Saturday, August 25, 2012

Thanks for His Small Step and Giant Leap...

The above image is a portrait of Astronaut Neil Alden Armstrong, commander of Apollo 11 mission. Image Credit: NASA

Saturday, August 25th, Neil Alden Armstrong passed away while recovering from surgery on the 7th to relieve blocked coronary arteries. Armstrong was 82. Born August 5, 1930, Armstrong was an American NASA astronaut, test pilot, aerospace engineer, university professor, United States Naval Aviator, and the first person to set foot upon the Moon.

"That's one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind." — Neil Armstrong, 2:56 UTC, July 21, 1969

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. 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.

"Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed."  Neil Armstrong, confirming touchdown on the Moon, 20:17 UTC, July 20, 1969

CLICK HERE to view NASA's official biography of Neil Armstrong.

CLICK HERE to view the Quicktime-formatted video excerpts from the Apollo 11 mission.

CLICK HERE to bring up the iTunes page of Apollo 11 recordings.

CLICK HERE to visit the NASA commemorative site of images and video from the Apollo Program.


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