Neil Armstrong, the first man on moon is dead. He died at the age of 82, following heart surgery. It has been 43 years since Neil took the giant leap for mankind. Both him and fellow astronaut Edwin Aldrin ‘Buzz’, had spent 3 hours on the surface on the moon in the year 1969. Neil’s quote “That’s one step for man, one giant leap for mankind” is one of the top ten historic quotes in the world. Earlier this month, Neil had gone through a heart surgery. He died due to complications from blocked coronary arteries.
The Soviet Union and America were I state of cold war in their bid for space race, which began after the Soviet Union’s Sputnik 1, a 184 pound satellite was the first satellite to conquer space. They even sent the first man in space, with the late Yuri Gagarin being the first to venture into space and orbit the earth on April 12, 1961. The landing on man on moon, with Neil Armstrong setting foot on the Earth’s only natural satellite on July 20, 1969 was a proud moment for the United States.
.The hero was born on August 5, 19.30 on a farm near Wapakoneta in Western Oho. He had a first ride on the airplane at the age of 6. The little kid developed a fascination for aviation and began to build model airplanes and would conduct tests in a homemade wind tunnel.
Neil Armstrong used to work in a pharmacy as a kid and it was at this time, that he would take flying lesions. By 16, he got a license to fly, much before he got a driving license. Armstrong enrolled in Purdue University to study aeronautical engineering and he got a job with the US Navy in 1949. After he completed his degree from Purdue, Neil earned a master’s degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Southern California. He became a test pilot with what turned into NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) flying more than 200 types of planes, gliders, jets and many more.
Armstrong was backup commander for the historic Apollo 8 mission at Christmastime in 1968. In that flight, Commander Frank Borman, Jim Lovell and Bill Anders went around moon ten times. Seven months later, when the duo, Neil and Edwin set foot on moon, they couldn’t control their emotions. Though they were asked to refrain from ‘free exchange of sentiments’, the winsome duo were ecstatic. ‘But there was that moment on the moon, a brief moment, in which we sort of looked at each other and slapped each other on the shoulder … and said, `We made it. Good show,’ or something like that,’ Aldrin said.
July 20, 1969 was a golden day in the history of America, around 1/5 of the world’s population or 600 million people stopped whatever they were doing and watched the news on television. Some enthusiasts even gazed at the skies in awe of what they had just witnessed, while others peeked through telescopes in the hope of getting a view of the astronauts. Neil Armstrong was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Richard Nixon along with Collins and Aldrin, the Congressional Space Medal of Honor by President Jimmy Carter in 1978, and the Congressional Gold Medal in 2009.
Though Amstrong was a huge public favorite, he preferred to stay out of limelight. In 1970, he was appointed deputy associate administrator for aeronautics at NASA but he quit the job to teach aeropace engineering at the University of Cincinnati. Private to a fault, Neil remained their till 1979 and even purchased a 310 acre land in Lebanon to raise corn and cattle. Ron Houston, a colleague a the University of Cincinnati says, “He didn’t’ give interviews but he wasn’t a strange person or hard to talk to. He just didn’t like being a novelty”. People close to him say that Neil Armstrong had a good sense of humor and loved golfing with friends, ate lunch at the same restaurant in London and was active in the local MCA.
Known to take no pleasure in the glamor and glitz of space triumph, Neil Armstrong in one of his rare appearances in February 2000, said, ‘I am and ever will be, a white socks, a pocket protector, nerdy engineer. And I take a substantial amount of pride in the accomplishments of my profession.” The historic Apollo 11 mission flight was Neil Armstrong’s last flight.
Neil Armstrong raised concerns in 2010 about President Barack Obama’s space policy that shifted attention from another moon mission, and said that private companies should invest in spaceships and space exploration.
In the Australian interview, Armstrong acknowledged that ‘now and then I miss the excitement about being in the cockpit of an airplane and doing new things.’ God bless the reluctant American hero and one of the inspiring people ever to have walked on the Earth and on the Moon – Neil Armstrong