Thursday, March 20, 2014

David Concannon and Jeff Bezos Retrieve Apollo 11 F-1 Rocket Engine

Spirit Of Exploration

...Rolex Super-Coolness...

Successful Bermuda Triangle DEEP-SEA
Apollo 11 F-1 Engine Recovery Expedition
Receives Explorers Club Citation of Merit 
for An Outstanding Feat Of Exploration

The Spirit of Exploration is alive and well in the world we all share, and I am happy to report that a friend of mine, and fellow Rolex Fanatic/WIS, David Concannon was the project leader for the amazingly successful Apollo F-1 Engine Recovery Expedition.

This amazing expedition was the brainchild of Amazon founder, Jeff Bezos, and this last weekend in New York City, the Explorers Club awarded the team led by David Concannon, The Citation Of Merit for An Outstanding Feat Of Exploration. The award was presented by NASA Apollo 11 Astronaut, Buzz Aldrin at the 110th Explorers Club Annual Dinner in New York City.

David Concannon & Jeff Bezos

David Concannon is pictured above and below with Amazon founder, Jeff Bezos, and David is one of the top Expedition Attorneys in the world, and he has personally led many DEEP-SEA expeditions to the Titanic. David is pictured above shaking hands with Jeff Bezos, who's he worked with to undertake the  retrieval of Apollo F-1 Engines from the Ocean floor through his Bezos Expeditions group.

Basically, Bezos Expeditions located and recovered many of the F-1 Rockets from the NASA Apollo Moon Missions located three miles below the Atlantic Ocean, and this was all achieved in very DEEP-SEAS, that were a mile deeper than the Titanic!!!!!!

The photo below shows expedition workers examining a recovered F-1 Thrust Chamber.

In the two photos below, we see Expedition Leader, David Concannon sporting his Pepsi Rolex GMT-Master, which was also the personal watch choice of many NASA Apollo Astronauts.

Jeff Bezos said, when he announced to the world that the team was heading into Cape Canaveral, with the engines on the SeaBed Worker:

"While I spent a reasonable chunk of time in my cabin emailing and working, it didn't keep me from getting to know the team. I'd like to call out a bunch of thank you’s. First of all to David Concannon who pulled together this team. The whole thing would simply have been impossible without the A-team, and I'm not sure anyone other than Dave could have brought them together."

Photo of Jeff Bezos and David Concannon appears courtesy of Josh Bernstein

I very highly recommend you check out this amazing video from Bezos Expeditions that tells the amazing story of Exploration, and if you look closely, you will notice David Concannon sporting his Pepsi GMT-Master II. David is a dyed in the wool Rolex fanatic!!!

This next video show remote controlled robots recovering Apollo F-1 Engines, from the expedition.

It is challenging to put into words, how deeply profound this achievement it, and certainly the video above does a great job. You can learn much more about this fascinating expedition by visiting Bezos Expiditions F-1 Engine Recovery webpage.

Jeff Bezos perfectly summed up his ambitions (which he achieved) with this amazing project in the letter below which he wrote on March 28, 2012:

The F-1 rocket engine is still a modern wonder — one and a half million pounds of thrust, 32 million horsepower, and burning 6,000 pounds of rocket grade kerosene and liquid oxygen every second. On July 16, 1969, the world watched as five particular F-1 engines fired in concert, beginning the historic Apollo 11 mission. Those five F-1s burned for just a few minutes, and then plunged back to Earth into the Atlantic Ocean, just as NASA planned. A few days later, Neil Armstrong stepped onto the moon.

F1 Engine Installation Pictured Above

Millions of people were inspired by the Apollo Program. I was five years old when I watched Apollo 11 unfold on television, and without any doubt it was a big contributor to my passions for science, engineering, and exploration. A year or so ago, I started to wonder, with the right team of undersea pros, could we find and potentially recover the F-1 engines that started mankind's mission to the moon?

