Legendary Aviators - Neil Armstrong [VIDEO]

Lana Rasool

As spacecraft commander for Apollo 11, the first manned lunar landing mission, Neil Armstrong gained the distinction of being the first man to land a craft on the moon and first to step on its surface, in1966. Neil Armstrong made history.


Neil Armstrong's - Early life and career

Neil Alden Armstrong (August 5, 1930 – August 25, 2012), was born in Wapakoneta, Ohio. Armstrong's passion for aviation and flight began when he took his first airplane ride at age 6. He was active in the Boy Scouts of America and earned the rank of Eagle Scout, the highest rank attainable. He became a licensed pilot on his 16th birthday and a naval air cadet in 1947.

Armstrong studied aeronautical engineering at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, and immediately became a civilian research pilot for the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), later the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). He flew more than 1,100 hours, testing various supersonic fighters as well as the X-15 rocket plane.


Pictures from Neil Armstrong's first steps on the moon. 

In 1962, Armstrong joined the space program with its second group of astronauts. On March 16, 1966, Armstrong, as command pilot of Gemini 8, and David R. Scott rendezvoused with an unmanned Agena rocket and completed the first manual space docking maneuver.

As a research pilot at NASA's Flight Research Center, Edwards, Calif., he was a project pilot on much pioneering high-speed aircraft, including the well-known, 4000-mph X-15. He has flown over 200 different models of aircraft, including jets, rockets, helicopters, and gliders.


Landing on the moon

On July 16, 1969, Neil Armstrong, along with Edwin E. Aldrin, Jr., and Michael Collins, blasted off in the Apollo 11 vehicle toward the Moon. Four days later, the Eagle lunar landing module, guided manually by Armstrong, touched down on a plain near the southwestern edge of the Sea of Tranquillity (Mare Tranquillitatis).

On July 20, 1969, Armstrong stepped from the Eagle onto the Moon’s dusty surface with the words,

That’s one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.

(In the excitement of the moment, Armstrong skipped the “a” in the statement that he had prepared.) Armstrong and Aldrin left the module for more than two hours and deployed scientific instruments, collected surface samples, and took numerous photographs.

Later career

Armstrong resigned from NASA in 1971. After Apollo 11, he went away from being a public figure and confined himself to academic and professional endeavors. From 1971 to 1979 he was a professor of aerospace engineering at the University of Cincinnati (Ohio).

After 1979, Armstrong served as chairman or director for a number of companies, among them Computing Technologies for Aviation from 1982 to 1992 and AIL Systems (later EDO Corporation), a maker of electronic equipment for the military, from 1977 until his retirement in 2002. He also served on the National Commission on Space (NCOS), a panel charged with setting goals for the space program, and on the Presidential Commission on the Space Shuttle Challenger Accident, the group appointed in 1986 to analyze the safety failures in the Challenger disaster.

He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1969, the Congressional Space Medal of Honor in 1978, and the Congressional Gold Medal in 2009.




Want to read about another legendary aviator? Check out our blog post about Amelia Earhart, the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean!🛫 Click here or on the image below. 

Amelia Earhart blog post


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