Thursday, March 21, 2013

Slightly Used F-1 Engines Recovered...

Readers of a certain age may remember the gigantic Saturn V rockets that launched the Apollo missions to the moon.  If you were fascinated by those missions (as I was), you might also remember that the Saturn V's first stage was powered by five F-1 liquid fuel rocket engines.  These incredible rocket engines used liquid oxygen (LOX) for their oxidizer, and kerosene (RP-1) for their fuel.  Throttled up, each of these engines consumed over 40,000 gallons of LOX and RP-1 per minute (almost 700 gallons per second), while generating 1.5 million pounds of thrust.  They are the most powerful rocket engines every flown by any country.

The F-1 engines have to be on anybody's list of the most amazing machines mankind has ever built.

There's one sad element of the F-1's story, though.  Every one that ever flew is at the bottom of the sea.  After blasting off from Cape Canaveral, burning for about three minutes, and seeing the second stage separate and head to orbit – the first stage and its F-1 engines fell in a roughly parabolic curve until they splashed into the Atlantic Ocean.

But now two of them have been recovered, in a technological feat of an entirely different kind.  Remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) operating three miles under the ocean's surface have located, dug out, and retrieved two of the used F-1 engines.  The expedition that pulled this off was financed by Jeff Bezos (CEO of Amazon).  The video below is from that expedition:

No comments:

Post a Comment