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NASA revokes rocket engine from auction winner

first_imgSomeone needs to report NASA to eBay for not delivering on an auction item. For some reason, the organization confiscated a Saturn RL-10 rocket engine (just like the one pictured above) that was being auctioned online, saying it was theirs and they wanted it back. Let’s hope the buyer had PayPal protection!The story comes out of a report from the Office of the Inspector General at NASA that outlines audit and investigative information to regulate where our tax dollars are going. In the document are theft reports involving copper, various NASA items, and the aforementioned rocket. We can see sneaking out some copper tubing to sell on the scrap metal market, but how in the world do you get a whole rocket engine out of the building and past security? (Lots and lots of donuts is the best guess we’ve heard.)The RL-10 was used to power the early Saturn rockets back in the 1960’s. Being the first liquid hydrogen-fueled rocket engine used by the US, it still exists in a modified version in today’s launch vehicles. With a minimum of 15,000 pounds of thrust being generated by the engine, we’re not sure what the buyer was intending to do with it. Hopefully it was just for memorabilia purposes, but the fear is that the technology contained within could be used to make some sort of missile. The individual who was in possession of the engine reported that he bought it from someone who acquired it from a NASA employee. It must have been one heck of a surplus sale that day at Cape Canaveral.Whether or not the person who bought the engine was trying to be the next Astronaut Farmer, it’s probably a good thing that NASA took it’s property back before he strapped it onto his Chevy Impala.More at New Scientistlast_img read more

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