The Apollo 11 lunar landing flight, a monumental milestone in human history, stands as arguably the most significant technological achievement. The aircraft carrier USS Hornet played a crucial role in fulfilling the final part of President Kennedy’s 1961 challenge to the nation about “returning the astronauts safely to the Earth.” Since the USS Hornet Museum opened in 1998, it has been a beacon of remembrance, commemorating the recovery of Apollo 11 on every 5th anniversary. The largest remaining artifact from that momentous spaceflight, Hornet, is a treasured national historic landmark, a testament to the awe-inspiring journey of human exploration.

USS Hornet

apollo 11 recoveryOn July 24, 1969, five hundred million people watched on TV as President Nixon welcomed the three astronauts back to Earth. They were encased in a NASA-modified Airstream quarantine trailer on the ship’s hangar deck.

This summer, the USS Hornet Museum to present Splashdown 55 (SD55), a full-day celebration marking the 55th Anniversary of the monumental Apollo 11 mission. The event, scheduled for July 20, 2024, will feature a keynote address by Harrison Schmitt, the only science astronaut to have set foot on the Moon during the Apollo 17 mission in 1972.

> Read the recent IEEE Spectrum article about Harrison Schmitt

More about the Splashdown 55 Anniversary

SD55 will also feature a pivotal panel discussion of leading professionals in the space exploration field. They will not only commemorate the 1960s Moon landings but also enlighten guests about the exciting future lunar missions planned for the NASA Artemis program. These esteemed experts will delve into upcoming foundational space exploration activities and technologies such as autonomous robots, astronaut exploration vehicles, and AI capabilities, sparking inspiration and curiosity.

Previous Splashdown events have attracted as many as 3,500 members of the public. We are very excited to offer this immersive historical experience aboard our Apollo 11 recovery ship while inspiring the youth of today to pursue STEM careers.

The USS Hornet Sea, Air & Space Museum, a unique and prestigious venue, offers a one-of-a-kind educational experience. Its renowned Apollo 11 recovery exhibit is situated in the very hangar deck where the ‘action’ unfolded, providing visitors with a rare and exclusive chance to ‘step into history ‘.

> Learn more about the Splashdown 55 anniversary event and purchase tickets
> Register for the VIP Meet and Greet with Harrison Schmitt, Apollo 17 astronaut