Neil Alden Armstrong (born August 5, 1930) is an American aviator and a former astronaut, test pilot, aerospace engineer, university professor, and United States Naval Aviator. He was the first person to set foot on the Moon. His first spaceflight was aboard Gemini 8 in 1966, for which he was the command pilot, becoming one of the first U.S. civilians to fly in space (Joseph Albert Walker became the first US civilian in space aboard X-15 Flight 90 several years earlier). On this mission, he performed the first manned docking of two spacecraft together with pilot David Scott. Armstrong's second and last spaceflight was as mission commander of the Apollo 11 moon landing mission on July 20, 1969. On this mission, Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin descended to the lunar surface and spent 2½ hours exploring while Michael Collinsremained in orbit in the Command Module. Armstrong is a recipient of the Congressional Space Medal of Honor.
Before becoming an astronaut, Armstrong was in the United States Navy and saw action in the Korean War. After the war, he served as a test pilot at the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) High-Speed Flight Station, now known as the Dryden Flight Research Center, where he flew over 900 flights in a variety of aircraft. As a research pilot, Armstrong served as project pilot on the F-100 Super SabreA and C aircraft, F-101 Voodoo, and the Lockheed F-104A Starfighter. He also flew the Bell X-1B, Bell X-5, North American X-15, F-105 Thunderchief, F-106 Delta Dart, B-47 Stratojet, KC-135 Stratotanker andParesev. He graduated from Purdue University and the University of Southern California.
Neil Armstrong was born in Wapakoneta, Ohio, the son of Stephen Koenig Armstrong and Viola Louise Engel. He had two younger siblings, June and Dean. He is of Scots-Irish and German descent. Stephen Armstrong worked for the Ohio government, and the family moved around the state repeatedly in the 15 years following Armstrong's birth, living in 20 different towns. His father's last forced move was to Wapakoneta in 1944. By this time, Armstrong was active in the Boy Scouts and he eventually earned the rank of Eagle Scout. As an adult, he would be recognized by the Boy Scouts of America with their Distinguished Eagle Scout Award and Silver Buffalo Award. In Wapakoneta, he attended Blume High School.
In 1947, Armstrong began studying aerospace engineering at Purdue University, where he was a member of Phi Delta Theta and Kappa Kappa Psi. He was only the second person in his family to attend college. He was also accepted to theMassachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), but the only engineer he knew (who had attended MIT) dissuaded him from attending, telling Armstrong that it was not necessary to go all the way to Cambridge, Massachusetts for a good education. His college tuition was paid for under the Holloway Plan; successful applicants committed to four 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 received average marks in his subjects, with a GPA that rose and fell over the eight semesters. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in aeronautical engineering from Purdue University in 1955, and a Master of Science degree in aerospace engineering from theUniversity of Southern California in 1970. He holds honorary doctorates from a number of universities.
After Armstrong served as backup commander for Apollo 8, 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 ranked as number three on the crew. Armstrong could not justify placing Lovell, the commander of Gemini 12, in the number 3 position of the crew.
Initially, Aldrin thought that he would be first to walk on the Moon, based on the experience of Gemini; during that program, the pilot conducted the EVAs while the command pilot, who had greater responsibilities and less time to train for an EVA, stayed on board. However, when that actual procedure was tried with suited-up astronauts in an Apollo LM mockup, the LM was damaged – in order for Aldrin (LM Pilot) to get out first, he had to climb over Armstrong (commander) to get to the door.
A March 1969 meeting between Slayton, George Low, Bob Gilruth, and Chris Kraft 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 from the pad leader, Guenter Wendt, 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 MoonEdit
Aldrin took this picture of Armstrong in the cabin after the completion of the EVA.During the Apollo 11 launch, Armstrong's heart reached a top rate of 109 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 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 as a child and could experience nausea after doing long periods of aerobatics.
