Splashdown 50 Stargazing Overnight Special

Photo by PHC Milt Putnam, USN (Ret) &nbsp&nbsp This famous July 11, 1969, photograph actually depicts Navy personnel practicing to recover the Apollo 11 spacecraft. Navy swimmers finish attaching the flotation collar around a dummy capsule, with USS Hornet in background.

Splashdown 50 Stargazing Overnight Special

The USS Hornet Museum has a special event set for this Friday, July 19, from 6 to 11:30 p.m. — an overnight stargazing event to mark the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Splashdown.

Climb aboard the USS Hornet Sea, Air & Space Museum to learn about the famous aircraft carrier’s service during the Apollo 11 mission and observe the night sky from the flight deck. 

USS Hornet served as the recovery vessel for the Apollo 11 and 12 lunar landing missions — the spaceflights that landed the first humans on the moon nearly 50 years ago — and is the ultimate viewing platform from which to enjoy this celestial event with family, friends and fellow moongazers.

The USS Hornet flawlessly recovered these first moonwalkers and their precious load of moon rocks from the Pacific Ocean with President Richard Nixon onboard and 500 million TV viewers watching around the world.

Come aboard and spend the night living with history. The night is themed specifically to celebrate the Splashdown’s 50th anniversary. Explore the carrier’s decks from the captain’s bridge to the sickbay. Walk in the footsteps of astronauts and heroes aboard the ship who proudly recovered the first men to walk on the moon, the Apollo 11 and 12 lunar mission astronauts.

The live-aboard program includes an evening tour focusing on the ship during the Apollo 11 recovery, dinner and breakfast in the original enlisted mess, a special late-night stargazing and moon-viewing opportunity, and more! The overnight stay includes admission to the next day’s Splashdown 50 celebration. The program is suitable for all age ranges and its standard single-night stays are divided into:

  • Family/small group live-aboard: For individual families who wish to stay aboard.
  • Youth group live-aboard: For organized youth groups such as scouts and schools.
  • Adult group live-aboard: For organized adult clubs, work groups or groups of friends.

Events related to the Splashdown anniversary take place through Wednesday, July 24. General museum admission applies for many of the events, but all are free or discounted for museum members. 

For more on the upcoming events to commemorate the Apollo 11 spacecraft recovery anniversary, visit www.uss-hornet.org/splashdown50.