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Astronaut Neil Armstrong dead at age 82; First man to walk on Moon

By Brian Hews

Astronaut Neil Armstrong who was the first man to walk on the moon has died at the age of 82.

Neil Alden Armstrong was born August 5, 1930 and was part of one of the most exciting eras in space travel when he as an American NASA astronaut, test pilot, aerospace engineer, university professor, United States Naval Aviator, and the first person to set foot upon the Moon.

As he stepped onto the moon his words “One Small Step for Man, One Giant Leap for Mankind” became one of the most famous sayings ever uttered in history.

Before becoming an astronaut, Armstrong was in the United States Navy and served in the Korean War. After the war, he served as a test pilot at the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) High-Speed Flight Station, now known as the Dryden Flight Research Center, where he flew over 900 flights in a variety of aircraft. As a research pilot, Armstrong served as project pilot on the F-100 Super Sabre A and C variants, F-101 Voodoo, and the Lockheed F-104A Starfighter.

He also flew the Bell X-1B, Bell X-5, North American X-15, F-105 Thunderchief, F-106 Delta Dart, B-47 Stratojet, KC-135 Stratotanker, and was one of eight elite pilots involved in the paraglider research vehicle program (Paresev). He graduated from Purdue University and the University of Southern California.

A participant in the U.S. Air Force’s Man In Space Soonest and X-20 Dyna-Soar human spaceflight programs, Armstrong joined the NASA Astronaut Corps in 1962. His first spaceflight was the NASA Gemini 8 mission in 1966, for which he was the command pilot, becoming one of the first U.S. civilians to fly in space.[2] On this mission, he performed the first manned docking of two spacecraft with pilot David Scott. Armstrong’s second and last spaceflight was as mission commander of the Apollo 11 moon landing mission on July 20, 1969.

On this mission, Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin descended to the lunar surface and spent 2½ hours exploring while Michael Collins remained in orbit in the Command Module. Armstrong was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Richard Nixon along with Collins and Aldrin, the Congressional Space Medal of Honor by President Jimmy Carter in 1978, and the Congressional Gold Medal in 2009.

Neil Armstrong has died

Astronaut Neil Armstrong has died at the age of 82.

Neil Armstrong was born in Wapakoneta, Ohio, to Stephen Koenig Armstrong and Viola Louise Engel. He was of Scots-Irish and German descent, and had two younger siblings, June and Dean. Stephen Armstrong worked as an auditor for the Ohio state government, and the family moved around the state repeatedly in the 15 years following Armstrong’s birth, living in 20 different towns. His love for flying grew during this time, having gotten off to an early start when his father took 2-year-old Neil to the Cleveland Air Races. On July 20, 1936, when he was 6, he experienced his first airplane flight in Warren, Ohio, when he and his father took a ride in a Ford Trimotor (aka the “Tin Goose”).

His father’s last forced move was to Wapakoneta (Auglaize County) in 1944, where Neil attended Blume High School. Armstrong began taking flying lessons at the county airport, and was just 15 when he earned his flight certificate, before he had a driver’s license. Armstrong was active in the Boy Scouts and he eventually earned the rank of Eagle Scout. As an adult, he was recognized by the Boy Scouts of America with its Distinguished Eagle Scout Award and Silver Buffalo Award.

On July 18, 1969, while flying towards the Moon inside the Columbia, he greeted the Scouts: “I’d like to say hello to all my fellow Scouts and Scouters at Farragut State Park in Idaho having a National Jamboree there this week; and Apollo 11 would like to send them best wishes”. Houston: “Thank you, Apollo 11. I’m sure that, if they didn’t hear that, they’ll get the word through the news.

In 1947, Armstrong began studying aerospace engineering at Purdue University, where he was a member of Phi Delta Theta and Kappa Kappa Psi. He was only the second person in his family to attend college, and was also accepted to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), but the only engineer he knew (who had attended MIT) dissuaded him from attending, telling Armstrong that it was not necessary to go all the way to Cambridge, Massachusetts, for a good education.

His college tuition was paid for under the Holloway Plan – successful applicants committed to two years of study, followed by three years of service in the United States Navy, then completion of the final two years of the degree. At Purdue, he earned average marks in his subjects, with a GPA that rose and fell during eight semesters. He was awarded a Bachelor of Science degree in aeronautical engineering from Purdue University in 1955, and, from the University of Southern California in 1970, a Master of Science degree in aerospace engineering.[12] Armstrong holds honorary doctorates from a number of universities.

Tributes are beginning to pour in from around the world about the death of Armstrong.

What was your best memory about the life of Neil Armstrong? Please leave your comments under this post.

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