Apollo 11 Astronauts Exit Recovery Helicopter
Donned in biological isolation garments, the Apollo 11 crew members, (L-R) Edwin Aldrin, Neil Armstrong (waving), and Michael Collins exit the recovery pick up helicopter to board the U.S.S. Hornet aircraft carrier after splashdown. The recovery operation took place in the Pacific Ocean where Navy para-rescue men recovered the capsule housing the 3-man Apollo 11 crew. The crew was airlifted to safety aboard the U.S.S. Hornet, where they were quartered in a Mobile Quarantine Facility (MQF). This portable facility served as their home until they reached the NASA Manned Spacecraft Center (MSC) Lunar Receiving Laboratory in Houston, Texas. The Apollo 11 mission, the first manned lunar mission, launched from the Kennedy Space Center (KSC), Florida via the Saturn V launch vehicle on July 16, 1969 and safely returned to Earth on July 24, 1969. Aboard were Neil A. Armstrong, commander; Michael Collins, Command Module (CM) pilot; and Edwin E. Aldrin Jr., Lunar Module (LM) pilot. The CM, piloted by Michael Collins remained in a parking orbit around the Moon while the LM, named ?Eagle??, carrying astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin, landed on the Moon. Armstrong was the first human to ever stand on the lunar surface, followed by Aldrin. During 2½ hours of surface exploration, the crew collected 47 pounds of lunar surface material for analysis back on Earth. With the success of Apollo 11, the national objective to land men on the Moon and return them safely to Earth had been accomplished. The Saturn V vehicle was developed by the Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) under the direction of Dr. Werher von Braun.