Back in March of this year, NASA announced that a discovery had been made that would thrill space-junkies far and wide. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, who had also founded the aerospace company Blue Origin, had recovered the Apollo Saturn V first stage engines from the floor of the Atlantic Ocean.
“Nearly one year ago, Jeff Bezos shared with us his plans to recover F-1 engines that helped power Apollo astronauts to the moon in the late 1960s and early 1970s. We share the excitement expressed by Jeff and his team in announcing the recovery of two of the powerful Saturn V first-stage engines from the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean.”
“This is a historic find and I congratulate the team for its determination and perseverance in the recovery of these important artifacts of our first efforts to send humans beyond Earth orbit.”
Even though the engines, thrust chambers, gas generators, injectors, heat exchangers, turbines, fuel manifolds and dozens of other artifacts were recovered back in March, the process of proving that those had indeed powered the Apollo 11 flight, the flight that put Neil Armstrong on the moon, was a long one. The engines themselves had endured the heat of ignition, then the free fall through the atmosphere when they were released, then smashing into the ocean surface, then spending 44 years at the bottom of the ocean.
Universe Today is now reporting that, in the end, analysis of serial numbers confirmed that these were indeed Apollo 11 engines. Jeff Bezos told how the serial number was discovered.
“One of the conservators who was scanning the objects with a black light and a special lens filter has made a breakthrough discovery – “2044” – stenciled in black paint on the side of one of the massive thrust chambers. 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. The intrepid conservator kept digging for more evidence, and after removing more corrosion at the base of the same thrust chamber, he found it – “Unit No 2044″ – stamped into the metal surface.”
“44 years ago … Neil Armstrong stepped onto the moon, and now we have recovered a critical technological marvel that made it all possible.”
[Photo credit: NASA]