On July 20th, 1969, Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin landed on the moon, the first humans to set foot on any surface other than Earth’s.
Just in time for today’s anniversary, Jeff Bezos has announced that one of the Rocketdyne F-1 engines his team has retrieved from the Atlantic seabed has been positively identified as coming from the Saturn V rocket that launched Armstrong and Aldrin’s Apollo 11 mission to the moon.
Today, I’m thrilled to share some exciting news. 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 tomorrow Neil Armstrong stepped onto the moon, and now we have recovered a critical technological marvel that made it all possible.
There’s more at the link, including (in older posts) further information about the rocket recovery program. The photographs there are also much larger – open each in a new window to view them at full size.
Congratulations to Mr. Bezos and his team for a remarkable marine archaeological effort. It’s a great way to commemorate today’s anniversary.