Neil Armstrong
Overview
Neil Alden Armstrong (born August 5, 1930) is an American former astronaut
Astronaut
An astronaut or cosmonaut is a person trained by a human spaceflight program to command, pilot, or serve as a crew member of a spacecraft....

, test pilot
Test pilot
A test pilot is an aviator who flies new and modified aircraft in specific maneuvers, known as flight test techniques or FTTs, allowing the results to be measured and the design to be evaluated....

, aerospace engineer
Aerospace engineering
Aerospace engineering is the primary branch of engineering concerned with the design, construction and science of aircraft and spacecraft. It is divided into two major and overlapping branches: aeronautical engineering and astronautical engineering...

, university professor, United States Naval Aviator
United States Naval Aviator
A United States Naval Aviator is a qualified pilot in the United States Navy, Marine Corps or Coast Guard.-Naming Conventions:Most Naval Aviators are Unrestricted Line Officers; however, a small number of Limited Duty Officers and Chief Warrant Officers are also trained as Naval Aviators.Until 1981...

, and the first person to set foot upon the Moon
Moon
The Moon is Earth's only known natural satellite,There are a number of near-Earth asteroids including 3753 Cruithne that are co-orbital with Earth: their orbits bring them close to Earth for periods of time but then alter in the long term . These are quasi-satellites and not true moons. For more...

.

Before becoming an astronaut, Armstrong was in the United States Navy
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

 and served in the Korean War
Korean War
The Korean War was a conventional war between South Korea, supported by the United Nations, and North Korea, supported by the People's Republic of China , with military material aid from the Soviet Union...

. After the war, he served as a test pilot at the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics
National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics
The National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics was a U.S. federal agency founded on March 3, 1915 to undertake, promote, and institutionalize aeronautical research. On October 1, 1958 the agency was dissolved, and its assets and personnel transferred to the newly created National Aeronautics and...

 (NACA) High-Speed Flight Station, now known as the Dryden Flight Research Center
Dryden Flight Research Center
The Dryden Flight Research Center , located inside Edwards Air Force Base, is an aeronautical research center operated by NASA. On March 26, 1976 it was named in honor of the late Hugh L. Dryden, a prominent aeronautical engineer who at the time of his death in 1965 was NASA's deputy administrator...

, where he flew over 900 flights in a variety of aircraft.
Discussions
Quotations

I think we're going to the moon because it's in the nature of the human being to face challenges. It's by the nature of his deep inner soul ... we're required to do these things just as salmon swim upstream.

Apollo mission press conference, quoted in Of a Fire on the Moon (1970) by Norman Mailer, and in First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong (2005) by James R. Hansen

Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed.

First words from the Apollo 11|Apollo 11 Lunar Landing Module Eagle after guiding the craft to a landing on the moon. It is estimated that there was 11 seconds' worth of fuel left at touchdown. (20 July|20 July 1969|1969)

Encyclopedia
Neil Alden Armstrong (born August 5, 1930) is an American former astronaut
Astronaut
An astronaut or cosmonaut is a person trained by a human spaceflight program to command, pilot, or serve as a crew member of a spacecraft....

, test pilot
Test pilot
A test pilot is an aviator who flies new and modified aircraft in specific maneuvers, known as flight test techniques or FTTs, allowing the results to be measured and the design to be evaluated....

, aerospace engineer
Aerospace engineering
Aerospace engineering is the primary branch of engineering concerned with the design, construction and science of aircraft and spacecraft. It is divided into two major and overlapping branches: aeronautical engineering and astronautical engineering...

, university professor, United States Naval Aviator
United States Naval Aviator
A United States Naval Aviator is a qualified pilot in the United States Navy, Marine Corps or Coast Guard.-Naming Conventions:Most Naval Aviators are Unrestricted Line Officers; however, a small number of Limited Duty Officers and Chief Warrant Officers are also trained as Naval Aviators.Until 1981...

, and the first person to set foot upon the Moon
Moon
The Moon is Earth's only known natural satellite,There are a number of near-Earth asteroids including 3753 Cruithne that are co-orbital with Earth: their orbits bring them close to Earth for periods of time but then alter in the long term . These are quasi-satellites and not true moons. For more...

.

Before becoming an astronaut, Armstrong was in the United States Navy
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

 and served in the Korean War
Korean War
The Korean War was a conventional war between South Korea, supported by the United Nations, and North Korea, supported by the People's Republic of China , with military material aid from the Soviet Union...

. After the war, he served as a test pilot at the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics
National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics
The National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics was a U.S. federal agency founded on March 3, 1915 to undertake, promote, and institutionalize aeronautical research. On October 1, 1958 the agency was dissolved, and its assets and personnel transferred to the newly created National Aeronautics and...

 (NACA) High-Speed Flight Station, now known as the Dryden Flight Research Center
Dryden Flight Research Center
The Dryden Flight Research Center , located inside Edwards Air Force Base, is an aeronautical research center operated by NASA. On March 26, 1976 it was named in honor of the late Hugh L. Dryden, a prominent aeronautical engineer who at the time of his death in 1965 was NASA's deputy administrator...

, 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
Lockheed Corporation
The Lockheed Corporation was an American aerospace company. Lockheed was founded in 1912 and later merged with Martin Marietta to form Lockheed Martin in 1995.-Origins:...

 F-104A Starfighter. He also flew the Bell X-1
Bell X-1
The Bell X-1, originally designated XS-1, was a joint NACA-U.S. Army/US Air Force supersonic research project built by Bell Aircraft. Conceived in 1944 and designed and built over 1945, it eventually reached nearly 1,000 mph in 1948...

B, Bell X-5
Bell X-5
-See also:-Bibliography:* Hallion, Richard P. On The Frontier: Flight Research At Dryden 1946-1981 . Washington, DC: National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 1984 . ISBN 1-58834-134-8....

, North American X-15
North American X-15
The North American X-15 rocket-powered aircraft/spaceplane was part of the X-series of experimental aircraft, initiated with the Bell X-1, that were made for the USAAF/USAF, NACA/NASA, and the USN. The X-15 set speed and altitude records in the early 1960s, reaching the edge of outer space and...

, F-105 Thunderchief, F-106 Delta Dart, B-47 Stratojet, KC-135 Stratotanker, and one of eight elite pilots paraglider research vehicle program (Paresev). He graduated from Purdue University
Purdue University
Purdue University, located in West Lafayette, Indiana, U.S., is the flagship university of the six-campus Purdue University system. Purdue was founded on May 6, 1869, as a land-grant university when the Indiana General Assembly, taking advantage of the Morrill Act, accepted a donation of land and...

 and the University of Southern California
University of Southern California
The University of Southern California is a private, not-for-profit, nonsectarian, research university located in Los Angeles, California, United States. USC was founded in 1880, making it California's oldest private research university...

.

A participant in the U.S. Air Force's Man In Space Soonest
Man In Space Soonest
Man In Space Soonest was a United States Air Force program to put a man into outer space before the Soviet Union did. The program was cancelled on August 1, 1958, and was replaced by NASA's Project Mercury. Only two men from the program would actually reach outer space. The first, Joseph A....

 and X-20 Dyna-Soar
X-20 Dyna-Soar
The X-20 Dyna-Soar was a United States Air Force program to develop a spaceplane that could be used for a variety of military missions, including reconnaissance, bombing, space rescue, satellite maintenance, and sabotage of enemy satellites...

 human spaceflight
Human spaceflight
Human spaceflight is spaceflight with humans on the spacecraft. When a spacecraft is manned, it can be piloted directly, as opposed to machine or robotic space probes and remotely-controlled satellites....

 programs, Armstrong joined the NASA Astronaut Corps
NASA Astronaut Corps
The NASA Astronaut Corps is a unit of the United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration that selects, trains, and provides astronauts as crew members for U.S. and international space missions.-History:...

 in 1962. His first spaceflight was the NASA Gemini 8
Gemini 8
-Backup crew:-Mission parameters:* Mass: * Perigee: * Apogee: * Inclination: 28.91°* Period: 88.83 min-Objectives:Gemini VIII had two major objectives, of which it achieved one...

 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
Spacecraft
A spacecraft or spaceship is a craft or machine designed for spaceflight. Spacecraft are used for a variety of purposes, including communications, earth observation, meteorology, navigation, planetary exploration and transportation of humans and cargo....

 with pilot David Scott
David Scott
David Randolph Scott is an American engineer, test pilot, retired U.S. Air Force officer, and former NASA astronaut and engineer, who was one of the third group of astronauts selected by NASA in October 1963...

. Armstrong's second and last spaceflight was as mission commander of the Apollo 11
Apollo 11
In early 1969, Bill Anders accepted a job with the National Space Council effective in August 1969 and announced his retirement as an astronaut. At that point Ken Mattingly was moved from the support crew into parallel training with Anders as backup Command Module Pilot in case Apollo 11 was...

 moon landing
Moon landing
A moon landing is the arrival of a spacecraft on the surface of the Moon. This includes both manned and unmanned missions. The first human-made object to reach the surface of the Moon was the Soviet Union's Luna 2 mission on 13 September 1959. The United States's Apollo 11 was the first manned...

 mission on July 20, 1969. On this mission, Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin
Buzz Aldrin
Buzz Aldrin is an American mechanical engineer, retired United States Air Force pilot and astronaut who was the Lunar Module pilot on Apollo 11, the first manned lunar landing in history...

 descended to the lunar surface and spent 2½ hours exploring while Michael Collins
Michael Collins (astronaut)
Michael Collins is a former American astronaut and test pilot. Selected as part of the third group of fourteen astronauts in 1963, he flew in space twice. His first spaceflight was Gemini 10, in which he and command pilot John Young performed two rendezvous with different spacecraft and Collins...

 remained in orbit in the Command Module. Armstrong was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom
Presidential Medal of Freedom
The Presidential Medal of Freedom is an award bestowed by the President of the United States and is—along with thecomparable Congressional Gold Medal bestowed by an act of U.S. Congress—the highest civilian award in the United States...

 by Richard Nixon
Richard Nixon
Richard Milhous Nixon was the 37th President of the United States, serving from 1969 to 1974. The only president to resign the office, Nixon had previously served as a US representative and senator from California and as the 36th Vice President of the United States from 1953 to 1961 under...

 along with Collins and Aldrin, the Congressional Space Medal of Honor
Congressional Space Medal of Honor
The Congressional Space Medal of Honor was authorized by the United States Congress in 1969 to recognize "any astronaut who in the performance of his duties has distinguished himself by exceptionally meritorious efforts and contributions to the welfare of the Nation and mankind." The highest award...

 by President Jimmy Carter
Jimmy Carter
James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, Jr. is an American politician who served as the 39th President of the United States and was the recipient of the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize, the only U.S. President to have received the Prize after leaving office...

 in 1978, and the Congressional Gold Medal in 2009.

Early years

Neil Armstrong was born in Wapakoneta
Wapakoneta, Ohio
Wapakoneta is a city in and the county seat of Auglaize County, Ohio, United States with a population of 9,474 as of the 2000 U.S. census. It is the principal city of and is included in the Wapakoneta, Ohio Micropolitan S A, which is included in the Lima-Van Wert-Wapakoneta, Ohio CSA...

, Ohio
Ohio
Ohio is a Midwestern state in the United States. The 34th largest state by area in the U.S.,it is the 7th‑most populous with over 11.5 million residents, containing several major American cities and seven metropolitan areas with populations of 500,000 or more.The state's capital is Columbus...

