Amazon CEO Confirms Discovery of Apollo 11 Rocket Engines
By Anshu Shrivastava | July 23, 2013 9:17 AM EST
Neil Armstrong landed on the moon in Apollo 11 on July 20, 1969, and nearly 600 million television viewers watched the historical event live across the world, including a 5-year-old Jeff Bezos, now the CEO of Amazon. A day before the 44th anniversary, Bezos disclosed that the two rocket engines that his team had found from the depths of the Atlantic are from Apollo 11.
"44 years ago ... Neil Armstrong stepped onto the moon, and now we have recovered a critical technological marvel that made it all possible," he wrote on his blog.
Last March 2013, Bezos said that his team of researchers dredged up Apollo 11 engines from the ocean floor, lying 14,000 feet below the surface. He was waiting for the conservators to confirm that the engines belonged to Apollo 11.
"There was one secret that the ocean didn't give up easily: mission identification," he wrote on his blog. "The components' fiery end and heavy corrosion from 43 years underwater removed or covered up most of the original serial numbers."
"We left Florida knowing the conservation team had their work cut out for them, and we've kept our fingers crossed ever since."
The two discovered engines were part of the five engines that powered the first stage of the launch of Apollo 11. The engines burned out a few minutes after the liftoff and disappeared into the Atlantic Ocean and were never found, according to Reuters. Bezos, co-founder of the online retailer Amazon.com, financed a private expedition to discover the five lost F-1 engines of Apollo 11.
A conservator found "2044" stencilled in blank paint on a side of the thrust chambers of the F-1 rocket engne, according to Bezos. "2044 is the Rocketdyne serial number that correlates to NASA number 6044, which is the serial number for F-1 Engine #5 from Apollo 11."
After removing more corrosion at the base of the same thrust chamber, the conservator found -- "'Unit No 2044" -- stamped into the metal surface."
In a blog entry last March 28, 2012, Bezos had said that he was 5 years old when he watched Apollo 11 unfold on television, and "without any doubt it was a big contributor to my passions for science, engineering, and exploration."
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