ALAMEDA, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The USS Hornet played a vital role in the country’s space exploration program as the recovery ship for Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins following their successful lunar mission in 1969.
The Hornet also plays a key role in Director Todd Douglas Miller’s just released film, “Apollo 11: Quarantine.” The movie is a follow-up to Miller’s highly acclaimed 2019 film “Apollo 11.” The movie premieres on CNN Saturday, March 6 at 9 p.m. ET/PT.
Hornet chief historian and author Bob Fish played an instrumental role behind the scenes in the development of the movie that features the lesser-known story that followed the astronauts’ return to Earth.
Fish, who is also trustee emeritus of the USS Hornet Museum board, wrote the book “Hornet Plus Three” detailing the recovery of the Apollo 11 astronauts after they returned from their lunar mission. Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins went into quarantine on the USS Hornet to protect humanity from any possible “moon germ” related pandemic.
Following a private screening of “Apollo 11” aboard the Hornet in May 2019, Fish gave a personal tour of the Hornet to Miller. “Apollo 11” ended with the Navy’s initial recovery efforts but did not touch on what happened next.
Miller spent some time touring the Hornet and learning of the role the ship played in the recovery of the astronauts and ensuring the continuation of their three-week quarantine. The 21-day quarantine began the moment Aldrin and Armstrong returned to the lunar module following their final moon walk.
Aldrin, Armstrong and Collins spent two-and-a-half-days aboard the Hornet in a Mobile Quarantine Facility (MQF) — an Airstream trailer designed by NASA to house the astronauts upon their return to earth — as the ship steamed to port in Hawaii. The astronauts were then flown, trailer and all, by a USAF cargo aircraft to Johnson Space Center in Houston to finish the quarantine.
The Hornet also recovered the Apollo 12 astronauts. The MQF on public display at the Hornet is the one used to house the Apollo 14 astronauts when they returned to earth.
“Todd was a bit emotional while walking around the very ship that recovered the first humans to walk on the Moon. He was grateful that it had been saved for future generations to explore,” Fish recalled.
That personal tour by Fish and the historical information he provided, was a catalyst for Miller to convince NEON/CNN productions to produce the 23-minute documentary, “Apollo 11: Quarantine.” The film was released two weeks ago in IMAX theaters. The film contains never before seen footage from the quarantine. The Hornet has created a special webpage that provides supporting information including titles, roles and responsibilities of the people seen in the documentary.
“For 50 years the main public focus in regard to the Apollo 11 mission has been mostly on the rocket launch and moon landing, as it should be. But, President Kennedy’s 1960 challenge was ‘landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth.’ The USS Hornet, in conjunction with NASA, fulfilled the final step in the momentous journey,” Fish said.
NEON/CNN films has also launched a full campaign to get “Apollo 11: Quarantine” nominated in the short documentary category in this year’s Academy Awards.
“Many people don’t realize there is a local tie-in to the lunar landing right here in the Bay Area,” said Mark Epperson, CEO of the Hornet. “The museum’s highly acclaimed Apollo 11 exhibit creates a “time warp” as visitors step into history. We hope this film will propel people to come and see firsthand the role the Hornet played in the recovery and quarantine of the Apollo 11 astronauts.”
The Hornet Museum is currently open weekends from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., located 707 W Hornet Ave, Alameda.
The COVID pandemic and lockdown has created difficult financial conditions for all non-profit organizations and the Hornet is no exception. As a national treasure your investment in our museum will have lasting impact on our society for years to come. To donate please click here.
About the USS Hornet Sea, Air & Museum: The USS Hornet is a Smithsonian Affiliate, is the largest surviving artifact from the Apollo 11 mission and houses the world’s finest “space recovery exhibit.” As such we educate and inspire young adults to be the STEM heroes of their generation. The museum uses its collections, exhibitions and educational programming to promote awareness and understanding of history, science, technology and service. For more information, please visit: https://uss-hornet.org