, to Stephen Koenig Armstrong and Viola Louise Engel. He is of Scots-Irish and German descent, and had two younger siblings, June and Dean. Stephen Armstrong worked 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 in him during this time, and got off to an early start when his father took 2-year-old Neil with him 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 on a Ford Trimotor
Ford Trimotor
The Ford Trimotor was an American three-engined transport plane that was first produced in 1925 by the companies of Henry Ford and that continued to be produced until June 7, 1933. Throughout its time in production, a total of 199 Ford Trimotors were produced...

 (aka the "Tin Goose"). His father's last forced move was to Wapakoneta (Auglaize County) in 1944, where Neil attended Blume High School. Neil immediately began taking flying lessons at the county airport, and was just 15 when he finally earned his flight certificate, before he yet had a driver's license.
Armstrong was active in the Boy Scouts
Scouting in Ohio
Scouting in Ohio has a long history, from the 1910s to the present day, serving thousands of youth in programs that suit the environment in which they live.-Recent history :...

 and he eventually earned the rank of Eagle Scout
Eagle Scout (Boy Scouts of America)
Eagle Scout is the highest rank attainable in the Boy Scouting program of the Boy Scouts of America . A Scout who attains this rank is called an Eagle Scout or Eagle. Since its introduction in 1911, the Eagle Scout rank has been earned by more than 2 million young men...

; as an adult, he was recognized by the Boy Scouts of America
Boy Scouts of America
The Boy Scouts of America is one of the largest youth organizations in the United States, with over 4.5 million youth members in its age-related divisions...

 with their Distinguished Eagle Scout Award
Distinguished Eagle Scout Award
The Distinguished Eagle Scout Award is a distinguished service award of the Boy Scouts of America . It is awarded to an Eagle Scout for distinguished service in his profession and to his community for a period of at least 25 years after attaining the level of Eagle Scout...

 and Silver Buffalo Award
Silver Buffalo Award
The Silver Buffalo Award is the national-level distinguished service award of the Boy Scouts of America. It is presented for noteworthy and extraordinary service to youth on a national basis, either as part of, or independent of the Scouting program...

. 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. Certainly appreciate that."

In 1947, Armstrong began studying aerospace engineering at Purdue University, where he was a member of Phi Delta Theta
Phi Delta Theta
Phi Delta Theta , also known as Phi Delt, is an international fraternity founded at Miami University in 1848 and headquartered in Oxford, Ohio. Phi Delta Theta, Beta Theta Pi, and Sigma Chi form the Miami Triad. The fraternity has about 169 active chapters and colonies in over 43 U.S...

 and Kappa Kappa Psi
Kappa Kappa Psi
Kappa Kappa Psi is a fraternity for college and university band members. It was founded on November 27, 1919 at Oklahoma Agricultural and Mechanical College in Stillwater, Oklahoma. William Scroggs, now regarded as the "Founder," together with "Mr. Kappa Kappa Psi" A...

. He was only the second person in his family to attend college, and was also accepted to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is a private research university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. MIT has five schools and one college, containing a total of 32 academic departments, with a strong emphasis on scientific and technological education and research.Founded in 1861 in...

 (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
Cambridge, Massachusetts
Cambridge is a city in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States, in the Greater Boston area. It was named in honor of the University of Cambridge in England, an important center of the Puritan theology embraced by the town's founders. Cambridge is home to two of the world's most prominent...

, 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
Grade (education)
Grades are standardized measurements of varying levels of comprehension within a subject area. Grades can be assigned in letters , as a range , as a number out of a possible total , as descriptors , in percentages, or, as is common in some post-secondary...

 that rose and fell over the eight semesters. He was awarded a Bachelor of Science
Bachelor of Science
A Bachelor of Science is an undergraduate academic degree awarded for completed courses that generally last three to five years .-Australia:In Australia, the BSc is a 3 year degree, offered from 1st year on...

 degree in aeronautical engineering from Purdue University in 1955, and, from the University of Southern California
University of Southern California
The University of Southern California is a private, not-for-profit, nonsectarian, research university located in Los Angeles, California, United States. USC was founded in 1880, making it California's oldest private research university...

 in 1970, a Master of Science degree in aerospace engineering. Armstrong holds honorary doctorates from a number of universities.

Navy service

Armstrong's call-up from the Navy arrived on January 26, 1949, which required him to report to Naval Air Station Pensacola
Naval Air Station Pensacola
Naval Air Station Pensacola or NAS Pensacola , "The Cradle of Naval Aviation", is a United States Navy base located next to Warrington, Florida, a community southwest of the Pensacola city limits...

 for flight training. This lasted almost 18 months, during which he qualified for carrier
Aircraft carrier
An aircraft carrier is a warship designed with a primary mission of deploying and recovering aircraft, acting as a seagoing airbase. Aircraft carriers thus allow a naval force to project air power worldwide without having to depend on local bases for staging aircraft operations...

 landing aboard the USS Cabot
USS Cabot (CVL-28)
USS Cabot was an in the United States Navy, the second ship to carry the name. Cabot was commissioned in 1943 and served until 1947. She was recommissioned as a training carrier from 1948 to 1955. From 1967 to 1989, she served in Spain as '...

 and USS Wright
USS Wright (CVL-49)
The USS Wright was a Saipan-class light aircraft carrier of the United States Navy, later converted to the command ship CC-2. It is the second ship named "Wright"...

. On August 16, 1950, 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
Naval Air Station North Island
Naval Air Station North Island or NAS North Island is located at the north end of the Coronado peninsula on San Diego Bay and is the home port of several aircraft carriers of the United States Navy...

 (now known as NAS North Island). Two months later he was assigned to Fighter Squadron 51
VF-51
VF-51, Fighter Squadron 51 was an aviation unit of the United States Navy known as the "Screaming Eagles". The squadron established in 1943 and retired and its personnel reassigned in 1995.- History :...

 (VF-51), an all-jet squadron, and made his first flight in a jet, an F9F-2B Panther
F9F Panther
|-Popular culture:The Panther played a prominent role in the 1954 movie Men of the Fighting Lady . The F9F was featured in the flying sequences in the 1954 movie The Bridges at Toko-Ri, although in the 1953 James A...

, on January 5, 1951. In June, he made his first jet carrier landing on the USS Essex
USS Essex (CV-9)
USS Essex was an aircraft carrier, the lead ship of the 24-ship built for the United States Navy during World War II. She was the fourth US Navy ship to bear the name. Commissioned in December 1942, Essex participated in several campaigns in the Pacific Theater of Operations, earning the...

 and was promoted the same week from midshipman
Midshipman
A midshipman is an officer cadet, or a commissioned officer of the lowest rank, in the Royal Navy, United States Navy, and many Commonwealth navies. Commonwealth countries which use the rank include Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, India, Pakistan, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Kenya...

 to ensign
Ensign (rank)
Ensign is a junior rank of a commissioned officer in the armed forces of some countries, normally in the infantry or navy. As the junior officer in an infantry regiment was traditionally the carrier of the ensign flag, the rank itself acquired the name....

. 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
Reconnaissance
Reconnaissance is the military term for exploring beyond the area occupied by friendly forces to gain information about enemy forces or features of the environment....

 plane over Songjin
Kimchaek
Kimch'aek, formerly Sŏngjin , is a city in North Hamgyong Province, North Korea. It has a population of 196,000...

. On September 3, 1951, Armstrong flew armed reconnaissance over the primary transportation and storage facilities south of the village of Majon-ni, west of Wonsan
Wonsan
Wŏnsan is a port city and naval base in southeastern North Korea. It is the capital of Kangwŏn Province. The population of the city is estimated to have been 331,000 in 2000. Notable people from Wŏnsan include Kim Ki Nam, diplomat and Secretary of the Workers' Party.- History :The original name of...

; while he was making a low bombing run at about 350 mph (560 km/h), Armstrong's F9F Panther was hit by anti-aircraft fire. While trying to regain control, Armstrong collided with a pole at a height of about 20 feet (6.1 m), which sliced off an estimated three feet of the Panther's right wing. Armstrong was able to fly the plane back to friendly territory, but due to the loss of the aileron
Aileron
Ailerons are hinged flight control surfaces attached to the trailing edge of the wing of a fixed-wing aircraft. The ailerons are used to control the aircraft in roll, which results in a change in heading due to the tilting of the lift vector...

, ejection was his only safe option. He planned to eject over water and await rescue by navy helicopters, and therefore flew to an airfield near Pohang
Pohang
Pohang is a city in North Gyeongsang Province, South Korea, and a main seaport in the Daegu-Gyeongbuk region. The built-up area of Pohang is located on the alluvium of the mouth of the Hyeongsan River...

 but instead of achieving the desired rescue from the water, his ejection seat was blown back over land. A jeep driven by a room-mate from flight school picked Armstrong up; it is unknown what happened to the wreckage of No. 125122 F9F-2.

Armstrong flew 78 missions over Korea for a total of 121 hours in the air, most of which were in January 1952. He received the Air Medal
Air Medal
The Air Medal is a military decoration of the United States. The award was created in 1942, and is awarded for meritorious achievement while participating in aerial flight.-Criteria:...

 for 20 combat missions, a Gold Star
Award star
An award star is a decoration issued to personnel of the United States Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard in lieu of multiple awards of the same award. An award star is very similar to an oak leaf cluster, which serves the same purpose in the United States Army and United States Air Force...

 for the next 20, and the Korean Service Medal
Korean Service Medal
The Korean Service Medal is an award of the United States military and was created in November 1950 by executive order of President Harry Truman. The Korean Service Medal is the primary United States medal for participation in the Korean War and is awarded to any U.S. service member, who...

 and Engagement Star. Armstrong left the navy at the age of 22 on August 23, 1952, and became a Lieutenant, Junior Grade
Lieutenant, Junior Grade
Lieutenant is a junior commissioned officer rank in the United States Navy, the United States Coast Guard, the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, United States Merchant Marine USMM, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Corps, with the pay grade...

 in the United States Naval Reserve
United States Navy Reserve
The United States Navy Reserve, until 2005 known as the United States Naval Reserve, is the Reserve Component of the United States Navy...

. He resigned his commission in the Naval Reserve on October 21, 1960.

College years

After his service with the Navy, Armstrong returned to Purdue, where his best grades came in the four semesters following his return from Korea
Korea
Korea ) is an East Asian geographic region that is currently divided into two separate sovereign states — North Korea and South Korea. Located on the Korean Peninsula, Korea is bordered by the People's Republic of China to the northwest, Russia to the northeast, and is separated from Japan to the...

. His final GPA was 4.8 out of 6.0. He pledged the Phi Delta Theta
Phi Delta Theta
Phi Delta Theta , also known as Phi Delt, is an international fraternity founded at Miami University in 1848 and headquartered in Oxford, Ohio. Phi Delta Theta, Beta Theta Pi, and Sigma Chi form the Miami Triad. The fraternity has about 169 active chapters and colonies in over 43 U.S...

 fraternity after his return, where he wrote and co-directed their musical as part of the all-student revue, was also a member of Kappa Kappa Psi
Kappa Kappa Psi
Kappa Kappa Psi is a fraternity for college and university band members. It was founded on November 27, 1919 at Oklahoma Agricultural and Mechanical College in Stillwater, Oklahoma. William Scroggs, now regarded as the "Founder," together with "Mr. Kappa Kappa Psi" A...

 National Honorary Band Fraternity, and a baritone player in the Purdue All-American Marching Band
Purdue All-American Marching Band
The Purdue "All-American" Marching Band is the marching band of Purdue University. The Purdue "All-American" Marching Band is the primary source of auxiliary entertainment for Purdue University football games...