The objective of Apollo 11 was to land safely rather than touch down with precision on a particular spot. Three minutes into the lunar descent burn he noted that craters were passing about two seconds too early, which meant the Eagle would likely land beyond the planned landing zone by several miles. As the Eagle's landing radar acquired the surface, several computer error alarms appeared. The first was a code 1202alarm 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 in the lunar module computer. As described by Buzz Aldrin in the documentary In the Shadow of the Moon, 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. First Moon Landing issue commemoratingApollo 11. Armstrong is not honored "by portrayal" in accordance with USPS criteria pertaining to postage issues not honoring living people.Armstrong took over manual control of the LM, found an area which to him seemed safe for a landing and touched down on the moon at 20:17:39 UTC on July 20, 1969. Some accounts of the Apollo 11 landing describe the LM's fuel situation as having been dire, with only a few seconds remaining when they touched down. 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 m) if needed. Analysis after the mission showed that because of the moon's lower gravity, fuel had sloshed about in the tank more than anticipated, which led to a misleadingly low indication of the remaining propellant; at touchdown there were about 50 seconds of propellant burn time left.
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 here. TheEagle 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 Amstrong 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 walkEdit
See also: Apollo 11 — Lunar surface operationsNeil Armstrong describes the lunar surface before setting foot on it.Although the official NASA flight plan called for a crew rest period before extra-vehicular activity, Armstrong requested that the EVA be moved earlier in the evening, Houston time. Once Armstrong and Aldrin were ready to go outside, Eagle was depressurized, the hatch was opened and Armstrong made his way down the ladder first.
At the bottom of the ladder, Armstrong said "I'm going to step off the LEM now" (referring to the Apollo Lunar Module). He then turned and set his left boot on the surface at 2:56 UTC July 21, 1969. Then spoke the famous words "That's one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind." 
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Armstrong had decided on this statement following a train of thought that he had had after launch and during the hours after landing. Speaking the line, he accidentally dropped the "a", from his remark, rendering the phrase a contradiction (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 at Language Log were skeptical of Ford's claims. Armstrong has expressed his preference that written quotations include the "a" in parentheses. Armstrong prepares to take the first step on the Moon.When Armstrong made his proclamation, Voice of America was rebroadcast live via the BBC and many other stations the world over. The global audience at that moment was estimated at 450 million listeners,out of a then estimated world population of 3.631 billion people.
About 15 minutes after the first step, Aldrin joined Armstrong on the surface and became the second human to set foot on the Moon. 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. 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. On Earth there had been some discussion as to whether it was appropriate to plant the flag at all. Armstrong has said that he personally did not think that any flag should have been left, but decided it wasn't worth making a big deal about. Slayton had warned Armstrong that they would receive a special communication, but did not tell him that President Richard Nixon would contact them just after the flag planting. Armstrong works at the Apollo Lunar Module in one of the few photos showing him during the EVA.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 camera. Aldrin has explained that there were plans to take a photo of Armstrong after the famous image of Aldrin was taken, but they were interrupted by the Nixon communication, which began just five minutes later.
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 (60 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 deceasedSoviet cosmonauts Yuri Gagarin and Vladimir Komarov, and Apollo 1 astronauts Gus Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee. The time spent on EVA duringApollo 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, by comparison, spent over 21 hours exploring the lunar surface.
Return to EarthEdit
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. The ascent engine had no switch to fire. Using part of a pen, they pushed the circuit breaker in to activate the launch sequence. Aldrin still possesses the pen which they used to do this. (Aldrin has it kept in a glass case for all to see). The lunar module then continued to its rendezvous and docked with Columbia, the command and service module, and returned to Earth. The command module splashed down in the Pacific ocean and the Apollo 11 crew was picked up by theUSS Hornet (CV-12). The Apollo 11 crew and PresidentRichard Nixon.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's 1969 USO show, primarily to Vietnam.
In May 1970, Armstrong traveled to the Soviet Union to present a talk at the 13th annual conference of the International Committee on Space Research. Arriving in Leningrad from Poland, he traveled to Moscow where he met Premier Alexei Kosygin. He was the first westerner to see the supersonic Tupolev Tu-144 and was given a tour of the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonauts Training Center, 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. It had not occurred to Armstrong that the mission was taking place, even though Valentina Tereshkova had been his host and her husband, Andriyan Nikolayev, was on board.