Neil Armstrong: First Man on the Moon –

Niel armstrong

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Neil Armstrong was a NASA astronaut and aeronautical engineer. He became the first person to walk on the moon on July 20, 1969 during Apollo 11. Armstrong also flew on NASA’s Gemini 8 mission in 1966.

He retired from NASA in 1971 and remained active in the aerospace community, though he chose to stay largely out of the public spotlight. armstrong died ago. January 25, 2012, at age 82.

Armstrong was famously reticent about his accomplishments, preferring to focus on the team that helped him get to the moon rather than his own first steps. “I guess we all like to be recognized not just for a piece of fireworks, but for the record of our daily work,” Armstrong said in an interview with CBS’s “60 Minutes” (opens in new tab) program in 2005.

In another interview, when asked what it’s like to have your footprints on the moon’s surface for thousands of years, Armstrong said, “I hope someone goes up there one of these days and wipes them up,” reported the independent (opens in new tab).

Related: Apollo landers, Neil Armstrong’s boot print and other human artifacts on the moon officially protected by new US law

early career and NASA work

Armstrong was born in Wapakoneta, Ohio, on August 1. 5, 1930, to stephen koenig armstrong and viola louise engel.

neil was a naval aviator from 1949 to 1952 and served in the korean war. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Aeronautical Engineering from Purdue University in 1955. (Many years later, after becoming world famous, he also received a Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Southern California in 1970.)

Armstrong became a test pilot for NASA (then known as NACA, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics) and flew the X-15, a missile-like rocket-powered aircraft that tested the limits of flight at high altitude. During his long career as a pilot, Armstrong flew more than 200 different aircraft, from jets to gliders and even helicopters.

In 1962, Armstrong was selected to be part of NASA’s second group of astronauts, who flew the two-seat Gemini missions to test space technology, and the three-seat Apollo missions that ultimately carried 12 people to the surface of the moon. Armstrong’s first flight was as pilot in command of the Gemini 8 mission in March 1966, the sixth manned mission in that series.

Armstrong and pilot David Scott completed the first orbital docking of two spacecraft, attaching their Gemini 8 spacecraft to an uncrewed Agena target vehicle. However, the two-man crew experienced a serious problem when a thruster on the Gemini 8 spacecraft became stuck open. With the astronauts spinning at more than one revolution per second, Armstrong managed to regain control again using the reentry system’s thrusters. the event was the first serious emergency in space, and although the mission was ultimately completed safely, the spacecraft was forced to ditch early because the re-entry system was already worn out.

Armstrong also narrowly avoided a nasty crash in May 1968, this time inside Earth’s atmosphere, while flying the Lunar Landing Research Vehicle, a machine that could fly like a Lunar Module and simulate moon landings. Fuel for the attitude thrusters ran out and Armstrong was forced to eject just seconds before the vehicle crashed, NASA reported (opens in a new tab). armstrong escaped unharmed.

Apollo 11 and the first moon walk

Apollo 11 crew members were announced to the public in January 1969. NASA Astronaut Office chief Donald Kent “Deke” Slayton chose a team of veterans of Neil Armstrong (Gemini 8), Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin (Gemini 12) and Michael Collins (Gemini 10), with Armstrong selected to command the mission. His responsibilities included landing on the moon alongside Aldrin, the pilot of the Eagle Lunar Module. Collins would remain in lunar orbit aboard the command module Columbia. (Originally, Collins was supposed to be the fill-in pilot for Apollo 11, but his place in the flight sequence was moved after back surgery forced him to leave the Apollo 8 prime crew.)

as the lander neared the moon, armstrong took over the controls when he saw that the computer was guiding them to a landing zone littered with rocks. At 16:14 EDT (2014 GMT), Armstrong and Aldrin touched down on the moon, with only 25 seconds of fuel remaining. Armstrong radioed, “Houston, Tranquility Base here. Eagle has landed.” the capsule’s communicator and astronaut charles duke responded from the ground: “roger… calm down, we copied you on the ground. blue. we breathe again. thank you very much.”

The schedule required the astronauts to sleep before the first moonwalk, but they opted to leave early because they felt they would not be able to sleep. Within view of a black-and-white television camera transmitting his movements live to Earth, Armstrong descended from the Eagle lander and touched down with his left foot at 10:56 p.m. m. edt Jul 20 (0256 gmt Jul 21). His first words were “That’s one small step for a man, one giant step for mankind.” ) proved that armstrong did say it).

armstrong and aldrin together explored the surface during a lunar walk that lasted 2 hours and 36 minutes. collected 48.5 pounds (22 kilograms) of material from the surface, including 50 moon rocks, as well as implementing experiments, planting the usa. uu. flag and taking a moment to talk to the usa President at the time, Richard Nixon.

the eagle crew lifted off safely from the moon on july 21, docked with columbia, and traveled back to earth for a successful moon landing on july 24. the astronauts self-quarantined to mitigate the (unlikely) risk that they were carrying some kind of lunar germs with them, and then embarked on a world tour to celebrate the mission.

after apollo 11 and the death of armstrong

Following his time as an astronaut, Armstrong was deputy associate administrator for aeronautics at NASA headquarters. he resigned from nasa in 1971. from 1971 to 1979 he was a professor of aerospace engineering at the university of cincinnati. Then, from 1982 to 1992, Armstrong was president of Aviation Information Technologies Inc. in Charlottesville, Virginia. Armstrong also served on the Rogers Commission, which was a presidential commission charged with analyzing the causes and events of the fatal January shuttle Challenger explosion. 28, 1986, which killed seven astronauts.