. Armstrong graduated with a bachelor's degree in aeronautical engineering in 1955.

While at Purdue, he met Janet Elizabeth Shearon, who was majoring in home economics
Family and consumer science
Family and consumer sciences is an academic discipline that combines aspects of social and natural science. Family and consumer sciences deals with the relationship between individuals, families, and communities, and the environment in which they live...

. According to the two there was no real courtship, and neither can remember the exact circumstances of their engagement, except that it occurred while Armstrong was working at the NACA's Lewis Flight Propulsion Laboratory
Glenn Research Center
NASA John H. Glenn Research Center at Lewis Field is a NASA center, located within the cities of Brook Park, Cleveland and Fairview Park, Ohio between Cleveland Hopkins International Airport and the Cleveland Metroparks's Rocky River Reservation, and has other subsidiary facilities in Ohio...

. They were married on January 28, 1956 at the Congregational Church in Wilmette, Illinois
Wilmette, Illinois
Wilmette is a village in New Trier Township, Cook County, Illinois, United States. It is located north of Chicago's downtown district and has a population of 27,651. Wilmette is considered a bedroom community in the North Shore district...

. When he moved to Edwards Air Force Base
Edwards Air Force Base
Edwards Air Force Base is a United States Air Force base located on the border of Kern County, Los Angeles County, and San Bernardino County, California, in the Antelope Valley. It is southwest of the central business district of North Edwards, California and due east of Rosamond.It is named in...

, he lived in the bachelor quarters of the base, while Janet lived in the Westwood
Westwood, Los Angeles, California
Westwood is a neighborhood on the Westside of Los Angeles, California, United States. It is the home of the University of California, Los Angeles .-History:...

 district of Los Angeles
Los Angeles, California
Los Angeles , with a population at the 2010 United States Census of 3,792,621, is the most populous city in California, USA and the second most populous in the United States, after New York City. It has an area of , and is located in Southern California...

. After one semester, they moved into a house in Antelope Valley
Antelope Valley
The Antelope Valley in California, United States, is located in northern Los Angeles County and the southeastern portion of Kern County, California, and constitutes the western tip of the Mojave Desert...

. Janet never finished her degree, a fact she regretted later in life.

The couple had three children together – Eric, Karen, and Mark. In June 1961, Karen was diagnosed with a malignant
Malignant
Malignancy is the tendency of a medical condition, especially tumors, to become progressively worse and to potentially result in death. Malignancy in cancers is characterized by anaplasia, invasiveness, and metastasis...

 tumor
Tumor
A tumor or tumour is commonly used as a synonym for a neoplasm that appears enlarged in size. Tumor is not synonymous with cancer...

 of the middle part of her brain stem
Brain stem
In vertebrate anatomy the brainstem is the posterior part of the brain, adjoining and structurally continuous with the spinal cord. The brain stem provides the main motor and sensory innervation to the face and neck via the cranial nerves...

; X-ray treatment slowed its growth but her health deteriorated to the point where she could no longer walk or talk. Karen died of pneumonia
Pneumonia
Pneumonia is an inflammatory condition of the lung—especially affecting the microscopic air sacs —associated with fever, chest symptoms, and a lack of air space on a chest X-ray. Pneumonia is typically caused by an infection but there are a number of other causes...

, related to her weakened health, on January 28, 1962.

Test pilot

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; although they had no open positions they did forward his application to the Lewis Flight Propulsion Laboratory
Glenn Research Center
NASA John H. Glenn Research Center at Lewis Field is a NASA center, located within the cities of Brook Park, Cleveland and Fairview Park, Ohio between Cleveland Hopkins International Airport and the Cleveland Metroparks's Rocky River Reservation, and has other subsidiary facilities in Ohio...

 in Cleveland, Ohio
Cleveland, Ohio
Cleveland is a city in the U.S. state of Ohio and is the county seat of Cuyahoga County, the most populous county in the state. The city is located in northeastern Ohio on the southern shore of Lake Erie, approximately west of the Pennsylvania border...

, where Armstrong began working at Lewis Field in March 1955. Armstrong's stint at Cleveland lasted a couple of months, and by July 1955, he had returned to Edwards AFB for his new job.

On his first day at Edwards, Armstrong was tasked his first assignments, which was to pilot chase plane
Chase plane
A chase plane is an aircraft that "chases" another aircraft, a spacecraft or a rocket during flight. Safety can be one function of a chase plane; others are to photo or video the target vehicle, or to collect engineering data from it...

s during releases of experimental aircraft from modified bombers. He also flew the modified bombers, and on one of these missions had his first flight incident at Edwards. Armstrong was in the right-hand seat of a B-29 Superfortress
B-29 Superfortress
The B-29 Superfortress is a four-engine propeller-driven heavy bomber designed by Boeing that was flown primarily by the United States Air Forces in late-World War II and through the Korean War. The B-29 was one of the largest aircraft to see service during World War II...

 on March 22, 1956, which was to air-drop a Douglas Skyrocket D-558-2
Douglas Skyrocket
The Douglas D-558-2 Skyrocket was a rocket and jet-powered supersonic research aircraft built by the Douglas Aircraft Company for the United States Navy...

. Armstrong sat the right-hand seat pilot while the left-hand seat commander, Stan Butchart, flew the B-29.

As they ascended to 30,000 ft (9 km), the number four engine stopped and the propeller
Propeller (aircraft)
Aircraft propellers or airscrews convert rotary motion from piston engines or turboprops to provide propulsive force. They may be fixed or variable pitch. Early aircraft propellers were carved by hand from solid or laminated wood with later propellers being constructed from metal...

 began windmilling (rotating freely) in the airstream. Hitting the switch that would stop the propeller spinning, Butchart found the propeller slowed but then started spinning again, this time even faster than the other engines; if it spun too fast, it would break apart. Their aircraft needed to hold an airspeed of 210 mph (338 km/h) to launch its Skyrocket payload, and the B-29 could not land with the Skyrocket still attached to its belly. Armstrong and Butchart brought the aircraft into a nose-down alignment to increase speed, then launched the Skyrocket. At the very instant of launch, the number four engine propeller disintegrated. Pieces of it careened through part of the number three engine and hit the number two engine. Butchart and Armstrong were forced to shut down the number three engine, due to damage, and the number one engine, due to the torque
Torque
Torque, moment or moment of force , is the tendency of a force to rotate an object about an axis, fulcrum, or pivot. Just as a force is a push or a pull, a torque can be thought of as a twist....

 it created. They made a slow, circling descent from 30000 ft (9,144 m) using only the number two engine, and landed safely.

Armstrong's first flight in a rocket plane was on August 15, 1957, in the Bell X-1
Bell X-1
The Bell X-1, originally designated XS-1, was a joint NACA-U.S. Army/US Air Force supersonic research project built by Bell Aircraft. Conceived in 1944 and designed and built over 1945, it eventually reached nearly 1,000 mph in 1948...

B, to an altitude of 11.4 miles (18.3 km). The nose landing gear
Undercarriage
The undercarriage or landing gear in aviation, is the structure that supports an aircraft on the ground and allows it to taxi, takeoff and land...

 broke on landing, which had happened on about a dozen previous flights of the Bell X-1B due to the aircraft's design. He later flew the North American X-15
North American X-15
The North American X-15 rocket-powered aircraft/spaceplane was part of the X-series of experimental aircraft, initiated with the Bell X-1, that were made for the USAAF/USAF, NACA/NASA, and the USN. The X-15 set speed and altitude records in the early 1960s, reaching the edge of outer space and...

; Armstrong would fly the aircraft seven times before September 1962, and during his penultimate X-15 flight, he reached an altitude of 207500 feet (63.2 km).

Armstrong was involved in several incidents that went down in Edwards folklore and/or were chronicled in the memoirs of colleagues. The first was an X-15 flight on April 20, 1962, when Armstrong tested a self-adjusting control system. He flew to a height of 207,000 ft (63 km), (the highest he flew before Gemini 8), but he held the aircraft nose up too long during descent, and the X-15 bounced off the atmosphere back up to 140,000 ft (43 km). At that altitude, the atmosphere is so thin that aerodynamic surfaces have almost no effect. He flew past the landing field at Mach 3 (2,000 mph, or 3,200 km/h), over 100,000 ft (30.5 km) altitude, and ended up 40 miles (64 km) south of Edwards (legend has it that he flew as far as the Rose Bowl
Rose Bowl (stadium)
The Rose Bowl is an outdoor athletic stadium in Pasadena, California, U.S., in Los Angeles County. The stadium is the site of the annual college football bowl game, the Rose Bowl, held on New Year's Day. In 1982, it became the home field of the UCLA Bruins college football team of the Pac-12...

). After sufficient descent, he turned back toward the landing area, and barely managed to land without striking Joshua trees at the south end. It was the longest X-15 flight in both time and distance of the ground track.

Four days later, Armstrong was involved in a second incident, when he flew for the only time with Chuck Yeager
Chuck Yeager
Charles Elwood "Chuck" Yeager is a retired major general in the United States Air Force and noted test pilot. He was the first pilot to travel faster than sound...

. Their job, flying a T-33 Shooting Star
T-33 Shooting Star
The Lockheed T-33 Shooting Star is an American-built jet trainer aircraft. It was produced by Lockheed and made its first flight in 1948, piloted by Tony LeVier. The T-33 was developed from the Lockheed P-80/F-80 starting as TP-80C/TF-80C in development, then designated T-33A. It was used by the...

, was to test out Smith Ranch Dry Lake for use as an emergency landing site for the X-15. In his autobiography, Yeager wrote that he knew the lake bed was unsuitable for landings after recent rains, but Armstrong insisted on flying out anyway. As they attempted a touch-and-go, the wheels became stuck and they had to wait for rescue. Armstrong tells a different version of events, where Yeager never tried to talk him out of it and they made a first successful landing on the east side of the lake. Then Yeager told him to try again, this time a bit slower. On the second landing they became stuck and according to Armstrong, Yeager was in fits of laughter.

Many of the test pilots at Edwards praised Armstrong's engineering ability. Milt Thompson said he was "the most technically capable of the early X-15 pilots." Bill Dana said Armstrong "had a mind that absorbed things like a sponge." Those who flew for the Air Force
United States Air Force
The United States Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the American uniformed services. Initially part of the United States Army, the USAF was formed as a separate branch of the military on September 18, 1947 under the National Security Act of...

 tended to have a different opinion, especially people like Chuck Yeager and Pete Knight
William J. Knight
William J. "Pete" Knight was a U.S. politician, combat pilot, test pilot, and astronaut. Knight holds the world's speed record for flight in a winged, powered aircraft...

 who did not have engineering degrees. Knight said that pilot-engineers flew in a way that was "more mechanical than it is flying," and gave this as the reason why some pilot-engineers got into trouble: their flying skills did not come naturally.

On May 21, 1962, Armstrong was involved in what Edwards' folklore called the "Nellis Affair". He was sent in an F-104 Starfighter
F-104 Starfighter
The Lockheed F-104 Starfighter is a single-engine, high-performance, supersonic interceptor aircraft originally developed for the United States Air Force by Lockheed. One of the Century Series of aircraft, it served with the USAF from 1958 until 1969, and continued with Air National Guard units...

 to inspect Delamar Lake, again for emergency landings. He misjudged his altitude, and also did not realize that the landing gear had not fully extended. As he touched down, the landing gear began to retract. Armstrong applied full power to abort the landing, but the ventral fin and landing gear door struck the ground, which damaged the radio and released hydraulic fluid
Hydraulic fluid
Hydraulic fluids, also called hydraulic liquids, are the medium by which power is transferred in hydraulic machinery. Common hydraulic fluids are based on mineral oil or water...

