Jeff Bezos Retrieves Apollo Rocket Engines From Ocean Floor

(Photo: Steve Jurvetson)

Fascinating story, told straight-ahead here by Reuters, and by Bezos himself here, with great photos and some commentary. From the Reuters article:

A recovery team funded by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has plucked two rocket engines from the floor of the Atlantic Ocean that were used to send astronauts to the moon more than 40 years ago.

And from PCMag.com:

Located several hundred miles off the east coast of the United States (see this cool GeoHack map identifying the location of S-IC wreckage from the Apollo missions), the engines remain the property of NASA. Bezos said when he announced the salvage mission last March that if one engine was recovered, the space agency would likely want it displayed at the Smithsonian but that he’d asked NASA to allow a subsequent recovery by his privately funded team to be housed at the Museum of Flight in Seattle, Wash., where Amazon is headquartered.

In addition to founding Amazon, Bezos is also the founder of a space-travel startup called Blue Origin. Bezos is a fascinating character to me and I am surprised that we are not as enchanted by his accomplishments as we are by any number of other people who regularly reap huge plaudits.

Also, there is something poetic — at once marvelous but also a bit jarring — in the story of an individual who used modern technology (the internet) to sell an old-fashioned product (books, firstly) and, with the resulting fortune, is using modern technology to recover the old-fashioned remains of a government space program that may have peaked decades ago.

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  1. Eric M. Jones says:

    I think Amazon’s magic is their patented “one-click”. (Sucks money out of my bank account on a daily basis…)

    Question for youth: How many humans walked on the Moon?
    (Answer= 12).

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  2. Cdrjameson says:

    I’m sure that ‘recover rocket engines from seabed’ is #9 in ‘How to be a Bond Villain in 12 Easy Steps!’ (available from Amazon)

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1
  3. Bearman says:

    Interesting that they still can claim ownership of them.

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    • MW says:

      That struck me as well. If I’m reading the map link correctly, it looks like they’re way out of US territorial water too. My best guess (not a lawyer etc.) is that NASA asserts ownership without legal justification, and Bezos doesn’t feel like fighting them.

      I wonder if the Soviets ever secretly retrieved some of these engines?

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  4. Bob says:

    All the hopeless fanatics were snapped up by Steve Jobs years ago. Jeff Bezos has to make do with being the Lex Luthor look-alike.

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