We’re a couple of days late with this, since we don’t update on weekends, but as many of you have probably heard, Neil Armstrong passed away on August 25th from complications from a previous bypass operation. Neil Armstrong was the first person to walk on the Moon.
Neil Armstrong, along Buzz Aldrin, were in the lander portion of the Apollo 11 mission, which was the first manned vehicle to land on the Moon. (Michael Collins remained in Lunar orbit). Neil Armstrong had to land the “Eagle” manually after the computer chose a surface strewn with boulders while Buzz Aldrin called out navigation data. Neil safely landed the craft and uttered the famous line “Houston, Tranquility base here. The Eagle has landed”. The schedule for Apollo then had them taking a nap (no, really). Armstrong and Aldrin refused to do this and instead embarked on their extravehicular activities. Armstrong, due to his position in the cockpit was the first to leave the Lander. Once Armstrong reached the bottom of the lander he utter the line “one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind”, which often sounds like “one small step for man…” in recordings. Armstrong & Aldrin would spend less than a day on the Lunar surface before returning.
Even before the space program, Armstrong had an incredible career. He earned an aeronautical engineer’s degree from MIT. After graduation he went into the US Navy and flew in Korea. Afterwards he worked as a test pilot before applying to become an astronaut.
Armstrong was a very private person and did not do much to ‘cash in’ on his fame. He was very quiet and unassuming compared to his more outgoing lunar partner, Buzz Aldrin. Despite some claims, however, he was not a recluse and did grant interviews on a regular basis. He did refuse to sign autographs after finding out that people were selling them for money. After Apollo 11 he elected to become an engineering teacher. He also served on the committees to examine to Apollo 13 incident and the Columbia disaster.
A national hero…no a planetary hero has passed away. This has been a tragic year for astronauts.