I'm excited to report that, using state-of-the-art deep sea sonar, the team has found the Apollo 11 engines lying 14,000 feet below the surface, and we're making plans to attempt to raise one or more of them from the ocean floor. We don't know yet what condition these engines might be in - they hit the ocean at high velocity and have been in salt water for more than 40 years. On the other hand, they're made of tough stuff, so we'll see.

Though they've been on the ocean floor for a long time, the engines remain the property of NASA. If we are able to recover one of these F-1 engines that started mankind on its first journey to another heavenly body, I imagine that NASA would decide to make it available to the Smithsonian for all to see. If we're able to raise more than one engine, I've asked NASA if they would consider making it available to the excellent Museum of Flight here in Seattle. (For clarity, I'll point out that no public funding will be used to attempt to raise the engines, as it's being undertaken privately.)

NASA is one of the few institutions I know that can inspire five-year-olds. It sure inspired me, and with this endeavor, maybe we can inspire a few more youth to invent and explore.

We'll keep you posted.


Jeff Bezos

Bezos F1-Recovery Expedition Team

Apollo F-1 Rockets

I decided to add some context to the significance of this achievement by Bezos Ventures. Wernher von Braun is pictured below standing in front of Saturn V rocket thrusters he designed that would ultimately put men on the moon, including Mercury Astronaut, Alan Shepard on Apollo 14. The Saturn V rocket possessed 10 percent of the power of an atomic bomb.

The photo of Dr. Wernher von Braun standing next to the F-1 Rocket boosters give you a really great idea scale.

Rolex in Control at NASA

Dr. Wernher von Braun is pictured below at NASA ground control in 1965 during the testing of a Saturn rocket. Dr. von Braun is wearing a yellow gold Rolex and Dr. Kurt Debus who was the director of the Kennedy Space Center is also wearing his Rolex in this photo. Both men were German rocket scientists.

Dr. von Braun was the principal designer of the German V-2 rocket weapon as well as the Saturn V Moon rocket that put NASA astronauts on the Moon.

Pictured from Left to Right: Dr. Kurt Debus & Werhner von Braun

Dr. Wernher von Braun is pictured above at the Kennedy Space Center attending the Saturn 500F, rollout from the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) on May 26, 1966. Dr. Kurt Debus is pictured next to von Braun and was the Director of the Kennedy Space Center.

Michael Collins
Apollo 11

The EAGLE Has Landed

I have been working on a major update to a Rolex NASA story about Michael Collins Rolex he wore during his Apollo 11 experience,  so I figured with the advent of the Jeff Bezos/ David Concannon story above, that now was as good as any time to publish some of my new findings.

Michael Collins is pictured below at NASA on April 16, 1969 during centrifuge training for Apollo 11. Three short months later he would fly into the history books as part of the first team to land on the Moon and return safely to earth. In the photo below NASA Astronaut Michael Collins is wearing a Rolex Turno-graph.

Years ago, I published lower resolution versions of the images above, and today I am publishing for the first time, the image below of Michael Collins, which shows him as he prepares minutes before the photo above was taken. This photo below is obviously black and white, but he is wearing the orange jumpsuit as pictured above, and you can see him holding his headset in his hands below, that he is wearing in the photo pictured above.

NASA Apollo 11 Astronaut Michael Collins Wearing Rolex Watch, April 1969 

Michael Collins was a U.S. Air Force test pilot prior to becoming a NASA Astronaut. So the obvious question, is wether or not Michael Collins wore his Rolex to the moon and back? In the future, I will cover this topic in more detail, but for the time being, it is cool to see that the Michael Collins chose Rolex for his personal watch.

Michael Collins is pictured below (second in line) as he and his Apollo 11 team members leave for the Moon.

The photo below shows Apollo 11 taking off to head for the moon.

In the photo below that was taken on July 20, 2009, we see the three Apollo 11 NASA Astronauts, Buzz Aldrin, Michael Collins, and Neil Armstrong in the Oval Office with President Obama.