ALAMEDA -- When Neil Armstrong and his fellow Apollo 11 astronauts returned to Earth from the first lunar landing, they were immediately quarantined aboard the USS Hornet -- just in case the men picked up an alien bug as they were exploring the moon's dusty surface.

The astronauts didn't, of course.

But one of the specialists who gave the men the all-clear was Dr. William Carpentier, who will be visiting Hornet, now a floating museum, on Nov. 10 as part of a tribute to Armstrong and the others. Armstrong died Aug. 25 at age 82.

Along with Carpentier, who was the flight surgeon assigned to the July 1969 mission, former space shuttle astronaut Daniel Bursch will visit the ship, plus a flyover by four Nanchang CJ-6A aircraft from the Bay Bombers Squadron is planned.

The museum will also officially reopen its newly renovated Apollo exhibit. It's the largest collection of Apollo mission artifacts on the West Coast.

"While the world knows Neil Armstrong as a space exploration hero, the Hornet museum would like Bay Area citizens to know his qualities on a more personal level," said Bob Fish, a museum trustee and author of the book, "Hornet Plus Three: The Story of the Apollo 11 Recovery." "During our remembrance event, speakers will not only talk about the exciting events of July 1969 and the U.S. space program, they will also share their personal experience of an American icon who will be forever etched in human history."


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President Richard Nixon was aboard the USS Hornet when the ship's crew plucked Armstrong and fellow astronauts Michael Collins and Buzz Aldrin out of the Pacific Ocean after their splashdown. Nixon also addressed them while they were quarantined.

Carpentier worked with the three astronauts during their preflight training, as well as during the quarantine and their worldwide tour following their medical examination.

A retired U.S. Navy captain, Bursch was selected for astronaut training in January 1990 and became an astronaut in July 1991.

He was on four space flights and has logged more than 227 days in space. His background also includes working as a space communicator in mission control, and on the controls and displays for the space shuttle and space station at NASA's Astronaut Office Operations Development Branch.

The day's activities aboard the USS Hornet will begin with a big band performance at 11 a.m. The talks and Apollo exhibit reopening are set for 1 p.m. The ship is located at 707 W. Hornet Ave., Pier 3 in Alameda.

Reach Peter Hegarty at 510-748-1654 or follow him on Twitter.com/Peter_Hegarty.

If you go
An event to honor astronaut Neil Armstrong and mark the grand reopening of the Apollo exhibit aboard the USS Hornet will take place at 1 p.m. Nov. 10 aboard the ship at 707 W. Hornet Ave., Pier 3, Alameda.