Apollo 11’s return to Earth, 24 July 1969

Having set foot on the Moon, the Apollo 11 astronauts returned safely to Earth just days later. But they weren't ready to return to normality just yet.

24 July 1969. The command module is lowered onto the deck of the USS Hornet to be prepared for transport back to the Lunar Receiving Laboratory in Houston. At the top are the three air sacks that inflated to right the module when it came to rest upside-down after splashdown. Credit: NASA

The Apollo 11 Command Module Columbia splashed down in the Pacific Ocean with astronauts Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Buzz Aldrin on board at 11:49 am CDT on 24 July 1969.


The crew awaited pickup by the USS Hornet and, once back on dry land, were put into quarantine for two weeks.


NASA captured some amazing images of the astronauts’ return to Earth, recording their journey from floating on a life raft off the coast of Hawaii to exiting quarantine and returning to life on Earth.