. Without radio communication, Armstrong flew to Nellis Air Force Base
Nellis Air Force Base
Nellis Air Force Base is a United States Air Force Base, located approximately northeast of Las Vegas, Nevada. It is under the jurisdiction of Air Combat Command .-Overview:...

, past the control tower, and waggled his wings, the signal for a no-radio approach. The loss of hydraulic fluid caused the tail-hook to release, and upon landing he caught the arresting wire attached to an anchor chain, and careened along the runway dragging the chain. It took thirty minutes to clear the runway and rig an arresting cable. Armstrong telephoned Edwards and asked for someone to collect him; Milt Thompson was sent in an F-104B, the only two-seater available, but a plane Thompson had never flown. With great difficulty, Thompson made it to Nellis, but a strong crosswind caused a hard landing and the left main tire suffered a blowout. The runway was again closed to clear it, and Bill Dana
William H. Dana
-Career:Dana was born in Pasadena, California, November 3, 1930, received his Bachelor of Science degree from the U.S. Military Academy in 1952 and served four years as a pilot in the U.S. Air Force...

 was sent to Nellis in a T-33 Shooting Star, but he almost landed long — and the Nellis base operations office decided that it would be best to find the three NASA pilots ground transport back to Edwards, to avoid any further problems.

Armstrong made seven flights in the X-15. He reached a top altitude of 207,500 ft (63.2 km) in the X-15-3, and a top speed of Mach 5.74 (4,000 mph or 6,615 km/h) in the X-15-1; he left the Dryden Flight Research Center with a total of 2,400 flying hours. Over his career, he has flown more than 200 different models of aircraft.

Astronaut career

There was no defining moment in Armstrong's decision to become an astronaut. In 1958, he was selected for the U.S. Air Force's Man In Space Soonest
Man In Space Soonest
Man In Space Soonest was a United States Air Force program to put a man into outer space before the Soviet Union did. The program was cancelled on August 1, 1958, and was replaced by NASA's Project Mercury. Only two men from the program would actually reach outer space. The first, Joseph A....

 program. In November 1960 Armstrong was chosen as part of the pilot consultant group for the X-20 Dyna-Soar
X-20 Dyna-Soar
The X-20 Dyna-Soar was a United States Air Force program to develop a spaceplane that could be used for a variety of military missions, including reconnaissance, bombing, space rescue, satellite maintenance, and sabotage of enemy satellites...

, a military space plane, and on March 15, 1962 he was named as one of six pilot-engineers who would fly the space plane when it got off the design board.

In the months after the announcement that applications were being sought for the second group of NASA astronauts, he became more and more excited about the prospects both of the Apollo program and of investigating a new aeronautical environment. Armstrong's astronaut application had arrived about a week past the June 1, 1962 deadline, but Dick Day, with whom Armstrong had worked closely with at Edwards, worked at the Manned Spacecraft Center, saw the late arrival of the application, and slipped it into the pile before anyone noticed. At Brooks City-Base
Brooks City-Base
Brooks City-Base was a United States Air Force facility located in San Antonio, Texas, southeast of Downtown San Antonio.In 2002 Brooks Air Force Base was renamed Brooks City-Base when the property was conveyed to the Brooks Development Authority as part of a unique project between local, state,...

 at the end of June he underwent a medical exam that many of the applicants described as painful and at times seemingly pointless.

Deke Slayton
Deke Slayton
Donald Kent Slayton , better known as Deke Slayton, was an American World War II pilot and later, one of the original NASA Mercury Seven astronauts....

 called Armstrong on September 13, 1962 and asked if he was interested in joining the NASA Astronaut Corps as part of what the press dubbed "the New Nine
Astronaut Group 2
NASA's Astronaut Group 2, also known as The New Nine, was the second group of astronauts selected by NASA in September 1962. The group was required to augment the original Mercury 7 with the announcement of the Gemini program and leading to the Apollo program...

"; without hesitation, Armstrong said yes. The selections were kept secret until three days later, although newspaper reports had been circulating since the middle of summer that year that he would be selected as the "first civilian astronaut". Armstrong was one of two civilian pilots selected for the second group, the other being Elliott See
Elliott See
Elliot McKay See, Jr. , was an American astronaut, selected in the second group of astronauts.Elliot See was born in Dallas, Texas and attended Highland Park High School. After initially attending The University of Texas where he was a member of Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity, he then attended the United...

 who, like Armstrong, was a naval aviator
Naval Aviator
A United States Naval Aviator is a qualified pilot in the United States Navy, Marine Corps or Coast Guard.-Naming Conventions:Most Naval Aviators are Unrestricted Line Officers; however, a small number of Limited Duty Officers and Chief Warrant Officers are also trained as Naval Aviators.Until 1981...

. Armstrong did not become the first civilian to fly in space, as the Russians had launched Vostok 6
Vostok 6
-Backup crew:-Reserve crew:Vostok VI-Mission parameters:*Mass: *Apogee: *Perigee: *Inclination: 64.9°*Period: 87.8 minutes9090...

 on June 16, 1963 with Valentina Tereshkova
Valentina Tereshkova
Valentina Vladimirovna Tereshkova is a retired Soviet cosmonaut, and was the first woman in space. She was selected out of more than four hundred applicants, and then out of five finalists, to pilot Vostok 6 on the 16 June, 1963, becoming both the first woman and the first civilian to fly in...

, a textile worker and amateur parachutist, aboard.

Gemini 8

The crew assignments for Gemini 8 were announced on September 20, 1965, with Armstrong as Command Pilot and David Scott as Pilot. Scott was the first member of the third group of astronauts to receive a prime crew assignment. The mission launched on March 16, 1966; it was to be the most complex yet, with a rendezvous and docking with the unmanned Agena target vehicle
Agena Target Vehicle
The Agena Target Vehicle was an unmanned spacecraft used by NASA during its Gemini program to develop and practice orbital space rendezvous and docking techniques and to perform large orbital changes, in preparation for the Apollo program lunar missions.-Operations:Each ATV consisted of an Agena-D...

, the second American extra-vehicular activity
Extra-vehicular activity
Extra-vehicular activity is work done by an astronaut away from the Earth, and outside of a spacecraft. The term most commonly applies to an EVA made outside a craft orbiting Earth , but also applies to an EVA made on the surface of the Moon...

 by Scott. In total the mission was planned to last 75 hours and 55 orbits. After the Agena lifted off at 10 am EST
Eastern Time Zone
The Eastern Time Zone of the United States and Canada is a time zone that falls mostly along the east coast of North America. Its UTC time offset is −5 hrs during standard time and −4 hrs during daylight saving time...

, the Titan II
Titan II GLV
The Titan II GLV or Gemini-Titan was an American expendable launch system derived from the Titan II missile, which was used to launch twelve Gemini missions for NASA between 1964 and 1966...

 carrying Armstrong and Scott ignited at 11:41:02 am EST, putting them into an orbit from where they would chase the Agena.

The rendezvous and first ever docking between two spacecraft was successfully completed after 6.5 hours in orbit. Contact with the crew was intermittent due to the lack of tracking stations covering their entire orbits. Out of contact with the ground, the docked spacecraft began to roll, which Armstrong attempted to correct with the Orbital Attitude and Maneuvering System (OAMS) of the Gemini spacecraft. Following the earlier advice of Mission Control, they undocked, but found that the roll increased dramatically to the point where they were turning about once per second, which meant the problem was in their Gemini's attitude control. Armstrong decided the only course of action was to engage the Reentry Control System (RCS) and turn off the OAMS. Mission rules dictated that once this system was turned on, the spacecraft would have to reenter at the next possible opportunity. It was later thought that damaged wiring made one of the thrusters become stuck on.

Throughout the astronaut office there were a few people, most notably Walter Cunningham
Walter Cunningham
Ronnie Walter Cunningham , known as Walt Cunningham, is a retired American astronaut. In 1968, he was the Lunar Module pilot on the Apollo 7 mission...

, who publicly stated that Armstrong and Scott had ignored the malfunction procedures for such an incident, and that Armstrong could have salvaged the mission if he had turned on only one of the two RCS rings and saved the other for mission objectives. These criticisms were unfounded – no malfunction procedures were written and it was only possible to turn on both RCS rings, not one or the other. Gene Kranz
Eugene F. Kranz
Kranz's book, titled Failure Is Not an Option, published five years after the movie, stated, "...a creed that we all lived by: "Failure is not an option."" . The book has three index references for the phrase, but none of those give any indication of the phrase being apocryphal...

 wrote, "the crew reacted as they were trained, and they reacted wrong because we trained them wrong." The mission planners and controllers had failed to realize that when two spacecraft are docked together they must be considered to be one spacecraft.

Armstrong himself was depressed that the mission had been cut short, which cancelled most mission objectives and robbed Scott of his EVA.

Gemini 11

The last crew assignment for Armstrong during the Gemini program was as backup Command Pilot for Gemini 11
Gemini 11
Gemini 11 was the ninth manned spaceflight mission of NASA's Project Gemini, which flew from September 12 to 15, 1966. It was the 17th manned American flight and the 25th spaceflight to that time . Astronauts Charles "Pete" Conrad, Jr. and Richard F. Gordon, Jr...

, 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
William Anders
William Alison Anders is a former United States Air Force officer, NASA astronaut, businessman, and engineer. He is, along with Apollo 8 crewmates Frank Borman and Jim Lovell, one of the first three persons to have left Earth orbit and traveled to the Moon .-Biography:Anders was born to Arthur...

. The launch was on September 12, 1966 with Pete Conrad
Pete Conrad
Charles "Pete" Conrad, Jr. was an American naval officer, astronaut and engineer, and the third person to walk on the Moon during the Apollo 12 mission. He set an eight-day space endurance record along with command pilot Gordon Cooper on the Gemini 5 mission, and commanded the Gemini 11 mission...

 and Dick Gordon
Richard F. Gordon, Jr.
Richard Francis Gordon, Jr., Captain, USN, Ret. is a retired NASA astronaut. He is one of only 24 people to have flown to the Moon.-Military and flight experience:Gordon was born in Seattle, Washington...

 on board, who successfully completed the mission objectives, while Armstrong served as CAPCOM.

Following the flight, President
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 Lyndon B. Johnson
Lyndon B. Johnson
Lyndon Baines Johnson , often referred to as LBJ, was the 36th President of the United States after his service as the 37th Vice President of the United States...

 asked Armstrong and his wife to take part in a 24-day goodwill tour of South America. Also on the tour, which took in 11 countries and 14 major cities, were Dick Gordon, George Low
George Low
George Michael Low, born George Wilhelm Low was a NASA administrator and 14th President of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He was born near Vienna, Austria to Artur and Gertrude Burger Low, small business people in Austria...

, their wives, and other government officials. In Paraguay
Paraguay
Paraguay , officially the Republic of Paraguay , is a landlocked country in South America. It is bordered by Argentina to the south and southwest, Brazil to the east and northeast, and Bolivia to the northwest. Paraguay lies on both banks of the Paraguay River, which runs through the center of the...

, Armstrong impressed dignitaries by greeting them in their local language, Guarani
Guaraní language
Guaraní, specifically the primary variety known as Paraguayan Guaraní , is an indigenous language of South America that belongs to the Tupí–Guaraní subfamily of the Tupian languages. It is one of the official languages of Paraguay , where it is spoken by the majority of the population, and half of...

