Neil Alden Armstrong, 1930 - 2012
NASA portrait (1 July 1969)
Born: 5 August 1930, Wapakoneta, Ohio
Died: 25 August 2012, Cincinnati, Ohio
Neil Alden Armstrong was born at Wapakoneta, Ohio on 5 August 1930. At age six he had a ride in a Ford Trimotor, at fifteen he had his pilot's license. His father was a state auditor and the family lived in twenty towns in fifteen years but returned to Wapakoneta in time for Neil to graduate from high school there. He studied aerospace engineering at Purdue University under the Navy's Holloway Plan of two years of school, three years active duty, and two years to finish school. Armstrong flew 78 reconnaissance and bombing missions over Korea, including one in which he was hit by anti-aircraft fire, clipped a pole with one wing before gaining control, and limped back to friendly territory and ejected. He returned to Purdue, married, and graduated in 1955 (he would add a Master of Science from the University of Southern California in 1970). He became a test pilot for NACA (predecessor to NASA) at Edwards AFB, flying over 2,400 hours in over 200 models of planes, many experimental, including the X-15. Armstrong was one of the six pilot-engineers hired to fly the X-20 Dyno-Soar space plane, which was never built. He left when he was chosen as one of the second cadre of astronauts in 1962. He was Command Pilot of Gemini 8, NASA's first civilian astronaut, in which he docked with an Lockheed Agena target vehicle. One attitude control rocket shorted out and put the docked craft into a roll, it worsened when Armstrong separated, causing the Gemini capsule to rotate once per second. He shut down the main system and used the landing retros to stabilize the capsule, mission protocol required landing at the first opportunity after that and he conducted NASA's first emergency reentry. He is best known for the Apollo 11 mission during which he was the first person to walk on the Moon. Armstrong took an executive position at NASA for a year, taught engineering for eight years at the University of Cincinnati, bought a farm, and served on several corporate boards. He returned to NASA briefly to serve as vice-chairman of the Rogers Commission which investigated the Challenger mission failure. Armstrong had surgery to relieve blocked coronary arteries on 7 August 2012, he died from complications during his recovery.
There are two quotes from Armstrong that you will not find here. One has him claiming that "every human has a finite number of heartbeats" and asserts that he won't waste any of them jogging. The other is a risqué story that allegedly led to Armstrong saying "Good luck, Mr Gorsky" from the moon. He didn't say it, it isn't in any of the tapes from the mission, and he has denied the entire story. If you really want the details, just Google "Mr Gorsky". On the other hand, recent computer analysis of the recording shows that he really did say "one small step for a man", however briefly and masked by poor sound quality.
Additional quotes from Wikiquote. Wikiquote entries are "sourced" and may include items longer than those included here, particularly for poets, lyricists, and dramatists.
Neil Armstrong quotes:
Click here to find books by Neil Armstrong at Amazon.com
- As a boy, because I was born and raised in Ohio, about 60 miles north of Dayton, the legends of the Wrights have been in my memories as long as I can remember. permalink
- Fear is not an unknown emotion to us. permalink
- Geologists have a saying — rocks remember. permalink
- Gliders, sail planes, they're wonderful flying machines. It's the closest you can come to being a bird. permalink
- Here men from the planet Earth first set foot upon the moon. July 1969 A.D. We came in peace for all mankind. permalink
plaque left on the moon (July 1969)
- Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed. permalink
Radio transmission from the moon (20:17 UTC 20 July 1969)
- I am, and ever will be, a white socks, pocket protector, nerdy engineer. And I take a substantial amount of pride in the accomplishments of my profession. permalink
- I can honestly say — and it's a big surprise to me — that I have never had a dream about being on the moon. permalink
presentation to National Academy of Enginering (2000)
- I fully expected that, by the end of the century, we would have achieved substantially more than we actually did. permalink
- I guess we all like to be recognized not for one piece of fireworks, but for the ledger of our daily work. permalink
- I hope you become confortable with the use of logic wihout being deceived into concluding that logic will inevitably lead you to the correct conclusion. permalink
commencement address, University of Southern California (2005)
- 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. permalink
- I thought the attractions of being an astronaut were actually, not so much the Moon, but flying in a completely new medium. permalink
interveiw with James R. Hansen for First Man: The Life of Neil Armstrong
- In flying, the probability of survival is inversely proportional to the angle of arrival. permalink
- In much of society, research means to investigate something you do not know or understand. permalink
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