Apollo 11 Flotation Collar

Display Status:

This object is on display in the Human Spaceflight at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA.

Human Spaceflight

Following the July 24, 1969 splashdown of the Apollo 11 Command Module in the mid-Pacific ocean, about 13 nautical miles from the prime recovery ship, USS HORNET, a recovery helicopter dropped Navy swimmers into the water. The swimmer's first task was to stabilize the command module by attaching and inflating a custom-made flotation collar around the blunt end of the spacecraft. The next task was to attach a large, seven-man raft to the flotation collar into which the astronauts, after donning special "Biological Isolation Garments," exited from the Command Module. After further decontamination, the astronauts were flown by Navy Helicopter to the HORNET.

This collar attached to the "egress trainer" command module is the actual unit deployed during the recovery of Apollo 11. It was transferred from NASA to the Smithsonian in 1977.