As far as scientific achievements go, this really does not mean much, but it falls under the catagory of “really cool,” especially if, like me, you are an Apollo program buff.
Apollo-11, like all the manned lunar missions was carried aloft on a Saturn-V rocket. The first stage of the rocket, the S-IC was designed to be disposable. After burning out, it was jettisoned and the next stage, the S-II took over. By the time it cut off, the rocket was at an altitude of 67,000 meters and more than 90 kilometers down range, out to sea. Since the stage was intended to only be used once, there was no parachute. It simply fell from that altitude and smashed into the ocean. Presumably, never to be seen again.
Well, that was not to be for the stage that carried Apollo-11 to the moon. Because of the historical interest, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos took it upon himself to start a project to locate and recover the remains of that rocket stage.
Needless to say, it’s not in pristine condition. The impact shattered the thin, lightweight structure of the stage and 40+ years under salt water did not do the remains any favors either. Still, the thrust chambers of the rocket engines were solid enough to survive in remarkably good shape. Although the engine bells seem to have been torn off, parts of the engines are still very recognizable, including the main turbopumps.
The mighty F-1 engine is definitely an impressive site, even broken apart!
This entry was posted on Wednesday, March 20th, 2013 at 1:35 pm and is filed under Good Science, History, Misc, Space. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
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