Updated:BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. —
For the first time in more than four decades, some pieces of space history are back on dry land.
An underwater expedition has recovered two of the Saturn V rocket engines that powered an Apollo space mission.
"It's pretty awesome. It's unique, you know," said Joe Marino, who was on hand to watch the ship bring the engines back to port.
But after four decades at the bottom of the Atlantic, few ever expected to see them being unloaded Thursday at Port Canaveral.
"When they went out there, they're gone," said retired engineer Gary Lee.
Lee was an engineer during the Saturn/Apollo program.
"These are the engines that got man to the moon. That's history. You can never change that," said Lee.
It took another technological feat to recover the engines.
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos funded the underwater expedition that recovered parts of two twisted F-1 engines.
Remotely operated vehicles tethered to the ship, worked at a depth of more than 14,000 feet to locate and remove the artifacts from America's space race.
Stewart Cruickshanks was one of the pilots aboard the Remotely Operated Vehicle Seabed Worker.
"Really excited to see it come back on board you know. We really tried hard to get the stuff up, and we succeeded," said Cruickshanks.
The next step will be restoration of the engines.
One of the engines is likely to end up at the Smithsonian. Bezos is hopeful the other might end up at the Museum of Flight in Seattle, Wash. That would put it a short distance from Blue Origin, the privately funded aerospace company funded by Bezos.