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Astronaut, military pilot, and educator, Neil Armstrong made history on July 20, 1969, by becoming the first man to walk on the moon.
Watch a short video about Neil Armstrong and find out what steps this astronaut took before taking man's first steps on the moon.
Neil Armstrong joined the organization that would become NASA in 1962 and was command pilot for his first mission, Gemini VIII, in 1966. He was spacecraft commander for Apollo 11 and the first man to walk on the moon.
In July 1969, Neil Armstrong took his first steps on the lunar surface during the Apollo 11 mission. (Video courtesy of NASA.)
Neil Armstrong discusses the Space Race and its positive impact on relations between the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold War. (Video courtesy of NASA.)
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Neil Armstrong was born in Wapakoneta, Ohio, on August 5, 1930. After serving in the Korean War and then finishing college, he joined the organization that would become NASA. He joined the astronaut program in 1962 and was command pilot for his first mission, Gemini VIII, in 1966. He was spacecraft commander for Apollo 11, the first manned lunar mission, and became the first man to walk on the moon. He died in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 2012.
"It's a brilliant surface in that sunlight. The horizon seems quite close to you because the curvature is so much more pronounced than here on earth. It's an interesting place to be. I recommend it."
[Describing the moon.]
"That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind."
"America is respected for its contributions it has made in learning to sail on this new ocean. If the leadership we have acquired through our investment is simply allowed to fade away, other nations will surely step in where we have faltered. I do not believe that would be in our best interests."
"The exciting part for me, as a pilot, was the landing on the moon."
"A century hence, 2000 may be viewed as quite a primitive period in human history. It's something to hope for."
"There are great ideas undiscovered, breakthroughs available to those who can remove one of truth's protective layers. There are places to go beyond belief."
"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."
"Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed."
"Neil was among the greatest of American heroes--not just of his time, but of all time."
"My friend Neil took the small step but giant leap that changed the world and will forever be remembered as a landmark moment in human history."
Astronaut Neil Armstrong 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. The following year, the Armstrongs welcomed their third child, son Mark.
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.
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