; in Brazil
Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

 he talked about the exploits of the Brazilian-born Alberto Santos-Dumont
Alberto Santos-Dumont
Alberto Santos-Dumont , was a Brazilian early pioneer of aviation. The heir of a wealthy family of coffee producers, Santos Dumont dedicated himself to science studies in Paris, France, where he spent most of his adult life....

, who was regarded as having beaten the Wright brothers
Wright brothers
The Wright brothers, Orville and Wilbur , were two Americans credited with inventing and building the world's first successful airplane and making the first controlled, powered and sustained heavier-than-air human flight, on December 17, 1903...

 with the first flying machine
First flying machine
There are conflicting views as to what was the first flying machine.Much of the debate surrounding records of early flying machines depends on the exact definition of what constitutes a "flying machine", "flight", and even "first"....

 with his 14-bis
Santos-Dumont 14-bis
The 14-bis , also known as , was a pioneer-era canard biplane designed and built by Brazilian inventor Alberto Santos-Dumont...

.

Apollo program

On January 27, 1967, the date of the Apollo 1
Apollo 1
Apollo 1 was scheduled to be the first manned mission of the Apollo manned lunar landing program, with a target launch date of February 21, 1967. A cabin fire during a launch pad test on January 27 at Launch Pad 34 at Cape Canaveral killed all three crew members: Command Pilot Virgil "Gus"...

 fire, Armstrong was in Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

 with Gordon Cooper
Gordon Cooper
Leroy Gordon Cooper, Jr. , also known as Gordon Cooper, was an American aeronautical engineer, test pilot and NASA astronaut. Cooper was one of the seven original astronauts in Project Mercury, the first manned space effort by the United States...

, Dick Gordon
Richard F. Gordon, Jr.
Richard Francis Gordon, Jr., Captain, USN, Ret. is a retired NASA astronaut. He is one of only 24 people to have flown to the Moon.-Military and flight experience:Gordon was born in Seattle, Washington...

, Jim Lovell
Jim Lovell
James "Jim" Arthur Lovell, Jr., is a former NASA astronaut and a retired captain in the United States Navy, most famous as the commander of the Apollo 13 mission, which suffered a critical failure en route to the Moon but was brought back safely to Earth by the efforts of the crew and mission...

 and Scott Carpenter
Scott Carpenter
Malcolm Scott Carpenter is an American engineer, former test pilot, astronaut, and aquanaut. He is best known as one of the original seven astronauts selected for NASA's Project Mercury in April 1959....

 for the signing of the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 Outer Space Treaty
Outer Space Treaty
The Outer Space Treaty, formally the Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies, is a treaty that forms the basis of international space law...

. The astronauts chatted with the assembled dignitaries until 6:45 pm Carpenter went to the airport, and the others returned to the Georgetown Inn, where they each found messages to phone the Manned Spacecraft Center
Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center
The Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center is the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's center for human spaceflight training, research and flight control. The center consists of a complex of 100 buildings constructed on 1,620 acres in Houston, Texas, USA...

. They learned of the deaths of Gus Grissom
Gus Grissom
Virgil Ivan Grissom , , better known as Gus Grissom, was one of the original NASA Project Mercury astronauts and a United States Air Force pilot...

, Ed White
Edward Higgins White
Edward Higgins White, II was an engineer, United States Air Force officer and NASA astronaut. On June 3, 1965, he became the first American to "walk" in space. White died along with fellow astronauts Gus Grissom and Roger Chaffee during a pre-launch test for the first manned Apollo mission at...

 and Roger Chaffee
Roger B. Chaffee
Roger Bruce Chaffee was an American aeronautical engineer and a NASA astronaut in the Apollo program. Chaffee died along with fellow astronauts Gus Grissom and Ed White during a pre-launch test for the Apollo 1 mission at Cape Kennedy...

 during these telephone calls. Armstrong and the group spent the rest of the night drinking scotch and discussing what had happened.

On April 5, 1967, the same day the Apollo 1 investigation released its report on the fire, Armstrong assembled with 17 other astronauts for a meeting with Deke Slayton. The first thing Slayton said was, "The guys who are going to fly the first lunar missions are the guys in this room." According to Eugene Cernan, Armstrong showed no reaction to the statement. To Armstrong it came as no surprise – the room was full of veterans of Project Gemini, the only people who could fly the lunar missions. Slayton talked about the planned missions and named Armstrong to the backup crew for Apollo 9
Apollo 9
Apollo 9, the third manned mission in the American Apollo space program, was the first flight of the Command/Service Module with the Lunar Module...

, which at that stage was planned to be a medium Earth orbit
Medium Earth Orbit
Medium Earth orbit , sometimes called intermediate circular orbit , is the region of space around the Earth above low Earth orbit and below geostationary orbit ....

 test of the Lunar Module
Apollo Lunar Module
The Apollo Lunar Module was the lander portion of the Apollo spacecraft built for the US Apollo program by Grumman to carry a crew of two from lunar orbit to the surface and back...

-Command/Service Module
Apollo Command/Service Module
The Command/Service Module was one of two spacecraft, along with the Lunar Module, used for the United States Apollo program which landed astronauts on the Moon. It was built for NASA by North American Aviation...

 combination. After design and manufacturing delays in the Lunar Module (LM), Apollo 9 and Apollo 8 swapped crews. Based on the normal crew rotation scheme, Armstrong would command Apollo 11.

To attempt to give the astronauts experience with how the LM would fly on its final landing descent, NASA commissioned Bell Aircraft
Bell Aircraft
The Bell Aircraft Corporation was an aircraft manufacturer of the United States, a builder of several types of fighter aircraft for World War II but most famous for the Bell X-1, the first supersonic aircraft, and for the development and production of many important civilian and military helicopters...

 to build two Lunar Landing Research Vehicle
Lunar Landing Research Vehicle
The Bell Aerosystems Lunar Landing Research Vehicle was an Apollo Project era program to build a simulator for the Moon landings. The LLRVs, humorously referred to as "flying bedsteads", were used by the FRC, now known as the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center, at Edwards Air Force Base,...

s, later augmented with three Lunar Landing Training Vehicles (LLTV). Nicknamed the "Flying Bedstead
Flying bedstead
The Flying Bedstead was a nickname given to two completely different experimental vertical take-off and landing aircraft, both receiving the nickname because each comprised a skeletal platform raised on four legs that resembled a bedstead....

s", they simulated the Moon's one-sixth of Earth's gravity by using a turbofan
Turbofan
The turbofan is a type of airbreathing jet engine that is widely used for aircraft propulsion. A turbofan combines two types of engines, the turbo portion which is a conventional gas turbine engine, and the fan, a propeller-like ducted fan...

 engine to support the remaining five-sixths of the craft's weight. On May 6, 1968, about 100 feet (30m) above the ground, Armstrong's controls started to degrade and the LLTV began banking. He ejected safely (later analysis would suggest if he had ejected 0.5 seconds later, his parachute would not have opened in time). His only injury was from biting his tongue. Even though he was nearly killed on one, Armstrong maintains that without the LLRV and LLTV, the lunar landings would not have been successful as they gave commanders valuable experience in the behavior of lunar landing craft.

Apollo 11

After Armstrong served as backup commander for Apollo 8
Apollo 8
Apollo 8, the second manned mission in the American Apollo space program, was the first human spaceflight to leave Earth orbit; the first to be captured by and escape from the gravitational field of another celestial body; and the first crewed voyage to return to Earth from another celestial...

, Slayton offered him the post of commander of Apollo 11 on December 23, 1968, as 8 orbited the Moon. In a meeting that was not made public until the publication of Armstrong's biography in 2005, Slayton told him that although the planned crew was Armstrong as commander, lunar module pilot Buzz Aldrin and command module pilot Michael Collins, he was offering the chance to replace Aldrin with Jim Lovell. After thinking it over for a day, Armstrong told Slayton he would stick with Aldrin, as he had no difficulty working with him and thought Lovell deserved his own command. Replacing Aldrin with Lovell would have made Lovell the Lunar Module Pilot, unofficially the lowest ranked member, and Armstrong could not justify placing Lovell, the commander of Gemini 12
Gemini 12
-Backup crew:-Mission parameters:*Mass: *Perigee: *Apogee: *Inclination: 28.87°*Period: 88.87 min-Docking:*Docked: November 12, 1966 - 01:06:00 UTC*Undocked: November 13, 1966 - 20:18:00 UTC-Space walk:...

, in the number 3 position of the crew.

A March 1969 meeting between Slayton, George Low, Bob Gilruth, and Chris Kraft
Christopher C. Kraft, Jr.
Christopher Columbus Kraft, Jr. is a retired NASA engineer and manager who was instrumental in establishing the agency's Mission Control operation...

 determined that Armstrong would be the first person on the Moon, in some part because NASA management saw Armstrong as a person who did not have a large ego. A press conference held on April 14, 1969 gave the design of the LM cabin as the reason for Armstrong being first; the hatch opened inwards and to the right, making it difficult for the lunar module pilot, on the right-hand side, to egress first. Slayton added, "Secondly, just on a pure protocol basis, I figured the commander ought to be the first guy out. . . . I changed it as soon as I found they had the time line that showed that. Bob Gilruth approved my decision." At the time of their meeting, the four men did not know about the hatch issue. The first knowledge of the meeting outside the small group came when Kraft wrote his 2001 autobiography.

On July 16, 1969, Armstrong received a crescent moon carved out of Styrofoam
Polystyrene
Polystyrene ) also known as Thermocole, abbreviated following ISO Standard PS, is an aromatic polymer made from the monomer styrene, a liquid hydrocarbon that is manufactured from petroleum by the chemical industry...

 from the pad leader, Guenter Wendt
Guenter Wendt
Günter F. Wendt was a German-American engineer noted for his work in the U.S. manned spaceflight program. An employee of McDonnell Aircraft and later North American Aviation, he was in charge of the spacecraft close-out crews at the launch pads for the entire Mercury and Gemini programs , and the...

, who described it as a key to the Moon. In return, Armstrong gave Wendt a ticket for a "space taxi" "good between two planets".
Voyage to the Moon

During the Apollo 11 launch, Armstrong's heart reached a top rate of 110 beats per minute. He found the first stage to be the loudest – much noisier than the Gemini 8 Titan II launch – and the Apollo CSM was relatively roomy compared to the confinement of the Gemini capsule. This ability to move around was suspected to be the cause of space sickness
Space adaptation syndrome
Space adaptation syndrome or space sickness is a condition experienced by around half of space travelers during adaptation to weightlessness. It is related to motion sickness, as the vestibular system adapts to weightlessness.- Cause and remedy :...

 that had hit members of previous crews, but none of the Apollo 11 crew suffered from it; Armstrong was especially happy, as he had been prone to motion sickness
Motion sickness
Motion sickness or kinetosis, also known as travel sickness, is a condition in which a disagreement exists between visually perceived movement and the vestibular system's sense of movement...

 as a child and could experience nausea
Nausea
Nausea , is a sensation of unease and discomfort in the upper stomach with an involuntary urge to vomit. It often, but not always, precedes vomiting...

 after doing long periods of aerobatics
Aerobatics
Aerobatics is the practice of flying maneuvers involving aircraft attitudes that are not used in normal flight. Aerobatics are performed in airplanes and gliders for training, recreation, entertainment and sport...

.

