In March of this year, Jeff Bezos' team found Saturn V engines on the ocean floor:

enter image description here

While they will probably be placed in a museum, I'm wondering if there could possibly be a more practical use for the engines - could any parts be salvaged off of them? (And used in a new Saturn V with minimal restoration, I.e. no melting and recasting?)


2 Answers 2


The photos show they're in no state to be used for anything. It's all badly corroded on the outside, and the inside will be similar. For example, the nozzle is surrounded by hundreds of tubes. Fuel was circulated through them to cool the nozzle. There's no way to clean the inside of all these tubes, so you'd have to build a new nozzle.
Similarly, the turbopump (which has to be absolutely straight and balanced or it'll tear itself apart when running at tens of thousands of rpm) will be bent by the impact. Even of you could clean it all up, removing the rust means the part is now thinner than before, and would be out of spec.
You'd be better off manufacturing new ones; then you'd also have the chance to improve on the original design.
An F-1 that was stored properly was used for some tests earlier this year.

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    $\begingroup$ It's also worth mentioning that, even though they are relatively small and rare, they might still be providing useful marine habitat. $\endgroup$
    – alexw
    May 6, 2016 at 18:47

As @Hobbes mentioned, using the parts directly would be a bad idea. However, there might still be something practical that could be done with them. The main thing of interest would be trying to figure out what went right in the design, and any issues that might have resulted from a poor design. But such things would probably be pretty minimal. They might be useful in the case of Apollo 13, which had an engine flame out on it's way to orbit, but aside from that, not much. And the engines that went out were the J-2 engines anyways, not the F-1 engines recovered!

In general, however, the rocket has far more sentimental value than anything practical, and as such, should be restored and put in a museum.


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