, they are still the property of NASA. Bezos himself now plans to first preserve and then restore the engines, saying that the team was able to get enough components for the restoration of the two F-1. However, in this case, he will again have to face a difficult challenge, as we recall, engines and parts lay on the ocean floor for more than forty years.


Fuel generator and distributor



Heat exchanger




Thrust chamber and the fuel manifold

In a statement, NASA congratulated Bezos and the teams taking part in this truly willed mission:

“We applaud the desire and perseverance Jeff to these historical artifacts are open to the public. We will closely monitor how his team will work on restoration. ”

Tags: F-1 engine , Jeff Bezos , Apollo Mission , Ocean , rocket engines .


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