ALAMEDA, CA--(Marketwire - Jul 12, 2012) - Relive the heyday of the U.S. space program as the USS Hornet celebrates the 43nd anniversary of the Apollo 11 "Return to Earth" Splashdown on July 21. Special guest retired astronaut Jose M. Hernandez will talk about his flight aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery as part of STS-128 and the time spent at the International Space Station during August and September 2009.
His presentation will begin at 1 p.m. and will be followed by a meet and greet. Hernandez will also be present for the unveiling of an exhibit highlighting his accomplishments with NASA. Hornet trustee Robert Fish will be the MC and will give a brief presentation on the Congressional Gold Medal held at the US Capitol last fall honoring the Apollo 11 astronauts.
The commemoration is part of the USS Hornet Museum's "Living Ship Day" series. The Hornet played a vital role in the Apollo 11 and 12 lunar missions having recovered the astronauts upon returning from their lunar missions. The astronauts also spent several days in quarantine aboard the aircraft carrier. The Hornet is the home of the largest collection of Apollo mission artifacts on the West Coast.
As part of the day's events, NASA Ames will provide an astronaut space suit display. In addition, the NASA Ames robotics department will provide interactive robot demonstrations and games for children. Guests are welcome onboard beginning at 10 a.m.
Living Ship Day aboard the Hornet offers something for everyone. The museum comes to life as an operating aircraft carrier with flight simulations between 11 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. as aircraft are lifted to the flight deck and placed into launch position. Visitors can meet former crew, sit in the cockpit of a fighter jet, and enjoy the sights and sounds of naval aviation.
Living Ship Day demonstrations are held on the third Saturday of most months. Normal museum hours and admission prices apply. Ample free parking is available across from the pier. The USS Hornet Museum is located at 707 W Hornet Ave, Pier 3 in Alameda.
Jose M. Hernandez SPACE FLIGHT EXPERIENCE: Hernandez's road to becoming an astronaut started alongside his family as migrant farm workers harvesting crops throughout California. It was in one of those fields that he first heard of Franklin Chang Diaz, the first Latino to fly in space and the seeds to become an astronaut were sown. Hernandez applied 12 times before being accepted to NASA's astronaut program.
In August 2009, he was a crew member onboard the Space Shuttle Discovery as part of STS-128, which was the 30th mission to the International Space Station. While at the orbital outpost, the STS-128 crew rotated an expedition crewmember, attached the Leonardo Multi-Purpose Logistics Module (MPLM), and transferred over 18,000 pounds of supplies and equipment to the station. The STS-128 crew conducted three spacewalks. The STS-128 mission was accomplished in 217 orbits of the Earth, traveling over 5.7 million miles in 332 hours and 53 minutes and returned to land at Edwards Air Force Base, California.
Before working for NASA, astronaut Hernandez helped develop the technology for the present-day mammography machines while at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
About the USS Hornet Museum:
The USS Hornet Museum is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to inspiring people of all ages to experience the legacy of naval history, science, and space technology. A registered state and national historic landmark, the ship is permanently berthed at 707 W. Hornet Avenue, Pier 3 in Alameda, CA. The ship is open to the public daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Regular museum admission is $6-$15 for youths through adults and there is ample free parking across from the pier. For more information, visit www.uss-hornet.org or call (510) 521-8448.