The Joy of Museums

Finding Beauty & Meaning in Museums

Apollo 11 Command Module

US Navy 070516-N-6724S-049 Machinist's Mate 3rd Class Davida Edwards examines the Apollo 11 Command Module in the lobby of the National Air and Space Museum

Apollo 11 was the spaceflight mission that landed the first two humans on the Moon. Mission commander Neil Armstrong and pilot Buzz Aldrin, landed the lunar module Eagle on the mid in mid-1969.

After successful Moon mission, the Apollo 11 Command Module called Columbia was used by the astronauts to return to earth by splashing into the Pacific Ocean to be collected by the recovery ship, USS Hornet.

Splashdown 3

Parachutes were deployed seven minutes before the Command Module struck the ocean water with force. During splashdown, the Command Module landed upside down but was righted within 10 minutes by flotation bags triggered by the astronauts. Armstrong’s last official transmission from the Columbia was:

“Everything’s okay. Our checklist is complete. Awaiting swimmers”

 A diver from the Navy helicopter hovering above attached a sea anchor to the Command Module to prevent it from drifting.

The Command Module, Columbia is on display at the National Air and Space Museum. Armstrong’s and Aldrin’s space suits are displayed in the museum’s Apollo to the Moon exhibit.

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Essential Facts:

  • Title:                 Apollo 11 Command Module
  • Name:              Columbia
  • Role:                 Living quarters for the three-person crew
  • Produced:       1969
  • Owner:             NASA
  • Museum:         National Air and Space Museum

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“That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” Neil Armstrong

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Photo Credit: 1) By U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Aaron Strickland [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons 2) By NASA [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons