Neil Armstrong | The First Man On The Moon
Apollo 11 Commander!
Neil Armstrong will forever be remembered for being the first human to walk on the surface of the moon, during the Apollo 11 mission, and uttering the timeless phrase “that’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind”. Following Neil’s career as an engineer, pilot and astronaut, he would pursue teaching, research and later a career in the business world.
Neil Armstrong’s Life Before NASA
Neil fell in love with flying at an early age and learnt to fly before he even had a driving licence! Neil would leave college when America went to war in Korea where he joined the Navy as a pilot where he saw action. He would later return to complete his studies in aeronautical engineering. One of Neil’s first civilian jobs was working for NASA as a test pilot flying the experimental rocket plane the X-15, setting many records for altitude and speed.
Armstrong’s Stellar NASA Career
Neil Armstrong was selected by NASA to be an astronaut in 1962 and would first fly into space as the mission commander of Gemini 8 in 1966. The two-person spacecraft docked with the Agena spacecraft – the first space docking of two vehicles. However, after docking, the capsule started spinning dangerously which Armstrong safely piloted back to Earth winning high praise.
Armstrong's second and final spaceflight was as commander of the Apollo 11 mission in July 1969 when he would become the first person to walk on the Moon. As Armstrong took the first step on the lunar surface, he famously uttered "That's one small step for (a) man; one giant leap for mankind" effectively ending the Space Race with the USSR. Upon their return to Earth, the crew of Apollo 11 enjoyed huge ticker-tape parades across the country and were awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, among many other awards in the coming years.
Life After NASA
Neil Armstrong was a quiet and private individual who shied away from the spotlight, despite the fame he gained from the first moon landing mission. Following his retirement from NASA in 1970 Armstrong would teach at the University of Cincinnati, perform research and later be involved in the business world before his death on August 25th, 2012 at the age of 82.