Neil Armstrong, an astronaut with the courage and competence to qualify for the mission of landing on earth’s natural satellite, the moon! As a student, he was outstanding and has always proved to be a person with that extra edge!Armstrong as a child: Born on August 5, 1930, in northwest Ohio near Wapakoneta, Neil Alden Armstrong grew up to become the first man to land on moon! He was the eldest son of his parents, Stephen and Viola Engel Armstrong. Neil's father worked as an auditor for the state government. He traveled to many countries due to his job. His family had to move with him to places like Jefferson, Havana, Upper Sandusky and Warren. Finally, the Armstrongs moved back to Wapakoneta, Ohio and settled there. As a child, Neil, with his siblings Dean and June, had to do the daily chores like weeding the garden or helping with the laundry.
At the age of two, Neil went with his father to see the 1932 Cleveland National Air Races. On seeing the planes fly, he fell in love with flying. When young, Neil enjoyed reading books. His exceptional intelligence was evident in his ability to read as good as the fifth graders, when in the first grade. He was a lover of Science and Math. He began learning astronomy. Planets and stars amazed him. Through a telescope possessed by his neighbor, he used to gaze at the stars and especially at the moon!
At a raw age of six, Neil took a plane ride in a Tin Goose. During the next few years, he made many model airplanes and made a wind tunnel in the basement of his house to test them. He began taking flying lessons when he was fourteen, and what a wonder, before getting even his driver’s license; he was issued a pilot's license at an age of sixteen! He was a student of Blume High School. He completed his schooling in 1947.
Armstrong as a young man: Neil joined Purdue University to obtain a degree in Aeronautical engineering. During his years at Purdue, Neil was away for a while, acting as a pilot in the Korean War. He returned to Purdue to complete his degree. Neil earned a bachelor’s degree in aeronautical engineering from Purdue University in 1955 and then a master’s degree in aerospace engineering from University of Southern California. He later received honorary doctorates from a number of universities. He took up a job with the Lewis Flight Propulsion Laboratory of NACA, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics in Ohio. He was selected as a NACA pilot to fly the X-15 rocket-engine plane. Once he made a record by attaining an altitude of 207,500 feet and a speed of 3,989 miles per hour. In 1956, he wedded fellow Purdue student Janet Shearon.
Prior to joining the space program, Armstrong worked as an engineer at NASA Dryden. Leaving NASA Dryden and the flight research community to join the space program was not an easy decision for him.
Armstrong’s way to the Moon: In January 1969 he was chosen to command the Apollo 11 mission of landing on the moon. Armstrong, accompanied by astronauts, Michael Collins and Edwin Aldrin, left from the Kennedy Space Center on the 16th of July. A small spacecraft named Eagle carried Armstrong and Aldrin on the moon. At 4:17:40 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time on July 20, mission ‘Lunar Landing’ was accomplished! At 10:56 P.M. Armstrong stepped on the moon and said, "That's one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind." He, joined by Aldrin, performed experiments, collected samples and lodged an American flag on the grounds of the moon. They left some medals there, in memory of spacemen who had died during their missions. On the 24th of July, they returned to earth.
He joined NASA's Office of Advanced Research and Technology where he promoted research into computer-controlled aircrafts. In 1971, he resigned from NASA and started working at the University of Cincinnati in Ohio. He served for seven years as a professor of aerospace engineering. He led the government commission to examine the devastating explosion of the Challenger space shuttle. He was a chairman of Computing Technologies for Aviation in Charlottesville. He chaired the AIL Systems. In 2002, he retired from EDO Corporation.
Awards conferred to Neil Armstrong: He is the recipient of many special honors, including the Presidential Medal for Freedom and the Robert J. Collier Trophy conferred to him in 1969. In 1970, he was awarded the Robert H. Goddard Memorial Trophy. He was given the Congressional Space Medal of Honor in 1978.He was one of the first 6 recipients of this honor. He received the Langley Medal on account of the thirtieth anniversary of the Apollo 11. Presidential Medal of Freedom was conferred to him. NASA Distinguished Service Medal, the NASA Exceptional Service Medal and seventeen other medals from different nations find a place in his list of awards.
Armstrong and Carol Knight met in 1992 at a golf tournament and ended up becoming life partners. They tied themselves in a wedding knot on June 12, 1994. They had children. Today, Armstrong is a father of two. As a person, he is composed. His privacy is important for him. He does not have a large ego. On seeing the earth from the moon, he had said, "It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth. I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth. I didn't feel like a giant. I felt very, very small." These words, I feel, reflect his humility, the depth in his thinking and his perception of life.
Astronaut, military pilot, educator. Born on August 5, 1930, near Wapakoneta, Ohio. On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong made history by becoming the first man to walk on the moon. He developed a fascination with flight at an early age and earned his student pilot's license when he was 16. In 1947, Armstrong began his studies in aeronautical engineering at Purdue University on a U.S. Navy scholarship.
His studies, however, were interrupted in 1949 when he was called to serve in the Korean War. A U.S. Navy pilot, Armstrong flew 78 combat missions during this military conflict. He left the service in 1952, and returned to college. A few years later, Armstrong joined the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), which later became the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). For this government agency he worked in a number of different capacities, including serving as a test pilot and an engineer. He tested many high-speed aircraft, including the X-15, which could reach a top speed of 4,000 miles per hour.
In his personal life, Armstrong started to settle down. He married Janet Shearon on January 28, 1956. The couple soon added to their family. Son Eric arrived in 1957, followed daughter Karen in 1959. Sadly, Karen died of complications related to an inoperable brain tumor in January 1962.
That same year, Armstrong joined the astronaut program. He and his family moved to Houston, Texas, and Armstrong served as the command pilot for his first mission, Gemini VIII. He and fellow astronaut David Scott were launched into the earth's orbit on March 16, 1966. While in orbit, they were able to briefly dock their space capsule with the Gemini Agena target vehicle. This was the first time two vehicles had successfully docked in space. During this maneuver, however, they experienced some problems and had to cut their mission short. They landed in the Pacific Ocean nearly 11 hours after the mission's start, and were later rescued by the U.S.S. Mason.
Armstrong faced an even bigger challenge in 1969. Along with Michael Collins and Edwin E. "Buzz" Aldrin, he was part of NASA's first manned mission to the moon. The trio were launched into space on July 16, 1969. Serving as the mission's commander, Armstrong piloted the Lunar Module to the moon's surface on July 20, 1969, with Buzz Aldrin aboard. Collins remained on the Command Module.
At 10:56 PM, Armstrong exited the Lunar Module. He said, "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind," as he made his famous first step on the moon. For about two and a half hours, Armstrong and Aldrin collected samples and conducted experiments. They also took photographs, including their own footprints.
Returning on July 24, 1969, the Apollo 11 craft came down in the Pacific Ocean west of Hawaii. The crew and the craft were picked up by the U.S.S. Hornet, and the three astronauts were put into quarantine for three weeks.
Before long, the three Apollo 11 astronauts were given a warm welcome home. Crowds lined the streets of New York City to cheer on the famous heroes who were honored in a ticker-tape parade. Armstrong received numerous awards for his efforts, including the Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Space Medal of Honor.