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Neil Alden Armstrong (August 5, 1930 – August 25, 2012) was an American
astronaut An astronaut (from the Greek "astron" (ἄστρον), meaning "star", and "nautes" (ναύτης), meaning "sailor") is a person trained, equipped, and deployed by a List of human spaceflight programs, human spaceflight program to serve as a ...

astronaut
and
aeronautical engineer Aerospace engineering is the primary field of engineering Engineering is the use of scientific method, scientific principles to design and build machines, structures, and other items, including bridges, tunnels, roads, vehicles, and build ...

aeronautical engineer
, and the first human being to walk on the Moon. He was also a
naval aviator Naval aviation is the application of Military aviation, military air power by Navy, navies, whether from warships that embark aircraft, or land bases. Naval aviation is typically projected to a position nearer the target by way of an aircraft c ...
,
test pilot A test pilot is an aircraft pilot An aircraft pilot or aviator is a person who controls the flight of an aircraft An aircraft is a vehicle or machine that is able to fly Flies are insect Insects or Insecta (from Lat ...
, and
university professor Professor (commonly abbreviated as Prof.) is an Academy, academic rank at university, universities and other post-secondary education and research institutions in most countries. Literally, ''professor'' derives from Latin as a "person who pr ...
. Armstrong was born and raised in
Wapakoneta, Ohio Wapakoneta, (, ) is a city in and the county seat of Auglaize County, Ohio, Auglaize County, Ohio, United States, about north of Dayton, Ohio, Dayton and south of Toledo, Ohio, Toledo. The population was 9,867 at the 2010 United States Census, ...
. A graduate of
Purdue University Purdue University is a in , and the flagship campus of the . The university was founded in 1869 after businessman donated land and money to establish a college of science, technology, and agriculture in his name. The first classes were hel ...
, he studied aeronautical engineering; his college tuition was paid for by the
U.S. Navy ), (unofficial)."''Non sibi sed patriae''" ( en, "Not for self but for country") (unofficial). , colors = Blue and gold  , colors_label = Colors , march = " Anchors Aweigh" ...
under the Holloway Plan. He became a
midshipman A midshipman is an officer of the lowest rank Rank is the relative position, value, worth, complexity, power, importance, authority, level, etc. of a person or object within a ranking A ranking is a relationship between a set of items such ...
in 1949 and a naval aviator the following year. He saw action in the
Korean War The Korean War (see § Names) was a war fought between North Korea North Korea, officially the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), is a country in East Asia, constituting the northern part of the Korean Peninsula. It b ...

Korean War
, flying the
Grumman F9F Panther The Grumman F9F Panther is one of the United States Navy's first successful aircraft carrier, carrier-based jet fighters, as well as Grumman’s first jet fighter. A single-engined, straight-winged day fighter, it was armed with four Hispano-Suiz ...

Grumman F9F Panther
from the
aircraft carrier An aircraft carrier is a that serves as a seagoing , equipped with a full-length and facilities for . Typically, it is the of a fleet, as it allows a naval force to worldwide without depending on . Carriers have evolved since their incepti ...
. In September 1951, while making a low bombing run, Armstrong's aircraft was damaged when it collided with an anti-aircraft cable, strung across a valley, which cut off a large portion of one wing. Armstrong was forced to bail out. After the war, he completed his bachelor's degree at Purdue and became a test pilot at the
National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics The National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) was a United States federal agency founded on March 3, 1915, to undertake, promote, and institutionalize aeronautical research. On October 1, 1958, the agency was dissolved and its assets ...
(NACA) High-Speed Flight Station at
Edwards Air Force Base Edwards Air Force Base (AFB) is a United States Air Force installation This is a list of installations operated by the United States Air Force The United States Air Force (USAF) is the Atmosphere of Earth, air military branch, service ...
in
California California is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper i ...

California
. He was the project pilot on
Century Series The Century Series is a popular name for a group of United States, US fighter aircraft representing models designated between F-100 and F-106 which went into full production. They included the first successful supersonic aircraft designs in th ...
fighters and flew the
North American X-15 The North American X-15 is a hypersonic rocket-powered aircraft. It was operated by the United States Air Force and the NASA, National Aeronautics and Space Administration as part of the List of X-planes, X-plane series of experimental aircraft ...