The objective of Apollo 11 was to land safely rather than to touch down with precision on a particular spot. Three minutes into the lunar descent burn Armstrong noted that craters were passing about two seconds too early, which meant the Eagle would probably touch down beyond the planned landing zone by several miles. As the Eagles landing radar
Radar
Radar is an object-detection system which uses radio waves to determine the range, altitude, direction, or speed of objects. It can be used to detect aircraft, ships, spacecraft, guided missiles, motor vehicles, weather formations, and terrain. The radar dish or antenna transmits pulses of radio...

 acquired the surface, several computer error alarms appeared. The first was a code 1202 alarm, and even with their extensive training Armstrong or Aldrin were not aware of what this code meant. However, they promptly received word from CAPCOM in Houston that the alarms were not a concern; the 1202 and 1201 alarms were caused by an executive overflow
Computer multitasking
In computing, multitasking is a method where multiple tasks, also known as processes, share common processing resources such as a CPU. In the case of a computer with a single CPU, only one task is said to be running at any point in time, meaning that the CPU is actively executing instructions for...

 in the lunar module computer
Apollo Guidance Computer
The Apollo Guidance Computer provided onboard computation and control for guidance, navigation, and control of the Command Module and Lunar Module spacecraft of the Apollo program...

. As described by Buzz Aldrin in the documentary In the Shadow of the Moon
In the Shadow of the Moon
In the Shadow of the Moon is a 2006 British documentary film about the United States' manned missions to the Moon. It premiered at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival, where it won the World Cinema Audience Award. In March 2008, it was the first film to win the Sir Arthur Clarke Award for Best Film...

, the overflow condition was caused by his own counter-checklist choice of leaving the docking radar on during the landing process, so the computer had to process unnecessary radar data and did not have enough time to execute all tasks, dropping lower-priority ones. Aldrin stated that he did so with the objective of facilitating re-docking with the CM should an abort become necessary, not realizing that it would cause the overflow condition.

When Armstrong noticed they were heading towards a landing area which he believed was unsafe, he took over manual control of the LM, and attempted to find an area which seemed safer, which took longer than expected, and longer than most simulations had taken. For this reason, there was concern from mission control that the LM was running low on fuel. Upon landing, Aldrin and Armstrong believed they had about 40 seconds worth of fuel to left, which included the 20 seconds worth of fuel which had to be saved in the event of an abort. During training, Armstrong had landed the LLTV with less than 15 seconds left on several occasions, and he was also confident the LM could survive a straight-down fall from 50 feet (15.2 m) if needed. Analysis after the mission showed that at touchdown there were 45 to 50 seconds of propellant burn time left.

The landing on the surface of the moon occurred at 20:17:39 UTC
Coordinated Universal Time
Coordinated Universal Time is the primary time standard by which the world regulates clocks and time. It is one of several closely related successors to Greenwich Mean Time. Computer servers, online services and other entities that rely on having a universally accepted time use UTC for that purpose...

 on July 20, 1969. When a sensor attached to the legs of the still hovering Lunar Module made lunar contact, a panel light inside the LM lit up and Aldrin called out, "Contact light." As the LM settled on the surface Aldrin then said, "Okay. Engine stop," and Armstrong said, "Shutdown." The first words Armstrong intentionally spoke to Mission Control and the world from the lunar surface were, "Houston, Tranquility Base
Tranquility Base
Tranquility Base was the name given by American astronaut Neil Armstrong to the landing site on the moon where the Apollo 11 Lunar Module Eagle made the first moon landing....

 here. The Eagle has landed." Aldrin and Armstrong celebrated with a brisk handshake and pat on the back before quickly returning to the checklist of tasks needed to ready the lunar module for liftoff from the Moon should an emergency unfold during the first moments on the lunar surface. During the critical landing, the only message from Houston was "30 seconds", meaning the amount of fuel left. When Armstrong had confirmed touch down, Houston expressed their worries during the manual landing as "You got a bunch of guys about to turn blue. We're breathing again".
First Moon walk

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
Apollo Lunar Module
The Apollo Lunar Module was the lander portion of the Apollo spacecraft built for the US Apollo program by Grumman to carry a crew of two from lunar orbit to the surface and back...

). 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."

Armstrong had decided on this statement following a train of thought that he had had after launch and during the hours after landing. Armstrong said later that he accidentally dropped the "a", from his remark, rendering the phrase a contradiction
Contradiction
In classical logic, a contradiction consists of a logical incompatibility between two or more propositions. It occurs when the propositions, taken together, yield two conclusions which form the logical, usually opposite inversions of each other...

 (as man in such use is synonymous with mankind). Armstrong later said he "would hope that history would grant me leeway for dropping the syllable and understand that it was certainly intended, even if it was not said – although it might actually have been".

It has since been claimed that acoustic analysis of the recording reveals the presence of the missing "a";
a digital audio analysis conducted by Peter Shann Ford, an Australia-based computer programmer, claims that Armstrong did, in fact, say "a man", but the "a" was inaudible due to the limitations of communications technology of the time. Ford and James R. Hansen, Armstrong's authorized biographer, presented these findings to Armstrong and NASA representatives, who conducted their own analysis. The article by Ford, however, is published on Ford's own web site rather than in a peer-reviewed scientific journal, and linguists David Beaver and Mark Liberman
Mark Liberman
Mark Liberman is an American linguist. He has a dual appointment at the University of Pennsylvania, as Trustee Professor of Phonetics in the Department of Linguistics, and as a professor in the Department of Computer and Information Sciences. He is the founder and director of the Linguistic Data...

 at Language Log were skeptical of Ford's claims. Armstrong has expressed his preference that written quotations include the "a" in parentheses.

When Armstrong made his proclamation, Voice of America
Voice of America
Voice of America is the official external broadcast institution of the United States federal government. It is one of five civilian U.S. international broadcasters working under the umbrella of the Broadcasting Board of Governors . VOA provides a wide range of programming for broadcast on radio...

 was rebroadcast live via the BBC
BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

 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.

About 20 minutes after the first step, Aldrin joined Armstrong on the surface and became the second human to set foot on the Moon, and the duo began their tasks of investigating how easily a person could operate on the lunar surface. Early on they also unveiled a plaque commemorating their flight, and also planted the flag of the United States
Flag of the United States
The national flag of the United States of America consists of thirteen equal horizontal stripes of red alternating with white, with a blue rectangle in the canton bearing fifty small, white, five-pointed stars arranged in nine offset horizontal rows of six stars alternating with rows...

. The flag used on this mission had a metal rod to hold it horizontal from its pole. Since the rod did not fully extend, and the flag was tightly folded and packed during the journey, the flag ended up with a slightly wavy appearance, as if there were a breeze. Shortly after the flag planting, President Richard Nixon
Richard Nixon
Richard Milhous Nixon was the 37th President of the United States, serving from 1969 to 1974. The only president to resign the office, Nixon had previously served as a US representative and senator from California and as the 36th Vice President of the United States from 1953 to 1961 under...

 spoke to them by a telephone call from his office. The President spoke for about a minute, after which Armstrong responded for about thirty seconds.

In the entire Apollo 11 photographic record, there are only five images of Armstrong partly shown or reflected. The mission was planned to the minute, with the majority of photographic tasks to be performed by Armstrong with their single Hasselblad
Hasselblad
Victor Hasselblad AB is a Swedish manufacturer of medium-format cameras and photographic equipment based in Gothenburg, Sweden.The company is best known for the medium-format cameras it has produced since World War II....

 camera.

After helping to set up the Early Apollo Scientific Experiment Package, Armstrong went for a walk to what is now known as East Crater, 65 yards (59.4 m) east of the LM, the greatest distance traveled from the LM on the mission. Armstrong's final task was to leave a small package of memorial items to deceased Soviet cosmonauts Yuri Gagarin
Yuri Gagarin
Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin was a Soviet pilot and cosmonaut. He was the first human to journey into outer space, when his Vostok spacecraft completed an orbit of the Earth on April 12, 1961....

 and Vladimir Komarov, and Apollo 1
Apollo 1
Apollo 1 was scheduled to be the first manned mission of the Apollo manned lunar landing program, with a target launch date of February 21, 1967. A cabin fire during a launch pad test on January 27 at Launch Pad 34 at Cape Canaveral killed all three crew members: Command Pilot Virgil "Gus"...

 astronauts Gus Grissom
Gus Grissom
Virgil Ivan Grissom , , better known as Gus Grissom, was one of the original NASA Project Mercury astronauts and a United States Air Force pilot...

, Ed White
Edward Higgins White
Edward Higgins White, II was an engineer, United States Air Force officer and NASA astronaut. On June 3, 1965, he became the first American to "walk" in space. White died along with fellow astronauts Gus Grissom and Roger Chaffee during a pre-launch test for the first manned Apollo mission at...

 and Roger Chaffee. The time spent on EVA during Apollo 11 was about two-and-a-half hours, the shortest of any of the six Apollo lunar landing missions; each of the subsequent five landings were allotted gradually longer periods for EVA activities – the crew of Apollo 17
Apollo 17
Apollo 17 was the eleventh and final manned mission in the American Apollo space program. Launched at 12:33 a.m. EST on December 7, 1972, with a three-member crew consisting of Commander Eugene Cernan, Command Module Pilot Ronald Evans, and Lunar Module Pilot Harrison Schmitt, Apollo 17 remains the...

, by comparison, spent over 22 hours exploring the lunar surface.
Return to Earth

After they re-entered the LM, the hatch was closed and sealed. While preparing for the liftoff from the lunar surface, Armstrong and Aldrin discovered that in their bulky spacesuits, they had broken the ignition switch for the ascent engine; using part of a pen, they pushed the circuit breaker in to activate the launch sequence, and Aldrin still possesses the pen which they used to do this. The lunar module then continued to its rendezvous and docked with Columbia, the command and service module. The three astronauts returned to Earth and splashed down in the Pacific ocean, to be picked up by the .

After being released from an 18-day quarantine to ensure that they had not picked up any infections or diseases from the Moon, the crew were feted across the United States and around the world as part of a 45-day "Giant Leap" tour. Armstrong then took part in Bob Hope
Bob Hope
Bob Hope, KBE, KCSG, KSS was a British-born American comedian and actor who appeared in vaudeville, on Broadway, and in radio, television and movies. He was also noted for his work with the US Armed Forces and his numerous USO shows entertaining American military personnel...

's 1969 USO
United Service Organizations
The United Service Organizations Inc. is a private, nonprofit organization that provides morale and recreational services to members of the U.S. military, with programs in 160 centers worldwide. Since 1941, it has worked in partnership with the Department of Defense , and has provided support and...

 show, primarily to Vietnam
Vietnam
Vietnam – sometimes spelled Viet Nam , officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam – is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is bordered by China to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, and the South China Sea –...

. In May 1970, Armstrong traveled to the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 to present a talk at the 13th annual conference of the International Committee on Space Research; after arriving in Leningrad
Saint Petersburg
Saint Petersburg is a city and a federal subject of Russia located on the Neva River at the head of the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea...

 from Poland, he traveled to Moscow
Moscow
Moscow is the capital, the most populous city, and the most populous federal subject of Russia. The city is a major political, economic, cultural, scientific, religious, financial, educational, and transportation centre of Russia and the continent...

 where he met Premier
Premier of the Soviet Union
The office of Premier of the Soviet Union was synonymous with head of government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics . Twelve individuals have been premier...

 Alexei Kosygin. He was the first westerner to see the supersonic Tupolev Tu-144
Tupolev Tu-144
The Tupolev Tu-144 was a Soviet supersonic transport aircraft and remains one of only two SSTs to enter commercial service, the other being the Concorde...

 and was given a tour of the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonauts Training Center
Yuri Gagarin Cosmonauts Training Center
The Yu. A. Gagarin State Scientific Research-and-Testing Cosmonaut Training Center is a Russian training facility responsible for training cosmonauts for their space missions...

