Neil Armstrong

(1930–2012)

Neil Armstrong

Anecdote 1...

On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong became the first human being to set foot on the moon. President Nixon authoritatively acclaimed the event as the greatest since the Creation. Armstrong himself, as he took the last step from the ladder of his lunar module onto the moon’s surface, said, “That’s one small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind.”

NOTE: As Andrew Chaikin details in A Man on the Moon, after the mission, Neil said that he had intended to say “one small step for a man” and believed that he had done so. However, he also agreed that the “a” didn't seem to be audible in the recordings. The important point is that the world had no problem understanding his meaning.

More about the famous      
“Footprint on the Moon.” →

 

Anecdote 2...

Photographer Yousuf Karsh and his wife were having lunch with Neil Armstrong after a photographic session. Armstrong politely questioned the couple about the many different countries they had visited. “But Mr. Armstrong,” protested Mrs. Karsh, “You’ve walked on the moon. We want to hear about your travels.”

“But that’s the only place I’ve ever been,” replied Armstrong apologetically.

Biographical Note: 

Armstrong held a degree in aeronautical engineering from Purdue University and a masters degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Southern California. From 1949 to 1952, Armstrong was a naval aviator. Upon leaving military service, he became a test pilot. While serving as a test pilot, he was chosen to be a member of the astronaut corps. Though he was on the backup crew of many previous flights, his first space flight occurred in 1966 aboard Gemini 8. During this flight, he and fellow astronaut David Scott successfully performed the first docking in space between two vehicles. In July of 1969, Neil Armstrong was the commander of Apollo 11, America’s first attempt to land a manned vehicle on the Moon. On July 20, 1969 Commander Armstrong and fellow astronaut Edwin Aldrin successfully touched down on the lunar surface. He and Aldrin explored the Moon's surface for 2.5 hours. Armstrong was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in recognition of his accomplishments and his contributions to the space program.