Right after astronauts Apollo 11 astronauts Neil A. Armstrong, Edwin E. “Buzz” Aldrin, and Michael Collins splashed down in the Pacific Ocean on July 24, 1969, they were brought aboard the USS Hornet (CVS-12) and immediately entered a Mobile Quarantine Facility (MQF) along with a NASA flight surgeon and recovery engineer. See below for a photo of when President Richard Nixon popped by to say hello. (You can visit the USS Hornet and see a prototype MQF!) A few days later, the group arrived at Houston's Johnson Space Center where they were locked down in the Lunar Receiving Laboratory (LRL) to continue a 21-day quarantine. While inside, the astronauts wrote reports, conducted debriefs, and enjoyed a surprise birthday party for Armstrong who turned 39 in quarantine.
According to NASA, "Flight surgeon Dr. William R. Carpentier monitored their health status on a daily basis, and when they showed no signs of any illnesses they were cleared to be released from quarantine."
On the evening of Aug. 10, MSC Director of Medical Research and Operations Dr. Charles A. Berry opened the door to the LRL’s Crew Reception Area (CRA), and Armstrong, Aldrin, and Collins stepped out into the hallway. They were welcomed by MSC Director Robert L. Gilruth, other NASA officials and colleagues, and a swarm of reporters once they stepped outside the building into the hot and muggy Houston night. It was the first time they could freely interact with the outside world since their preflight quarantine began more than a month before. Individual cars whisked the astronauts to their homes for reunions with their families. The next day was a day off for the astronauts and they spent it with their families. To prepare for the upcoming events, Aldrin and Collins went shopping for new suits, while apparently Armstrong had an adequate number and spent the day relaxing by his pool.
image: NASA (public domain)