, which Armstrong described as "a bit Victorian in nature". At the end of the day, he was surprised to view delayed video of the launch of Soyuz 9
Soyuz 9
Soyuz 9 was a 1970 Soviet manned space flight. The two-man crew of Andrian Nikolayev and Vitali Sevastyanov broke the five-year-old space endurance record with their nearly 18-day flight...

 – it had not occurred to Armstrong that the mission was taking place, even though Valentina Tereshkova
Valentina Tereshkova
Valentina Vladimirovna Tereshkova is a retired Soviet cosmonaut, and was the first woman in space. She was selected out of more than four hundred applicants, and then out of five finalists, to pilot Vostok 6 on the 16 June, 1963, becoming both the first woman and the first civilian to fly in...

 had been his host and her husband, Andriyan Nikolayev, was on board.

Teaching

Armstrong announced shortly after the Apollo 11 flight that he did not plan to fly in space again. He was appointed Deputy Associate Administrator for aeronautics for the Office of Advanced Research and Technology (DARPA), but served in this position for only a year, and resigned from it and NASA as a whole in 1971.

He accepted a teaching position in the Department of Aerospace Engineering at the University of Cincinnati
University of Cincinnati
The University of Cincinnati is a comprehensive public research university in Cincinnati, Ohio, and a part of the University System of Ohio....

, having decided on Cincinnati over other universities, including his alma mater
Alma mater
Alma mater , pronounced ), was used in ancient Rome as a title for various mother goddesses, especially Ceres or Cybele, and in Christianity for the Virgin Mary.-General term:...

, Purdue, because it had a small Aerospace department; he hoped that the faculty members would not be annoyed that he came straight into a professorship with only the USC master's degree. He began the work while stationed at Edwards years before, and finally completed it after Apollo 11 by presenting a report on various aspects of Apollo, instead of a thesis on simulation of hypersonic
Hypersonic
In aerodynamics, a hypersonic speed is one that is highly supersonic. Since the 1970s, the term has generally been assumed to refer to speeds of Mach 5 and above...

 flight. The official job title he received at Cincinnati was University Professor of Aerospace Engineering. After teaching for eight years, he resigned in 1979 without explaining his reason of leaving.

NASA accident investigations

Armstrong served on two spaceflight accident investigations. The first was in 1970, after Apollo 13
Apollo 13
Apollo 13 was the seventh manned mission in the American Apollo space program and the third intended to land on the Moon. The craft was launched on April 11, 1970, at 13:13 CST. The landing was aborted after an oxygen tank exploded two days later, crippling the service module upon which the Command...

, where as part of Edgar Cortwright's panel, he produced a detailed chronology of the flight. Armstrong personally opposed the report's recommendation to re-design the service module's oxygen tanks, the source of the explosion. In 1986 President Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan
Ronald Wilson Reagan was the 40th President of the United States , the 33rd Governor of California and, prior to that, a radio, film and television actor....

 appointed him to the Rogers Commission
Rogers Commission Report
The Rogers Commission Report was created by a Presidential Commission charged with investigating the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster during its 10th mission, STS-51-L...

, which investigated the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster
Space Shuttle Challenger disaster
The Space Shuttle Challenger disaster occurred on January 28, 1986, when Space Shuttle Challenger broke apart 73 seconds into its flight, leading to the deaths of its seven crew members. The spacecraft disintegrated over the Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of central Florida at 11:38 am EST...

 of that year. As vice-chairman, Armstrong was in charge of the operational side of the commission.

Business activities

After Armstrong retired from NASA in 1971, he avoided offers from businesses to act as a spokesman. The first company to successfully approach him was Chrysler
Chrysler
Chrysler Group LLC is a multinational automaker headquartered in Auburn Hills, Michigan, USA. Chrysler was first organized as the Chrysler Corporation in 1925....

, for whom he appeared in advertising starting in January 1979. Armstrong thought they had a strong engineering division, plus they were in financial difficulty. He acted as a spokesman for other companies, including General Time Corporation and the Bankers Association of America. He only acts as a spokesman for US businesses.

Along with spokesman duties, he also served on the board of directors
Board of directors
A board of directors is a body of elected or appointed members who jointly oversee the activities of a company or organization. Other names include board of governors, board of managers, board of regents, board of trustees, and board of visitors...

 of several companies, including Marathon Oil
Marathon Oil
Marathon Oil Corporation is a United States-based oil and natural gas exploration and production company. Principal exploration activities are in the United States, Norway, Equatorial Guinea, Angola and Canada. Principal development activities are in the United States, the United Kingdom, Norway,...

, Learjet, Cincinnati Gas & Electric Company
Cinergy
-History:Cinergy was created on October 24, 1994, from the merger of the Cincinnati Gas & Electric Company and Kentucky subsidiary Union Light, Heat & Power with Plainfield, Indiana–based PSI Energy ....

, Taft Broadcasting
Taft Broadcasting
The Taft Broadcasting Company, also known as Taft Television and Radio Company, Incorporated, was an American media conglomerate based in Cincinnati, Ohio....

, United Airlines
United Airlines
United Air Lines, Inc., is the world's largest airline with 86,852 employees United Air Lines, Inc., is the world's largest airline with 86,852 employees United Air Lines, Inc., is the world's largest airline with 86,852 employees (which includes the entire holding company United Continental...

, Eaton Corporation
Eaton Corporation
Eaton Corporation is a global diversified power management company with 2010 sales of $13.7 billion. The company is a leading provider of electrical components and systems for power quality, distribution and control; hydraulics components, systems and services for industrial and mobile equipment;...

, AIL Systems, and Thiokol
Thiokol
Thiokol is a U.S. corporation concerned initially with rubber and related chemicals, and later with rocket and missile propulsion systems...

. He joined Thiokol's board after he served on the Rogers Commission; Challenger
Space Shuttle Challenger
Space Shuttle Challenger was NASA's second Space Shuttle orbiter to be put into service, Columbia having been the first. The shuttle was built by Rockwell International's Space Transportation Systems Division in Downey, California...

 was destroyed due to a problem with the Thiokol-manufactured solid rocket boosters
Space Shuttle Solid Rocket Booster
The Space Shuttle Solid Rocket Boosters were the pair of large solid rockets used by the United States' NASA Space Shuttle during the first two minutes of powered flight. Together they provided about 83% of liftoff thrust for the Space Shuttle. They were located on either side of the rusty or...

. He retired as chairman of the board of EDO Corporation
EDO Corporation
EDO Corporation was an American company, which was acquired by ITT Corporation in 2007. EDO designed and manufactured products for defense, intelligence, and commercial markets, and provided related engineering and professional services. It employed 4,000 people worldwide and had revenues of $715...

 in 2002.

Personal life

Armstrong was approached by political groups from both ends of the spectrum after his aeronautical career. Unlike former astronauts and United States Senators John Glenn
John Glenn
John Herschel Glenn, Jr. is a former United States Marine Corps pilot, astronaut, and United States senator who was the first American to orbit the Earth and the third American in space. Glenn was a Marine Corps fighter pilot before joining NASA's Mercury program as a member of NASA's original...

 and Harrison Schmitt
Harrison Schmitt
Harrison Hagan "Jack" Schmitt is an American geologist, a retired NASA astronaut, university professor, and a former U.S. senator from New Mexico....

, Armstrong has declined all offers. Personally, he is in favor of states' rights
States' rights
States' rights in U.S. politics refers to political powers reserved for the U.S. state governments rather than the federal government. It is often considered a loaded term because of its use in opposition to federally mandated racial desegregation...

 and against the United States acting as the "world's policeman." In 1971, Armstrong was awarded the Sylvanus Thayer Award
Sylvanus Thayer Award
The Sylvanus Thayer Award is an award that is given each year by the United States Military Academy at West Point. Sylvanus Thayer was the fifth superintendent of that academy and in honor of his achievements, the award was created...

 by the United States Military Academy
United States Military Academy
The United States Military Academy at West Point is a four-year coeducational federal service academy located at West Point, New York. The academy sits on scenic high ground overlooking the Hudson River, north of New York City...

 at West Point for his service to the country.

In 1972, Armstrong was welcomed into the town of Langholm
Langholm
Langholm , also known colloquially as the "Muckle Toon", is a burgh in Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland, on the River Esk and the A7 road.- History:...

, Scotland, the traditional seat of Clan Armstrong
Clan Armstrong
Clan Armstrong is an armigerous clan whose origins lie in Cumberland, south of the frontier between Scotland and England which was officially established in 1237....

; he was made the first freeman of the burgh
Burgh
A burgh was an autonomous corporate entity in Scotland and Northern England, usually a town. This type of administrative division existed from the 12th century, when King David I created the first royal burghs. Burgh status was broadly analogous to borough status, found in the rest of the United...

, and happily declared the town his home. The Justice of the Peace
Justice of the Peace
A justice of the peace is a puisne judicial officer elected or appointed by means of a commission to keep the peace. Depending on the jurisdiction, they might dispense summary justice or merely deal with local administrative applications in common law jurisdictions...

 read from an unrepealed
Repeal
A repeal is the amendment, removal or reversal of a law. This is generally done when a law is no longer effective, or it is shown that a law is having far more negative consequences than were originally envisioned....

 400-year-old law that required him to hang any Armstrong found in the town.

In the fall of 1979, Armstrong was working at his farm near Lebanon, Ohio
Lebanon, Ohio
The population at the 2010 census was 20,033. As of the census of 2000, there were 16,962 people residing in the city. The population density was 1,440.6 people per square mile . There were 6,218 housing units at an average density of 528.1 per square mile...

. As he jumped off of the back of his grain truck, his wedding ring caught in the wheel, tearing off the tip of his ring finger; he calmly collected the severed digit, packed it in ice, and it was successfully reattached by microsurgeons
Microsurgery
Microsurgery is a general term for surgery requiring an operating microscope. The most obvious developments have been procedures developed to allow anastomosis of successively smaller blood vessels and nerves which have allowed transfer of tissue from one part of the body to another and...

 at the Jewish Hospital in Louisville, Kentucky
Louisville, Kentucky
Louisville is the largest city in the U.S. state of Kentucky, and the county seat of Jefferson County. Since 2003, the city's borders have been coterminous with those of the county because of a city-county merger. The city's population at the 2010 census was 741,096...

. In February 1991, he suffered a mild heart attack
Myocardial infarction
Myocardial infarction or acute myocardial infarction , commonly known as a heart attack, results from the interruption of blood supply to a part of the heart, causing heart cells to die...

 while skiing with friends at Aspen, Colorado
Aspen, Colorado
The City of Aspen is a Home Rule Municipality that is the county seat and the most populous city of Pitkin County, Colorado, United States. The United States Census Bureau estimates that the city population was 5,804 in 2005...

, a year after his father had died, and nine months after the death of his mother.

Armstrong's first wife of 38 years, Janet, divorced him in 1994. He met his second wife, Carol Held Knight, in 1992 at a golf tournament where they were seated together at the breakfast table. She said little to Armstrong, but a couple of weeks later she received a call from him asking what she was doing – she replied she was cutting down a cherry tree; 35 minutes later Armstrong was at her house to help out. They were married on June 12, 1994 in Ohio, and then had a second ceremony at San Ysidro Ranch in California. He currently lives in Indian Hill, Ohio
Indian Hill, Ohio
The Village of Indian Hill is a city in Hamilton County, Ohio, United States, and an affluent suburb of the Greater Cincinnati area. The population was 5,907 at the 2000 census. Prior to 1970, Indian Hill was incorporated as a village, but under Ohio law became designated as a city once its...

