Splashdown 45 - USS Hornet Museum Celebrates Apollo 11 Anniversary

Honoring the Past… Inspiring the Future…

This site is devoted to the public commemoration of the Apollo 11 moon mission --  the first time humans walked on the moon and their safe recovery by the aircraft carrier USS Hornet upon their return to Earth. Visit here for the latest updates and information about the special guests, schedule of events, exhibits and activities, ticket packages, and more.

Dr. William Carpentier

Apollo 11 Flight Surgeon Dr. Bill Carpentier.jpg

"In 1968 and 1969, Dr. Carpentier was the NASA Flight Surgeon for three Apollo flights: Apollo 7, an earth orbit mission; Apollo 11, the historic first landing on the moon; and Apollo 14, the third landing on the moon."

Bill Carpentier was born in Canada and graduated from Medical School at the University of British Columbia in 1961. He completed his internship and two years of residency in Aviation Medicine at Ohio State University in 1964.

In January 1965, he joined NASA and began working on operational space medicine at the Johnson Space Center. He was involved in the recovery of many spaceflights because NASA wanted to evaluate the effects of microgravity on their astronauts immediately after completion of the flight. He flew in the recovery helicopter on Gemini flights 5, 6 and 7. In 1968 and 1969, he was the NASA Flight Surgeon for three Apollo flights: Apollo 7, an earth orbit mission; Apollo 11, the historic first landing on the moon; and Apollo 14, the third landing on the moon (after which he spent many hours inside the MQF on display at the USS Hornet Museum).

For the Apollo 11 recovery and wearing an orange flight suit, Bill was in the recovery helicopter, greeting each astronaut as they were hoisted up from the ocean to ensure their good health. He then entered the three week “moon germ” quarantine period with them, first in the MQF on the ship and later at the Johnson Space Center. Finally, he was assigned to accompany astronauts Armstrong, Aldrin, and Collins on their world-wide goodwill tour that covered 27 cities in 45 days.

Dr. Carpentier follows the Apollo 11 astronauts into the MQF onboard the USS Hornet.

Dr. Carpentier follows the Apollo 11 astronauts into the MQF onboard the USS Hornet.

When the Apollo program ended, Bill left NASA and became involved in nuclear medicine after taking a course to qualify to use radiopharmaceuticals in the space program. Radiopharmaceuticals are small amounts of radioactive materials that are attracted to various tissues and organs. They emit radiation that can be used to diagnose various diseases. In the space program, they’re used to detect changes in blood and fluid volumes caused by microgravity.

His new interest in this field prompted Carpentier to enter a fellowship program in nuclear medicine at Baylor University in Houston, Texas. In 1973, after finishing the course, he accepted a job offer from the Scott White Clinic in Temple, Texas, where he has worked for nearly three decades.

The USS Hornet Museum is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization and a registered State and National Historic Landmark. 
The Museum's official website is www.uss-hornet.org.
USS HORNET MUSEUM • 707 W. Hornet Ave, Pier 3 • Alameda, CA 94501 • (510) 521-8448