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Apollo 11 F-1 Engine Recovery Expedition features several Explorers Club Fellows

On July 19th, NASA and entrepreneur Jeff Bezos jointly confirmed the discovery of the thrust chamber belonging to the fifth F-1 engine of Apollo 11's Saturn V Rocket, which launched three American astronauts into orbit on July 20, 1969 - a serendipitous announcement that coincided with the anniversary of the momentous journey 44 years ago.

Jeff Bezos’ expeditionary team, which included several Explorers Club Fellows, initially announced both the discovery and recovery of these powerful components in March. They were located amidst a treasure trove of wreckage belonging to the Saturn V, all hauled up from three miles deep in the Atlantic Ocean.

The Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center in Hutchinson, Kansas, worked diligently all spring to identify the F-1 engine parts, which remained difficult to distinguish as a result of the original impact and years of seabed corrosion.

NASA is now working on an upgraded F-1 engine to power a future variant of the new SLS heavy lift booster—also under development—which is intended to launch humans aboard the new Orion crew capsule back into space for a return visit to the moon, and on to other deep space destinations including asteroids and Mars.

Five different Explorers Club Fellows contributed to this amazing recovery effort:

  David Concannon FN’96, Expedition Leader (for both search and recovery expeditions) and Project Leader
  Vince Capone FN’89, Sonar Expert
  John Broadwater FN’03, Ph.D., Marine Archaeologist
  Ken Kamler FR’84, M.D., Expedition Physician
  Josh Bernstein FR’04, Still Photographer and Video Data Wrangler

Congratulations to Jeff, David, Vince, John, Ken, Josh and the rest of the F-1 Engine Recovery Expedition team for a job well done.

Visit for more pictures and information on the expedition.

Photos courtesy of

Published by : Coleen Castillo

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Background image photography courtesy of members Christoph Baumer, Neil Laughton, Matt Harris and Don Walsh's image of the Bathyscape Trieste