North American X-15
seven times. He was also a participant in the
U.S. Air Force The United States Air Force (USAF) is the air File:Atmosphere gas proportions.svg, Composition of Earth's atmosphere by volume, excluding water vapor. Lower pie represents trace gases that together compose about 0.043391% of the atmosphe ...
's
Man in Space Soonest Man In Space Soonest (MISS) was a United States Air Force The United States Air Force (USAF) is the Atmosphere of Earth, air military branch, service branch of the United States Armed Forces. It is one of the eight uniformed services of th ...
and
X-20 Dyna-Soar The Boeing X-20 Dyna-Soar ("Dynamic Soarer") was a United States Air Force (USAF) program to develop a spaceplane that could be used for a variety of military missions, including aerial reconnaissance, bomber, bombing, space rescue, satellite m ...
human spaceflight Human spaceflight (also referred to as manned spaceflight or crewed spaceflight) is spaceflight Spaceflight (or space flight) is an application of astronautics to fly spacecraft into or through outer space, either human spaceflight, with o ...

human spaceflight
programs. Armstrong joined the
NASA Astronaut Corps The NASA Astronaut Corps is a unit of the United States NASA, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) that selects, trains, and provides astronauts as crew members for U.S. and international space missions. It is based at Johnson Spa ...
in the second group, which was selected in 1962. He made his first
spaceflight Spaceflight (or space flight) is an application of astronautics to fly spacecraft into or through outer space, either human spaceflight, with or uncrewed spaceflight, without humans on board. Most spaceflight is uncrewed and conducted mainly wit ...
as command pilot of
Gemini 8 Gemini 8 (officially Gemini VIII) With Gemini IV, NASA changed to Roman numerals for Gemini mission designations. was the sixth crewed spaceflight in NASA The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA; ) is an independent agenci ...
in March 1966, becoming
NASA The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA; ) is an independent agency A regulatory agency or regulatory authority, is a Public benefit corporation Public-benefit corporation is a term that has different meanings in differen ...

NASA
's first civilian astronaut to fly in space. During this mission with pilot
David Scott David Randolph Scott (born June 6, 1932) is an American retired test pilot A test pilot is an aircraft pilot with additional training to fly and evaluate experimental, newly produced and modified aircraft with specific maneuvers, known ...

David Scott
, he performed the first docking of two
spacecraft A spacecraft is a vehicle or machine designed to fly in outer space. A type of artificial satellite alt=, A full-size model of the Earth observation satellite ERS 2 ">ERS_2.html" ;"title="Earth observation satellite ERS 2">Earth obse ...

spacecraft
; the mission was aborted after Armstrong used some of his re-entry control fuel to stabilize a dangerous roll caused by a stuck thruster. During training for Armstrong's second and last spaceflight as commander of
Apollo 11 Apollo 11 was the spaceflight Spaceflight (or space flight) is an application of astronautics to fly spacecraft into or through outer space, either human spaceflight, with or uncrewed spaceflight, without humans on board. Most spacefli ...

Apollo 11
, he had to eject from the
Lunar Landing Research Vehicle The Bell Aerosystems Lunar Landing Research Vehicle (LLRV, nicknamed the Flying Bedstead) was a Apollo program, Project Apollo era program to build a simulator for the Moon landings. The LLRVs were used by the FRC, now known as the NASA Armstrong ...
moments before a crash. On July 20, 1969, Armstrong and Apollo 11
Lunar Module The Apollo Lunar Module, or simply Lunar Module (LM ), originally designated the Lunar Excursion Module (LEM), was the lander spacecraft that was flown between lunar orbit and the Moon's surface during the U.S. Apollo program The Apollo p ...
(LM) pilot
Buzz Aldrin Buzz Aldrin (; born Edwin Eugene Aldrin Jr., January 20, 1930) is an American former astronaut An astronaut (from the Greek "astron" (ἄστρον), meaning "star", and "nautes" (ναύτης), meaning "sailor") is a person trained, e ...

