neil-armstrong
Neil Armstrong | Biography

Quick Information

  • Full Name Neil Armstrong
  • Occupation Astronaut, Aeronautical Engineer
  • Nationality America
  • Birthplace Ohio, USA
  • Birth Date Aug 05, 1930
  • Place Of Death Ohio, USA
  • Death Date 2012-08-25
  • Age At Death 82 yrs
  • Net Worth $8 million estimated (Celebritynetworth)

Quotes

First Man on the Moon

Neil Armstrong | Biography

On 16 July 1969, Armstrong launched the Apollo 11 spacecraft to the Moon. The crew members included Edwin E. Aldrin Jr., and Michael Collins. The Eagle lunar landing module, driven manually by Armstrong, landed on a plain near the southwestern edge of the Sea of Tranquillity four days later, at 4:17 pm U.S. Eastern Daylight Time (EDT). Stepping from the Eagle onto the dusty Moon's surface on July 20, 1969, at 10:56 pm, he said, "That's one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind." It became one of the popular phrases of the twentieth century. Armstrong and Aldrin stepped away from the module for more than two hours, deploying research instruments, collecting surface samples, and taking several photos.


Neil Armstrong was the first man to walk on the Moon. He was an American astronaut and aeronautical engineer.

Who is Neil Armstrong?

Neil Armstrong entered NASA in 1962 and flew his first mission, Gemini VIII, in 1966 as a command pilot. He served in the Korean War and graduated before he joined NASA.

Armstrong was the spacecraft commander for Apollo 11, the first human-crewed lunar mission, and became the first man to walk on the Moon. After landing, he said, "It's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." It became one of the most popular phrases of the twentieth century.

After leaving NASA in 1972, Armstrong became a professor of aerospace engineering at the University of Cincinnati. He worked at the university for eight years. Armstrong died in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 2012, shortly after having heart surgery.

Early Life and Education

Neil Armstrong was born on August 5, 1930, in Wapakoneta, Ohio, to Viola Louise Engel and Stephen Koenig Armstrong. Neil Armstrong was the elder of 3 brothers.

His father was a State Auditor working for the Ohio Auditor's Office. Because of his father's job, the family moved frequently. Their final move was to Wapakoneta in 1944, where Armstrong became an Eagle Boy Scout, designed model airplanes, finished high school, and took flight lessons, earning his pilot's license before he could legally drive a car. 

When Armstrong was five years old, he and his father took their first airplane ride in a Ford Trimotor, otherwise called the "Tin Goose." 

He then became a member of the Boy Scouts of America and earned the highest rank available, Eagle Scout. Armstrong became a licensed pilot on his 16th birthday. He became a naval air cadet the following year, in 1947. 

The same year, Armstrong finished high school. He was a self-described "scared freshman" surrounded by far older World War II veterans attending Purdue University on the G.I.Bill, having missed a grade. Beyond engineering, Armstrong had a variety of interests. He could play seven instruments, including baritone horn in Purdue's 'All-American' Marching Band.

Military 

In 1949, when Armstrong was 19 years old, he began his Navy career as a pilot. Thanks to the scholarship from the Naval Aviation College Program. In 1950, he started studying aeronautical engineering at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. 

His study was soon interrupted by his service in the Korean War, during which he was shot down once. Then, Armstrong received three Air Medals. In 1955, he earned his bachelor's degree and went to work for the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) as a civilian research pilot. 

NASA

After serving from 1949 to 1952 as a naval aviator, Armstrong was appointed as a civilian research pilot for the National Advisory Committee member for Aeronautics (NACA), which predates NASA, in 1955. His first assignment was given at the NACA Lewis Research Center in Cleveland (now NASA Glenn). He worked for NACA and its successor organization, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), for the next 17 years in various positions including, engineer, test pilot, astronaut, and administrator. During his period at NASA, he flew more than 1,100 hours, studying different supersonic fighters and the X-15 rocket aircraft.

He became a National Advisory Committee member for Aeronautics (NACA) in 1955. His first assignment was given at the NACA Lewis Research Center in Cleveland (now NASA Glenn). 

After that, he would work for NACA and its successor organization, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), for the next 17 years in various positions, including engineer, test pilot, astronaut, and administrator. During his period at NASA, he flew more than 1,100 hours, studying different supersonic fighters and the X-15 rocket aircraft.

Crossing Into Space

In 1957, Armstrong was chosen for the program "Man In Space Soonest." He was then selected to become the first US civilian to fly in space in September 1963. 

Armstrong belonged to the second group of astronauts to enter the space program. On March 16, 1966, Armstrong and David R. Scott became the command pilots of Gemini 8 to dock the uncrewed Agena target vehicle to their Gemini-Titan II rocket to perform the first manual space docking maneuver. But, after the successful docking operation, a rocket thruster failure sent the spacecraft into an uncontrollable spin, forcing them to detach their vehicle from the Agena. After regaining control of the Gemini craft, Armstrong performed an emergency splashdown in the Pacific Ocean. 

