PHOTOS: Sneak peek of Apollo exhibit at the Museum of Flight


On Thursday morning (May 18), Elston and Jackline Hill had the privilege of attending the press preview of the new Apollo exhibit at the Museum of Flight, which opens this Saturday, May 20.

The centerpiece of this exhibit is the F-1 Rocket that boosted the Saturn V rockets to the moon. The rocket was lost at sea for 43 years until discovered and raised by Seattle-based Bezos Expeditions in 2013.

The person who led this endeavor was David Concannon. He was contacted by Jeff Bezos to lead this effort in 2012. The F-1 rocket is the most powerful rocket ever built. Sixty-five F-1 rockets flew with zero failures. The rocket at the museum was found at 14,000 feet, much deeper than the Titanic. The F-1 Rockets that Bezos and Concannon recovered will be displayed beginning May 20 as part of the new Apollo space exhibit at the Museum of Flight. Below, David Concannon at the museum (click images to see larger versions/slideshow):

Below is the F-1 rocket that launched the second manned mission to the moon. The rockets fell back into the ocean and remained there for 43 years. Bezos also brought up the F-1 rocket that powered the first manned flight to the moon. That rocket he gave to the Smithsonian. The aged and sculptural artifacts still show the scars of their service and the four decades of resting at sea.

The fuel injector for the rocket was also recovered.

NASA has loaned the museum a spare F-1 Rocket that was never used. This rocket weighs 20,000 pounds. It was initially intended for Apollo 16, until a test stand fire required it to undergo substantial refurbishment. The Museum of Flight is huge with many big airplanes such as a Boeing 747 and a Boeing 787 and an Air Force One. The F-1 Rocket below is more powerful than all the other aircraft in the museum combined.

The first Apollo command module delivered to NASA for testing and training.

The Apollo exhibit also includes many other artifacts including a lunar roving moon buggy, the only Viking Mars lander on earth, space suits, and a Moon rock pictured below. This rock was collected from Block Crater by Apollo 12 Mission Commander Pete Conrad.

Also at the exhibit are two styrofoam cups sent down on the unmanned submarines that went to the Titanic and the F-1 rocket. The pressure shrunk these cups. As you can see, the cup that went down to the F-1 rockets shrunk the most.

An interesting fact about the mission that David led – when asked to do the venture, Concannon assembled a group of 100 support people to help him, most of them from Seattle.

Jeff Bezos’ interest in the Apollo flight began as a five-year old when he watched the first Apollo mission take off. On Saturday, an hour before the Apollo exhibit opens, Bezos will be talking to a group of students and taking their questions. He hopes that this exhibit will inspire many more five year olds to be as creative as the original manned mission to the moon.

The Museum of Flight is one terrific museum. Jackie and I have annual memberships and visit frequently. There is always something new to see. We never get bored. We are so fortunate to have one of the top, if not the top, flight museums on the planet so close to us.

The Museum of Flight is located at 9404 E Marginal Way S. in Tukwila:


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