The end of a space legend who explored the unknown fearlessly.
The US astronaut whose drive to explore the unknown saw him record the title of first man to set foot on the moon, has passed away.
Neil died at the age of 82 following complications from heart-bypass surgery he underwent earlier this month, his family said in a statement. “While we mourn the loss of a very good man, we also celebrate his remarkable life and hope that it serves as an example to young people around the world to work hard to make their dreams come true, to be willing to explore and push the limits, and to selflessly serve a cause greater than themselves,” his family said.
Born in Wapakoneta, Ohio, on August 5, 1930, Armstrong was interested in flying even as a young boy, earning his pilot’s license at age 16. In high school he excelled in science and mathematics and won a US Navy scholarship to Purdue University in Indiana, enrolling in 1947. He left after two years to become a Navy pilot, flying combat missions in the Korean War and winning three medals.
Armstrong made two trips into space, the first journey being in 1966 as commander of the Gemini 8 mission, which nearly ended in disaster, and the last one known as the Apollo 11. On June 20, 1969 as the commander of Apollo 11 Armstrong’s name went down in history books when he walked on the moon. Armstrong took four days to reach the moon and he was on the moon’s surface for two hours and 32 minutes. As he stepped onto the dusty surface, Armstrong uttered the words: “That’s one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.” Those words persist as one of his famous quotes.
Armstrong was 38 years old at the time of this milestone achievement. While the world raved about his act, he didn’t paint the town red in his accomplishment. He even seemed frustrated by the acclaim it brought. “I guess we all like to be recognised not for one piece of fireworks, but for the ledger of our daily work,” Armstrong said in an interview on CBS’s 60 Minutes programme in 2005.
The Apollo 11 moon mission turned out to be Armstrong’s last space flight. The next year he was appointed to a desk job, being named NASA’s deputy associate administrator for aeronautics in the office of advanced research and technology. Armstrong’s post-Nasa life was a very private one. He was the first of three children to Stephen and Viola Armstrong. He married his college sweetheart, Janet Shearon, in 1956 and later divorced. He married again in 1994 to Carol Knight.
Armstrong studied aeronautical engineering and earned degrees from Purdue University and University of Southern California. He served in the Navy, and flew 78 combat missions during the Korean War. Armstrong is survived by his two sons, a stepson and stepdaughter, 10 grandchildren, a brother and a sister.
Neil Armstrong, moon, space, astronaut, Apollo