Armstrong also served as the CAPCOM, which is usually the only person to communicate with astronauts during space missions directly. This was done for the mission of Gemini 11. But Armstrong did not go into space until the program of Apollo began.

Moon Landing

On July 16, 1969, Armstrong launched the Apollo 11 spacecraft to the Moon. The crew members included Edwin E. Aldrin Jr. and Michael Collins. The Eagle lunar landing module, driven manually by Armstrong, landed on a plain near the southwestern edge of the Sea of Tranquillity four days later, at 4:17 pm U.S. Eastern Daylight Time (EDT). 

Stepping from the Eagle onto the dusty Moon's surface on July 20, 1969, at 10:56 pm, he said, "That's one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind." Armstrong and Aldrin stepped away from the module for more than two hours, deploying research instruments, collecting surface samples, and taking several photos.

As they approached the lunar surface, Armstrong and his crewmate Buzz Aldrin saw that their trajectory led them straight into a deadly crater. So, Armstrong decided to handle the landing manually to utilize more fuel. But, by then, they touch the ground, the spaceflight would have only 17 seconds of descent fuel left.

"The powered descent, final approach and landing were the most challenging segment of Apollo 11. The unknowns were substantial, the systems were heavily loaded and it was the first time these sequences had been attempted in flight. Fortunately, the Lunar Module handling characteristics were better than we had any right to expect. And our practice on the Lunar Module Simulator and in the free-flying Lunar Landing Training Vehicle had given us high confidence in our piloting ability. Aborting required shutting down the landing engine, separating the ascent stage from the descent stage with explosive charges and igniting the ascent engine. That was a very high-risk procedure, particularly at low altitude. It was to be avoided unless absolutely necessary. So, Apollo 11 was always closer to landing than aborting," he explained the landing story to Forbes. 

After 21 hours and 36 minutes on the Moon, they lifted off on July 21 with Collins and began the journey back to Earth. Following their splashdown in the Pacific on July 24 at 12:51 pm EDT, the three astronauts were quarantined for 18 days to avoid potential contamination by lunar microbes. 

Later Contribution

Staying with NASA until 1971, Armstrong was promoted to deputy associate administrator for aeronautics. Following his departure from NASA, he became a professor of aerospace engineering at the University of Cincinnati. Armstrong spent eight years, from 1971 to 1978, as a professor at the university. Then, from 1982 to 1992, he was chairman of Computing Technologies for Aviation, Inc., in Virginia.

Lending a hand at a critical time, Armstrong served as vice chairman of the Presidential Commission on the Challenger space shuttle disaster in 1986. According to the commission, the Challenger's crew, including schoolteacher Christa McAuliffe, were killed in the explosion on January 28, 1986.

Opposition Against President Obama's Decision

Even in his later years, Armstrong remained dedicated to space exploration. The press-shy astronaut returned to the limelight to voice his displeasure with improvements to the U.S. space program. He appeared before Congress in opposition to President Barack Obama's decision to cancel the Constellation program, which included a second moon flight.

The Argument

Obama aimed to allow private businesses to join the space exploration industry and push for more crewless space missions.

According to Armstrong, taking the new decision would cost the U.S. its leadership role in space exploration. He said, "America is admired for its contributions to the learning of how to sail on this new sea. If we simply allow the leadership we have gained from our investment to fade away, other nations will undoubtedly step in to fill the void. That is not in our best interests, in my opinion."

'First Man' - Book and Movie

In 2005, 'First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong,' the authorized biography of the legendary astronaut, was published. James R. Hansen conducted interviews with Armstrong and his family, colleagues, and associates for the book.

Based on the biography, the biopic First Man was adapted and released in 2018. Ryan Gosling starred as Armstrong in Damien Chazelle's film. The movie cast includes Claire Foy, Jason Clarke, and Kyle Chandler.

Wife and Children

On January 28, 1956, Armstrong married Janet Shearon. The couple soon began to have children. Their son Eric was born in 1957, and their daughter Karen was born in 1959.

In January 1962, Karen died of complications from an inoperable brain tumor. The same year, the Armstrongs welcomed their third child, son Mark.

Armstrong married Carol Held Knight after his divorce from Janet in 1994.

Death & Controversy

In August 2012, Armstrong had a heart bypass surgery in a hospital in Cincinnati, Ohio. But, he died of complications two weeks after the surgery at 82, on August 25, 2012.

Did You Know?

There is an aviation museum named Armstrong Air & Space Museum in Armstong's hometown, Wapakoneta, Ohio. The museum was established in 1972 and houses the original Gemini 8 spacecraft in which Armstrong did the world's first space docking as a command pilot.

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