Back from the Moon, Apollo Astronauts Had to Go Through Customs

Before the ticker tape parades and the inevitable world tour, the triumphant Apollo 11 astronauts were greeted with a more mundane aspect of life on earth when they splashed down on July 24, 1969 — they had to go through customs. Just what did Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins have to declare? According to the custom forms filed at the Honolulu Airport in Hawaii, moon rocks, moon dust, and other lunar samples. The customs form is signed by all three astronauts. They declared their cargo and listed their flight route as starting at Cape Kennedy — now Cape Canaveral — in Florida with a stopover on the moon. As NASA explained in 2009 on the Apollo 11 mission’s 40th anniversary, it was a little joke at the time. Today, NASA astronauts still have to go through customs, but only as part of their routine airline flights back home. While astronauts do have a government passport, they still have to go through customs like everybody else.