First man on moon Neil Armstrong dies

Last Updated: Sat, Aug 25, 2012 23:42 hrs
First man on moon Neil Armstrong dies

Columbus, USA, Aug 26 (IBNS) Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the surface of moon in July 1969, died on Saturday at Columbus in Ohio state of USA, his family said. He was 82.

Armstrong had underwent surgery on Aug 7 last to relieve blocked coronary arteries but he did not survive the post surgery complications.

According to family sources, Armstrong died of complications from cardiovascular procedures.

As commander of the Apollo 11 space flight he was the first man to set his foot on moon on July 20, 1969.

Born on Aug 5, 1930, Neil Alden Armstrong was an American NASA astronaut, test pilot, aerospace engineer, university professor and United States Naval Aviator besides stepping into history by that one small step on the moon that was indeed a giant step for mankind.

In a statement his family said: "We are heartbroken to share the news that Neil Armstrong has passed away following complications resulting from cardiovascular procedures.

"Neil was our loving husband, father, grandfather, brother and friend," it said.

It said: "Neil Armstrong was also a reluctant American hero who always believed he was just doing his job. He served his Nation proudly, as a navy fighter pilot, test pilot, and astronaut. He also found success back home in his native Ohio in business and academia, and became a community leader in Cincinnati.

"He remained an advocate of aviation and exploration throughout his life and never lost his boyhood wonder of these pursuits."

The family said as much as Neil cherished his privacy, he always appreciated the expressions of good will from people around the world and from all walks of life.

"While we mourn the loss of a very good man, we also celebrate his remarkable life and hope that it serves as an example to young people around the world to work hard to make their dreams come true, to be willing to explore and push the limits, and to selflessly serve a cause greater than themselves.

"For those who may ask what they can do to honor Neil, we have a simple request. Honor his example of service, accomplishment and modesty, and the next time you walk outside on a clear night and see the moon smiling down at you, think of Neil Armstrong and give him a wink."

Neil Armstrong was born in Wapakoneta, Ohio, to Stephen Koenig Armstrong and Viola Louise Engel. He was of Scots-Irish and German descent, and had two younger siblings, June and Dean.

In 1947, Armstrong began studying aerospace engineering at Purdue University.

After serving as a naval aviator from 1949 to 1952, Armstrong joined the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) in 1955. His first assignment was with the NACA Lewis Research Center (now NASA Glenn) in Cleveland. Over the next 17 years, he was an engineer, test pilot, astronaut and administrator for NACA and its successor agency, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

As a research pilot at NASA´s Flight Research Center, Edwards, Calif., he was a project pilot on many pioneering high speed aircraft, including the well known, 4000-mph X-15. He has flown over 200 different models of aircraft, including jets, rockets, helicopters and gliders.

Armstrong transferred to astronaut status in 1962. He was assigned as command pilot for the Gemini 8 mission. Gemini 8 was launched on March 16, 1966, and Armstrong performed the first successful docking of two vehicles in space.

As spacecraft commander for Apollo 11, the first manned lunar landing mission, Armstrong gained the distinction of being the first man to land a craft on the moon and first to step on its surface.

After moon landing, Armstrong, then 38, had famously said: "That´s one small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind."

In the moon mission Armstrong was with Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins. They had blasted off in Apollo 11 on a nearly 250,000-mile voyage to the moon that had taken four days.

The lunar module "Eagle" separated from the command module and then landed on moon.

"Tranquility Base here, the Eagle has landed," he had said after the landing.

Then as his feet touched the moon´s surface, he stepped into the history as the first human being to walk on the moon.

Armstrong subsequently held the position of Deputy Associate Administrator for Aeronautics, NASA Headquarters, Washington, D.C. In this position, he was responsible for the coordination and management of overall NASA research and technology work related to aeronautics.

He was Professor of Aerospace Engineering at the University of Cincinnati between 1971-1979. During the years 1982-1992, Armstrong was chairman of Computing Technologies for Aviation, Inc., Charlottesville, Va.

He received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Aeronautical Engineering from Purdue University and a Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Southern California. He holds honorary doctorates from a number of universities.

Armstrong is a Fellow of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots and the Royal Aeronautical Society; Honorary Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and the International Astronautics Federation.

He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the Academy of the Kingdom of Morocco. He served as a member of the National Commission on Space (1985-1986), as Vice-Chairman of the Presidential Commission on the Space Shuttle Challenger Accident (1986), and as Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee for the Peace Corps (1971-1973).

Armstrong has been decorated by 17 countries.

He is the recipient of many special honors, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom; the Congressional Space Medal of Honor; the Explorers Club Medal; the Robert H. Goddard Memorial Trophy; the NASA Distinguished Service Medal; the Harmon International Aviation Trophy; the Royal Geographic Society´s Gold Medal; the Federation Aeronautique Internationale´s Gold Space Medal; the American Astronautical Society Flight Achievement Award; the Robert J. Collier Trophy; the AIAA Astronautics Award; the Octave Chanute Award; and the John J. Montgomery Award.

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