Armstrong chose to remain largely out of the limelight after leaving NASA, although he reappeared periodically for interviews or for Apollo 11-related anniversary events. Although his public statements were few, he followed the spaceflight news and occasionally he made public comments on what was happening. happening. he remained a vocal supporter of suborbital spaceflight. On the other hand, the former Apollo astronaut publicly criticized plans to shift NASA’s manned spaceflight to private spacecraft.

on august 8 on january 7, 2012, two days after armstrong’s 82nd birthday, the famous moonwalker underwent coronary bypass surgery. complications from the surgery resulted in his death on August 1. 25.

“Neil was our loving husband, father, grandfather, brother and friend,” his family wrote on the website “For those asking what they can do to honor Neil, we have a simple request,” they added. “honor her example of service, achievement and modesty, and the next time you’re out for a walk on a clear night and see the moon smiling down at you, think of neil armstrong and wink at him. ”

Tributes poured in from many public figures, including President Barack Obama, Republican presidential candidate Mit Romney, then-NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, Apollo 11 crewmates Aldrin and Collins, and various representatives of space at the public, private and non-profit spheres.

“Neil was one of the greatest American heroes, not just of his time, but of all time,” Obama’s statement read (opens in a new tab). “When he and his crewmates took off aboard Apollo 11 in 1969, they took with them the aspirations of an entire nation. They set out to show the world that the American spirit can see beyond the seemingly unimaginable, that with enough drive and ingenuity, anything is possible.”

A private memorial service was held for Armstrong in August. 31, 2012, at the Camargo Club in Cincinnati. Two weeks later, a publicly televised memorial service was held at the National Cathedral in Washington, DC.

armstrong was buried at sea sept. on January 14, 2012, in a ceremony aboard the guided-missile cruiser USS Philippine Sea. Armstrong’s family was on board when the ship left the port of Mayport, Florida, and they dumped his ashes somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean. Obama ordered that the flags of the United States be flown at half staff on the day of the funeral.

armstrong’s legacy

in 2015, the smithsonian institution revealed that armstrong had kept a cloth bag filled with small parts of the eagle lunar module, which lay hidden for decades until his widow, carol, found it. Although Armstrong did not mention this bag in decades of interviews, he did mention it to himself several times during the mission.

How Armstrong eventually came into possession of the bag is unknown, but during the Apollo years it was common for astronauts to keep mementos of their flights. (A month after Armstrong’s death, Obama signed into law a bill to allow Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo astronauts to retain legal ownership of these memorabilia.) from Armstrong’s “bag”; The design was used on several Apollo missions before and after Apollo 11.

in July. On January 21, 2009, Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Buzz Aldrin attended the United States House Committee on Science and Technology’s Tribute to the Apollo 11 Astronauts at the Cannon House Office Building on Capitol Hill. during the ceremony, the committee presented the astronauts with a copy of house resolution 607 honoring their achievements and announced the passage of legislation awarding them and john glenn the congressional gold medal.

in a 2013 bbc documentary, armstrong’s brother dean said he knew the famous first words on the moon several months before apollo 11 landed. dean reported that armstrong passed him a handwritten note while the brothers played a nightly risk game, according to the British newspaper the telegraph. However, Dean’s comments contradicted many statements by Armstrong himself, who said the words didn’t occur to him until he landed on the moon. The other Apollo 11 astronauts have also backed up Armstrong’s claims.

in 2017, a rare golden moon model was stolen from the armstrong air and space museum in wapakoneta. “A solid gold replica of the 1969 lunar excursion module that landed on the moon was discovered and taken away with museum admission,” Wapakoneta Police Chief Russell Hunlock said in a statement. “The piece is very rare as it was presented to Neil Armstrong in Paris, France, shortly after the moon landing.”

On October 12, 2018, Universal Pictures published a biography of Neil Armstrong based on James R. Hansen’s book “First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong.” The movie starring Ryan Gosling as Armstrong. The film was embroiled in political controversy because the filmmakers decided not to include a scene in which Armstrong plants an American flag on the surface of the moon, despite the fact that Armstrong actually did so. sen. Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican, tweeted, “This is complete insanity and disservice at a time when our people need reminders of what we can achieve when we work together.”

at the venice film festival, gosling defended the choice of filmmaker, reported the telegraph (opens in new tab), saying: “i think [the moon landing] was ultimately seen as a human achievement [and] it is.” how we choose to see it.”

on august 8-january 11, 2021, nasa dedicated the ohio test facility to neil armstrong. Armstrong had kindly declined the honor when originally asked, but on Wednesday (August 11), nine years after Armstrong’s death and one week after what would have been his 91st birthday, a group of NASA officials and members of congress gathered for a small dedication ceremony in sandusky, ohio. NASA’s Plum Brook Station is now known as Neil A. armstrong test facility.

additional resources

you can explore 50 neil armstrong facts with this article (opens in a new tab) or read about armstrong’s life and space travel dreams in this book (opens in a new tab) from james r. hansen. Find out more about Armstrong in this informative article (opens in a new tab) published by the Air and Space Museum.


  • sylvia doughty fries “nasa engineers and the age of apollo”, the nasa history series.
  • Hansen, James R. “First Man: The Life of Neil A. armstrong”. simon and schuster, 2012.

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