.

Since 1994, Armstrong has refused all requests for autograph
Autograph
An autograph is a document transcribed entirely in the handwriting of its author, as opposed to a typeset document or one written by an amanuensis or a copyist; the meaning overlaps with that of the word holograph.Autograph also refers to a person's artistic signature...

s, after he found that his signed items were selling for large amounts of money and that many forgeries are in circulation; any requests sent to him receive a form letter
Form letter
A form letter is a letter written from a template, rather than being specially composed for a specific recipient. The most general kind of form letter consists of one or more regions of boilerplate text interspersed with one or more substitution placeholders.Although form letters are generally...

 in reply saying that he has stopped signing. Although his no-autograph policy is well-known, author Andrew Smith
Andrew Smith (author)
Andrew Smith is a British author. He is the author of Moondust: In Search of the Men Who Fell to Earth, which tells the story of the twelve U.S. astronauts who walked on the moon between 1969 and 1972....

 observed people at the 2002 Reno Air Races
Reno Air Races
The Reno Air Races, also known as the National Championship Air Races, take place each September at the Reno Stead Airport a few miles north of Reno, Nevada, USA...

 still try to get signatures, with one person even claiming, "If you shove something close enough in front of his face, he'll sign." He has also stopped sending out congratulatory letters to new Eagle Scouts, as he thinks these letters should come from people who know the Scout personally.

Usage of Armstrong's name, image, and famous quote has caused him problems over the years. MTV
MTV
MTV, formerly an initialism of Music Television, is an American network based in New York City that launched on August 1, 1981. The original purpose of the channel was to play music videos guided by on-air hosts known as VJs....

 wanted to use his quote for its now-famous ident depicting the Apollo 11 landing when it launched in 1981, but he declined. Armstrong sued Hallmark Cards
Hallmark Cards
Hallmark Cards is a privately owned American company based in Kansas City, Missouri. Founded in 1910 by Joyce C. Hall, Hallmark is the largest manufacturer of greeting cards in the United States. In 1985, the company was awarded the National Medal of Arts....

 in 1994 after they used his name and a recording of "one small step" quote in a Christmas ornament
Christmas ornament
Christmas ornaments are decorations that are used to festoon a Christmas tree.Ornaments take many different forms, from a simple round ball to highly artistic designs...

 without permission. The lawsuit was settled out of court for an undisclosed amount of money which Armstrong donated to Purdue. The case caused Armstrong and NASA to be more careful about the usage of astronaut names, photographs and recordings, and to whom he has granted permission.

In May 2005 Armstrong became involved in an unusual legal battle with his barber of 20 years, Marx Sizemore. After cutting Armstrong's hair, Sizemore sold some of it to a collector for $3,000 without Armstrong's knowledge or permission. Armstrong threatened legal action unless the barber returned the hair or donated the proceeds to a charity of Armstrong's choosing. Sizemore, unable to get the hair back, decided to donate the proceeds to the charity of Armstrong's choice.

Legacy

Armstrong has received many honors and awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom
Presidential Medal of Freedom
The Presidential Medal of Freedom is an award bestowed by the President of the United States and is—along with thecomparable Congressional Gold Medal bestowed by an act of U.S. Congress—the highest civilian award in the United States...

, the Congressional Space Medal of Honor
Congressional Space Medal of Honor
The Congressional Space Medal of Honor was authorized by the United States Congress in 1969 to recognize "any astronaut who in the performance of his duties has distinguished himself by exceptionally meritorious efforts and contributions to the welfare of the Nation and mankind." The highest award...

, the Robert H. Goddard Memorial Trophy, the Sylvanus Thayer Award, the Collier Trophy
Collier Trophy
The Collier Trophy is an annual aviation award administered by the U.S. National Aeronautics Association , presented to those who have made "the greatest achievement in aeronautics or astronautics in America, with respect to improving the performance, efficiency, and safety of air or space...

 from the National Aeronautics Association, and the Congressional Gold Medal. The lunar crater Armstrong
Armstrong (crater)
Armstrong is a tiny lunar impact crater located in the southern part of the Mare Tranquillitatis. It lies about 50 kilometers to the northeast of the Apollo 11 landing site. Named after Neil Armstrong, the crater is the eastern-most of the row of three craters named in honor of the Apollo 11 crew...

, 31 mi (50 km) from the Apollo 11 landing site, and asteroid
Asteroid
Asteroids are a class of small Solar System bodies in orbit around the Sun. They have also been called planetoids, especially the larger ones...

 6469 Armstrong
6469 Armstrong
6469 Armstrong is a main-belt asteroid discovered on August 14, 1982 by Mrkos, A. at Klet. It is named after Neil Armstrong.- External links :...

 are named in his honor. Armstrong was also inducted into the Aerospace Walk of Honor
Aerospace Walk of Honor
The Aerospace Walk of Honor in Lancaster, California, USA, honors test pilots who have contributed to aviation and space research and development....

 and the Astronaut Hall of Fame
Astronaut Hall of Fame
The United States Astronaut Hall of Fame, located just south of Titusville, Florida, honors American astronauts and features the world's largest collection of their personal memorabilia, focusing on those astronauts who have been inducted into the Hall; as well as Sigma 7, the fifth manned Mercury...

.

Throughout the United States, there are more than a dozen elementary
Elementary school
An elementary school or primary school is an institution where children receive the first stage of compulsory education known as elementary or primary education. Elementary school is the preferred term in some countries, particularly those in North America, where the terms grade school and grammar...

, middle
Middle school
Middle School and Junior High School are levels of schooling between elementary and high schools. Most school systems use one term or the other, not both. The terms are not interchangeable...

 and high school
High school
High school is a term used in parts of the English speaking world to describe institutions which provide all or part of secondary education. The term is often incorporated into the name of such institutions....

s named in his honor, and many places around the world have streets, buildings, schools, and other places named for Armstrong and/or Apollo. In 1969, folk songwriter and singer John Stewart recorded "Armstrong", a tribute to Armstrong and his first steps on the moon. Purdue University announced in October 2004 that their new engineering building would be named Neil Armstrong Hall of Engineering in his honor; the building cost $53.2 million and was dedicated on October 27, 2007, during a ceremony at which Armstrong was joined by fourteen other Purdue Astronauts. The Neil Armstrong Air and Space Museum is located in his hometown of Wapakoneta, Ohio, although it has no official ties to Armstrong, and the airport in New Knoxville
New Knoxville, Ohio
New Knoxville is a village in Auglaize County, Ohio, United States. Established in 1835, it had a population of 891 at the 2000 census. It is included in the Wapakoneta, Ohio Micropolitan Statistical Area.-History:...

 where he took his first flying lessons is named for him.
Armstrong's authorized biography, First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong
First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong
First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong is the official biography of Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon. It was written by James R. Hansen and published in 2005 by Simon & Schuster.-Development:...

, was published in 2005. For many years, Armstrong turned down biography offers from authors such as Stephen Ambrose
Stephen Ambrose
Stephen Edward Ambrose was an American historian and biographer of U.S. Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower and Richard Nixon. He was a long time professor of history at the University of New Orleans and the author of many best selling volumes of American popular history...

 and James A. Michener
James A. Michener
James Albert Michener was an American author of more than 40 titles, the majority of which were sweeping sagas, covering the lives of many generations in particular geographic locales and incorporating historical facts into the stories...

, but agreed to work with James R. Hansen after reading one of Hansen's other biographies.

In a 2010 Space Foundation
Space Foundation
The Space Foundation is a nonprofit organization that supports the global space industry through information and education programs. It is a resource for the entire space community - industry, national security organizations, civil space agencies, private space companies and the military around the...

 survey, Armstrong was ranked as the #1 most popular space hero.

The press often asks Armstrong for his views on the future of spaceflight. In 2005, Armstrong said that a manned mission to Mars
Manned mission to Mars
A manned mission to Mars has been the subject of science fiction, engineering, and scientific proposals throughout the 20th century and into the 21st century...

 will be easier than the lunar challenge of the 1960s: "I suspect that even though the various questions are difficult and many, they are not as difficult and many as those we faced when we started the Apollo [space program] in 1961." In 2010, he made a rare public criticism of the decision to cancel the Ares 1
Ares I
Ares I was the crew launch vehicle that was being developed by NASA as part of the Constellation Program. The name "Ares" refers to the Greek deity Ares, who is identified with the Roman god Mars...

 launch vehicle and the Constellation moon landing program.
In an open public letter also signed by Apollo veterans Jim Lovell
Jim Lovell
James "Jim" Arthur Lovell, Jr., is a former NASA astronaut and a retired captain in the United States Navy, most famous as the commander of the Apollo 13 mission, which suffered a critical failure en route to the Moon but was brought back safely to Earth by the efforts of the crew and mission...

 and Gene Cernan, he noted, "For The United States, the leading space faring nation for nearly half a century, to be without carriage to low Earth orbit and with no human exploration capability to go beyond Earth orbit for an indeterminate time into the future, destines our nation to become one of second or even third rate stature." Armstrong has also publicly recalled his initial concerns about the Apollo 11 mission, when he had believed there was only a 50% chance of landing on the moon. "I was elated, ecstatic and extremely surprised that we were successful", he later said.

On November 18, 2010 Neil Armstrong said in a speech during the Science & Technology Summit
Meet the Future, Science & Technology Summit 2010
Meet the Future, Science & Technology Summit 2010 was a one day science and technology convention held at the World Forum Convention Center in The Hague, Netherlands on November 18, 2010, organized by Platform Bèta Techniek , an organization which has been empowered by the Dutch government to...

 in The Hague
The Hague
The Hague is the capital city of the province of South Holland in the Netherlands. With a population of 500,000 inhabitants , it is the third largest city of the Netherlands, after Amsterdam and Rotterdam...

, Netherlands
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

 that he would offer his services as commander on a mission to Mars
Mars
Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun in the Solar System. The planet is named after the Roman god of war, Mars. It is often described as the "Red Planet", as the iron oxide prevalent on its surface gives it a reddish appearance...

 if he was asked (even though he was 80 years old at the time).

See also

  • Apollo program
  • List of Eagle Scouts (Boy Scouts of America)
  • List of spaceflight-related accidents and incidents
  • Mission control center
    Mission Control Center
    A mission control center is an entity that manages aerospace vehicle flights, usually from the point of lift-off until the landing or the end of the mission. A staff of flight controllers and other support personnel monitor all aspects of the mission using telemetry, and send commands to the...

  • Project Mercury
    Project Mercury
    In January 1960 NASA awarded Western Electric Company a contract for the Mercury tracking network. The value of the contract was over $33 million. Also in January, McDonnell delivered the first production-type Mercury spacecraft, less than a year after award of the formal contract. On February 12,...

  • Space Shuttle program
    Space Shuttle program
    NASA's Space Shuttle program, officially called Space Transportation System , was the United States government's manned launch vehicle program from 1981 to 2011...


Footnotes

References
Bibliography
  • Cambridge Biographical Dictionary (1990). Cambridge
    Cambridge
    The city of Cambridge is a university town and the administrative centre of the county of Cambridgeshire, England. It lies in East Anglia about north of London. Cambridge is at the heart of the high-technology centre known as Silicon Fen – a play on Silicon Valley and the fens surrounding the...

    : Cambridge University Press
    Cambridge University Press
    Cambridge University Press is the publishing business of the University of Cambridge. Granted letters patent by Henry VIII in 1534, it is the world's oldest publishing house, and the second largest university press in the world...

    .}}


External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
x
OK