Apollo 11 Engines To Be Recovered from Atlantic Ocean Floor

Private expedition to recover one or more of the engines is under way.

Apollo 11 Engines

Apollo 11 Engines

** Saturn V during preparations for the 1969 launch**

A team backed by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has found the F-1 engines of the Saturn V rocket that launched the historic Apollo 11 mission more than 50 years ago, and now is planning an attempt to retrieve one or more of the engines from the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean.

According to a statement by Bezos, the engines were found 14,000 feet below the surface of the Atlantic through the use of deep-sea sonar.

“We don’t know yet what condition these engines might be in – they hit the ocean at high velocity and have been in saltwater for more than 40 years. On the other hand, they’re made of tough stuff, so we’ll see,” Bezos said in a blog post announcing the find.

NASA reportedly found out about the team’s successful location effort through that same blog post, and is currently reviewing a recovery proposal sent over by Bezos’s team on Thursday.

While the agency says it might not be physically present during the private recovery expedition, it is investigating other ways of providing assistance and will also provide insight into what should be done with the engines, which still legally belong to NASA, according to Bezos.

So far, the only piece of Saturn V to be recovered since the launch of Apollo 11 is a fragment of the stage 1 rocket booster, which fell onto the deck of a German ship the day of lift-off. The recovery of the Liberty Bell 7 space capsule from the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean 15 years ago, however, has given new hope to the possibility of Apollo 11’s engines being brought to the surface.

Experts say the recovery effort of the 18-foot-tall engines will be no small task, with the 32 million horsepower boosters weighing around 9 tons each. Bezos, however, is already hinting at where he’d like to see the engines go after they’re pulled up. And one location that has been named is the Museum of Flight, located in nowhere else but Bezos’s hometown of Seattle.