Apollo 11 Timeline – 24th July 2019

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Another extremely busy day as re-entry, splashdown and recovery of crew, CM and lunar samples are all happening today.

16:21:12 – Just before re-entry occurs, the CM and SM separate.

16:35:05 – CM re-entry.
During the time the hot plasma from the heat shield surrounding the capsule means that there is no communication between the astronauts and mission control.

So it is a tense wait until contact is re-established once they are safely on the parachutes.

16:39 – Visual contact with CM established by aircraft.

16:40 – Radar contact with CM established by recovery ship Hornet.

16:44:06 – Drogue parachute deployed

16:46 – VHF voice contact and recovery beacon contact established.

16:50:35 – Splashdown (went to apex-down – Floating upside down).

16:58:15 – CM returned to apex-up position (Floating upright).

17:04 – Flotation collar inflated.

17:21 – Hatch opened for crew egress.
The astronauts were thrown containment suits to put on before they were taken off the CM.
Crazy. If there were any lunar germs around, they would have been released as soon as the capsule was opened anyway.

17:29 – Crew egress.

17:53 – Crew aboard recovery ship USS Hornet.
A sign was put up saying “USS Hornet +3”.
This ship also recovered the Apollo 12 astronauts.

17:58 – Crew entered mobile quarantine facility.

President Nixon greets them and speaks to them over a microphone.
See the video here:
Go to 9m 30s in the video for when the National Anthem starts and the crew stand up saluting.
I find it absolutely hilarious. Makes me chuckle every single time.
Such a well planned dignified end to such a fantastic mission.

19:50 – CM lifted from water.

19:58 – CM secured to quarantine facility.

20:05 – CM hatch reopened.

22:00 – Sample return containers 1 and 2 removed from CM.

23:32 – Container 1 removed from mobile quarantine facility.

00:05 – Container 2 removed from mobile quarantine facility.

The mission may be over, but now the real science starts on the samples bought back.

Did you know, the astronauts had to sign a customs document when they landed?
Here a copy of it below. Don’t you just love bureaucracy?

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