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NASA Administrator Addresses Apollo 11 Engine Discovery

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden.  Photo Credit: Julian Leek / Blue Sawtooth

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. Photo Credit: Julian Leek / Blue Sawtooth

Last week, internet billionaire Jeff Bezos announced he and his team of ‘undersea pros’ had located the mammoth F-1 engines that launched Apollo 11 lying 14,000 feet below the Atlantic, and also announced plans to raise them to the surface for public display.  

“I would like to thank Jeff Bezos for his communication with NASA informing us of his historic find. I salute him and his entire team on this bold venture and wish them all the luck in the world,” said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden in a statement March 30.  “I sincerely hope all continues to go well for Jeff and Blue Origin, and that his team enjoys success and prosperity in every endeavor.”

Bezos, who is founder and CEO of Amazon.com, privately funded the expedition to locate the 19-foot tall main engines that shot Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin towards the surface of the Moon in 1969, and he has been in talks with NASA throughout the entire process.

“NASA does retain ownership of any artifacts recovered and would likely offer one of the Saturn V F-1 engines to the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington under long-standing arrangements with the institution as the holder of the national collection of aerospace artifacts,” said Bolden.  “If the Smithsonian declines or if a second engine is recovered, we will work to ensure an engine or other artifacts are available for display at the Museum of Flight in Seattle, as Jeff requested in his correspondence with my office. I have directed our staff to begin work to exercise all appropriate authorities to provide a smooth and expeditious disposition of any flight hardware recovered.

Bezos has not released details yet regarding any logistical plans to raise the engines nearly 2 miles to the ocean surface, only saying, “we’re making plans to attempt to raise one or more of them from the ocean floor.”

“I sincerely hope all continues to go well for Jeff and Blue Origin, and that his team enjoys success and prosperity in every endeavor,” said Bolden.  “All of us at NASA have our fingers crossed for success in his upcoming expedition of exploration and discovery.”

 – Read our article about the expedition to locate Apollo 11’s F-1 engines:  www.americaspace.org/?p=16505

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