Neil Armstrong Dies aged 82

Complications from Heart Surgery Takes the First Moon Walker

[Ed] I have met most of the Apollo moon walkers and command module pilots but I never met Neil Armstrong. Unlike Buzz Aldrin, Neil had become somewhat reclusive. He avoided public appearances and refused to sign autographs. He was still passionate about space and spoke his mind on where NASA should point their rockets. As one on the many exOTC staff that supported the Apollo 11 mission, I am saddened by the world’s loss of an extraordinary astronaut that had ice water flowing in his veins. He was one cool guy that was able to walk away from many failures where others would have perished. We will miss you – Robert Brand

News article from NASA

The following is a statement from NASA Administrator Charles Bolden regarding the death of former test pilot and NASA astronaut Neil Armstrong. He was 82.

“On behalf of the entire NASA family, I would like to express my deepest condolences to Carol and the rest of Armstrong family on the passing of Neil Armstrong. As long as there are history books, Neil Armstrong will be included in them, remembered for taking humankind’s first small step on a world beyond our own.”Besides being one of America’s greatest explorers, Neil carried himself with a grace and humility that was an example to us all. When President Kennedy challenged the nation to send a human to the moon, Neil Armstrong accepted without reservation.”As we enter this next era of space exploration, we do so standing on the shoulders of Neil Armstrong. We mourn the passing of a friend, fellow astronaut and true American hero.”

From NASA’s website:

Who Is Neil Armstrong?

Armstrong in a white spacesuit in front of a picture of the moon

Picture Right: Neil Armstrong was the first man to walk on the moon. Image Credit: NASA
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Neil Armstrong was the first human being to walk on the surface of the moon. He is an astronaut who flew on two space missions. The first was Gemini 8. The second mission was Apollo 11, which landed on the moon in 1969. Armstrong has also been an engineer, a pilot and a college professor.

What Was Neil Armstrong’s Life Like Growing Up?

Neil Armstrong was born in Ohio on Aug. 5, 1930. He had a brother and a sister. His family moved several times when he was young. They settled in Wapakoneta, Ohio, when he was 13. Armstrong first flew in an airplane when he was 6. That flight made him love airplanes. He was an Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts of America. Armstrong attended Blume High School in Wapakoneta. He went to college at Purdue University. While he was in college, he left to serve in the U.S. Navy. He was a Navy pilot during the Korean War. Afterwards, he returned and finished his bachelor’s degree in aeronautical engineering. He later earned a master’s degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Southern California.

What Did Neil Armstrong Do Before He Became an Astronaut?
Aldrin wears a white spacesuit on the moon

Picture Right: Armstrong took this picture of Aldrin on the moon during the Apollo 11 mission. Image Credit: NASA
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After he graduated from college in 1955, Neil Armstrong went to work for the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics. The Government agency, NACA, researched airplanes. Congress formed NASA in 1958, and NACA became part of this new agency.

Armstrong flew several planes for the agency. He also helped design planes. One of the planes he flew was the X-15 rocket plane. This plane set records for speed and altitude. Some of those records still stand, more than 40 years later.

What Did Neil Armstrong Do as an Astronaut?

Neil Armstrong was selected as an astronaut in 1962. He was part of the second group of astronauts ever chosen. After finishing his initial training, he was picked to be mission commander of Gemini 8 in 1966. The two-person crew was Armstrong and David Scott. They were the first astronauts to dock two vehicles in space. The Gemini docked with an Agena spacecraft. The Agena, which had no crew, was launched so the Gemini could practice docking with it. After docking, the Gemini had a thruster problem. The capsule started spinning, and the mission ended early. Armstrong and Scott were able to pilot the Gemini safely back to Earth.

What Happened On the Apollo 11 Mission?

A boot print on the moon's surface

Picture Right: The first footprints on the moon could be there for a million years. The moon has no wind to blow them away. Image Credit: NASA
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Armstrong’s second flight was as commander of Apollo 11 in 1969. The other crew members were Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins. Armstrong and Aldrin landed on the moon in the lunar lander named Eagle. They were the first people to land on the moon. Collins stayed in orbit around the moon in the Apollo capsule. After landing, Armstrong and Aldrin walked on the moon. Armstrong took the first step on the moon. He said, “That’s one small step for a man; one giant leap for mankind.”

Armstrong and Aldrin spent more than two and a half hours working outside their spacecraft on the moon. They studied the surface and collected rock samples. The two astronauts were on the moon for 21 ½ hours, including time inside the lander. After they blasted off, they docked with the Apollo capsule still in orbit around the moon. All three astronauts then flew back to Earth in the Apollo capsule.

What Did Neil Armstrong Do After Apollo 11?

Neil Armstrong retired from NASA the year after Apollo 11. In 1971, he became a professor of aerospace engineering at the University of Cincinnati. He did that until 1979. From 1982 until 1992, he was the chairman of a company that made computer software for flight scheduling.

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