Best known for being the first person to walk on the Moon, the American astronaut, test pilot, aerospace engineer, university professor and United States Naval Aviator Neil Alden Armstrong sadly passed away on 25th August 2012. so I thought I would pay tribute to this remarkable man.
Born August 5, 1930 in Wapakoneta, Ohio, Armstrong’s love for flying started from an early age when his father took 2-year-old Neil to the Cleveland Air Races. Later 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, also known as the “Tin Goose. 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.
In 1947, Armstrong began studying aerospace engineering at Purdue University,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. 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 Armstrong held honorary doctorates from a number of universities.
Armstrong’s call-up from the Navy, lasted almost 18 months. during this time he qualified for carrier landing aboard the USS Cabot and USS Wright and two weeks after his 20th birthday, Armstrong was informed by letter he was a fully qualified Naval Aviator. His first assignment was to Fleet Aircraft Service Squadron 7 at NAS San Diego (now known as NAS North Island). Two months later he was assigned to Fighter Squadron 51 (VF-51), an all-jet squadron, and made his first flight in a jet, an F9F-2B Panther, on January 5, 1951. In June, he made his first jet carrier landing on the USS Essex and was promoted the same week from Midshipman to Ensign. By the end of the month, the Essex had set sail with VF-51 aboard, bound for Korea, where they would act as ground-attack aircraft. Armstrong first saw action in the Korean War on August 29, 1951, as an escort for a photo reconnaissance plane over Songjin and also flew armed reconnaissance over the primary transportation and storage facilities south of the village of Majon-ni,in total Armstrong flew 78 missions over Korea, for which he received the Air Medal for 20 combat missions, a Gold Star for the next 20, and the Korean Service Medal and Engagement Star.
Armstrong left the Navy at the age of 22 on August 23, 1952, and became a Lieutenant, Junior Grade in the United States Naval Reserve. He resigned his commission in the Naval Reserve on October 21, 1960.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. After his service with the Navy, Armstrong returned to Purdue, where he graduated in 1955 with a bachelor’s degree in aeronautical engineering.Armstrong also completed a master of science degree in aeronautical engineering at the University of Southern California.
Following his graduation from Purdue, Armstrong decided to become an experimental research test pilot. He applied at the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics High-Speed Flight Station at Edwards Air Force Base , now known as the Dryden Flight Research Center, where he logged over 900 flights. He graduated from Purdue University and the University of Southern California.Armstrong’s first flight in a rocket plane was in the Bell X-1B, he later flew the North American X-15, and also flew with Chuck Yeager in a Lockheed T-33 Shooting Star. He also flew a Lockheed F-104 Starfighter, during his career, Armstrong flew more than 200 different models of aircraft.
In 1958, he was selected for the U.S. Air Force’s Man In Space Soonest program. In November 1960, Armstrong was chosen as part of the pilot consultant group for the Boeing X-20 Dyna-Soar, a military space plane; and in 1962, he joined the NASA Astronaut Corp and was named as one of six pilot-engineers who would fly the space plane when it got off the design board. As a participant in the U.S. Air Force’s Man In Space Soonest and X-20 Dyna-Soar human spaceflight programs. Armstrong’s 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 in space. On this mission, he performed the first manned docking of two spacecraft with pilot David Scott. The last crew assignment for Armstrong during the Gemini program was as backup Command Pilot for Gemini 11, announced two days after the landing of Gemini 8. Having already trained for two flights, Armstrong was quite knowledgeable about the systems and was more in a teaching role for the rookie backup Pilot, William Anders. The launch was on September 12, 1966 with Pete Conrad and Dick Gordon on board, who successfully completed the mission objectives, while Armstrong served as CAPCOM.
Armstrong’s second and last spaceflight came After he served as backup commander for Apollo 8, and he was offered the post of commander of Apollo 11, as 8 orbited the Moon. the Apollo 11 launch much noisier than the Gemini 8 Titan II launch – and the Apollo CSM was relatively roomy compared to the Gemini capsule. The objective of Apollo 11 was to land safely rather than to touch down with precision on a particular spot.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. The landing on the surface of the moon occurred at 20:17:39 UTC on July 20, 1969 The first words Armstrong intentionally spoke to Mission Control were, “Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed.” and Although the official NASA flight plan called for a crew rest period before extra-vehicular activity, Armstrong requested that the EVA be moved to earlier in the evening, Houston time. Once Armstrong and Aldrin were ready to go outside, Eagle was depressurized, the hatch was opened and Armstrong made his way down the ladder first. At the bottom of the ladder, Armstrong said “I’m going to step off the LEM now” (referring to the Apollo Lunar Module). He then turned and set his left boot on the surface at 2:56 UTC July 21, 1969, then spoke the famous words “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.”When Armstrong made his proclamation, Voice of America was rebroadcast live via the BBC and many other stations worldwide. The estimated global audience at that moment was 450 million listeners, out of a then estimated world population of 3.631 billion people. On their Return to Earth. The lunar module met and docked with Columbia, the command and service module. The three astronauts then returned to Earth and splashed down in the Pacific ocean, to be picked up by the USS Hornet .
In May 1970, Armstrong traveled to the Soviet Union to present a talk at the 13th annual conference of the International Committee on Space Research; after arriving in Leningrad from Poland, he traveled to Moscow where he met Premier Alexei Kosygin. He was the first westerner to see the supersonic Tupolev Tu-144 and was given a tour of the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center, which Armstrong described as “a bit Victorian in nature”. At the end of the day, he viewed delayed video of the launch of Soyuz 9. Armstrong also received many honors and awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Congressional Space Medal of Honor, the Robert H. Goddard Memorial Trophy, the Sylvanus Thayer Award, the Collier Trophy from the National Aeronautics Association, and the Congressional Gold Medal. The lunar crater Armstrong, 31 mi (50 km) from the Apollo 11 landing site, and asteroid 6469 Armstrong are named in his honor. Armstrong was also inducted into the Aerospace Walk of Honor and the United States Astronaut Hall of Fame. Armstrong and his Apollo 11 crewmates were the 1999 recipients of the Langley Gold Medal from the Smithsonian Institution. He was also awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President 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 and In a 2010 Space Foundation survey, Armstrong was ranked as the #1 most popular space hero
On November 18, 2010, at the age of eighty, Armstrong said in a speech during the Science & Technology Summit in The Hague, Netherlands, that he would offer his services as commander on a mission to Mars if he were asked, sadly though Neil Armstrong Tragically passed away On August 25, 2012, in Cincinnati, Ohio, at the age of 82 due to complications from blocked coronary arteries, but leaves an amazing legacy behind him.