December 6, 2016

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Bezos Expeditions

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Carnegie built libraries, Bill Gates fights disease, but this is a very unusual kind of philanthropy. This Billionaire entrepreneur fishes national heritage out of the sea.

If you were a billionaire what would you do with your extra money? Cure cancer, build libraries? Work for world peace?

Well entrepeneur Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon.com funded a multi-year project unique in philanthropy – he’s used his money to retrieve some of America’s national heritage lost at sea.

We’re talking about massive Apollo F-1 rockets that launched men to the moon in the 1960s and 70s, then dropped into the Atlantic, crashing into the sea at 5,000 miles per hour.

They’ve remained on the ocean floor for more than 40 years.

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Until Bezos Expeditions scooped them up and hauled them to the surface.

“Scooped” makes it sound easy. A Saturn 5 rocket was as tall as a skyscraper. And each of its five, 32-million horsepower engines, weighed 9 tons.

As a five-year-old, Bezos says he watched in amazement as Apollo II launched into space. Now as an adult, he’s using his fortune to salvage some of those first space engines and put them on display

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His multiyear mission ended in March 2013 with the billionaire, his family and a crew of professionals spending three weeks at sea. All told, they found 11 Apollo engines, and retrieved 12 tons of components – enough to represent two full engines.

“We are right now onboard the Seabed Worker headed back to Cape Canaveral,” Bezos blogged from the Atlantic. “We found so much … Each piece we bring on deck conjures for me the thousands of engineers who worked together back then to do what for all time had been thought surely impossible.”

You can watch some video of the operation below. The rockets, which technically belong to NASA, will be put on public display, where Bezos hopes maybe they’ll inspire a new generation of kids to invent and explore.

The effort was applauded by NASA,  saying, ‘We look forward to the restoration of these engines by the Bezos team and applaud Jeff’s desire to make these historic artifacts available for public display.”

Jeff Bezos exemplifies one of our Axioms for Entrepreneurs: Think unique. In an unusual bit of philanthropy, he’s using his fortune to recover historic artifacts from America’s space age.

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