Buzz Aldrin
became the first people to
land on the Moon
land on the Moon
, and the next day they spent two and a half hours outside the Lunar Module ''Eagle'' spacecraft while Michael Collins remained in lunar orbit in the Apollo Command Module ''Columbia''. When Armstrong first stepped onto the lunar surface, he famously said: "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." It was broadcast live to an estimated 530 million viewers worldwide. Apollo 11 effectively proved US victory in the
Space Race The Space Race was a 20th-century competition between two Cold War The Cold War was a period of geopolitical tension between the United States and the Soviet Union and their respective allies, the Western Bloc and the Eastern Bloc, whi ...
, by fulfilling a national goal proposed in 1961 by President
John F. Kennedy John Fitzgerald Kennedy (May 29, 1917 – November 22, 1963), often referred to by his initials JFK, was an American politician who served as the 35th president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the ...

John F. Kennedy
"of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth" before the end of the decade. Along with Collins and Aldrin, Armstrong was awarded the
Presidential Medal of Freedom The Presidential Medal of Freedom is an award bestowed by the to recognize people who have made "an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant publi ...

Presidential Medal of Freedom
by President
Richard Nixon Richard Milhous Nixon (January 9, 1913April 22, 1994) was the 37th president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the and of the . The president directs the of the and is the of the . The power o ...

Richard Nixon
and received the 1969
Collier Trophy The Robert J. Collier Trophy is an annual aviation Aviation is the activities surrounding mechanical flight Flight or flying is the process by which an object (physics), object motion (physics), moves through a space without contacting ...
. President
Jimmy Carter James Earl Carter Jr. (born October 1, 1924) is an American politician, businessman, and philanthropist who served as the 39th president of the United States from 1977 to 1981. A member of the Democratic Party (United States), Democratic Par ...

Jimmy Carter
presented him with the
Congressional Space Medal of Honor The Congressional Space Medal of Honor was authorized by the United States Congress in 1969 to recognize "any astronaut who in the performance of his or her duties has distinguished himself or herself by exceptionally meritorious efforts and co ...
in 1978, he was inducted into the
National Aviation Hall of Fame The National Aviation Hall of Fame (NAHF) is a museum, annual awards ceremony and learning and research center that was founded in 1962 as an Ohio non-profit corporation in Dayton, Ohio, United States, known as the "Birthplace of Aviation" with it ...
in 1979, and with his former crewmates received the
Congressional Gold Medal The Congressional Gold Medal is an award bestowed by the United States Congress. It is Congress's highest expression of national appreciation for distinguished achievements and contributions by individuals or institutions. The congressional pra ...
in 2009. After he resigned from NASA in 1971, Armstrong taught in the Department of Aerospace Engineering at the
University of Cincinnati The University of Cincinnati (UC or Cincinnati) is a public In public relations Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing and disseminating information from an individual or an organization An organization, or organis ...
until 1979. He served on the
Apollo 13 Apollo 13 was the seventh crewed mission in the Apollo space program The Apollo program, also known as Project Apollo, was the third United States human spaceflight Human spaceflight (also referred to as manned spaceflight or cr ...
accident investigation and on the
Rogers Commission The Rogers Commission Report was created by a Presidential Commission charged with investigating the Space Shuttle ''Challenger'' disaster during its 10th mission, STS-51-L. The report, released and submitted to President Ronald Reagan ...
, which investigated the Space Shuttle ''Challenger'' disaster. In 2012, Armstrong died due to complications resulting from
coronary bypass surgery Coronary artery bypass surgery, also known as coronary artery bypass graft (CABG, pronounced "cabbage") surgery, and colloquially heart bypass or bypass surgery, is a surgical procedure to reperfusion therapy, restore normal blood flow to an obs ...
, at the age of 82.


Early life

Armstrong was born near
Wapakoneta, Ohio Wapakoneta, (, ) is a city in and the county seat of Auglaize County, Ohio, Auglaize County, Ohio, United States, about north of Dayton, Ohio, Dayton and south of Toledo, Ohio, Toledo. The population was 9,867 at the 2010 United States Census, ...
, on August 5, 1930, the son of Viola Louise (née Engel) and Stephen Koenig Armstrong. He was of German, Scots-Irish, and Scottish descent. He had a younger sister, June, and a younger brother, Dean. His father was an
auditorAn auditor is a person or a firm appointed by a company A company, abbreviated as co., is a Legal personality, legal entity representing an association of people, whether Natural person, natural, Legal personality, legal or a mixture of both, wit ...
for the Ohio state government, and the family moved around the state repeatedly, living in 16 towns over the next 14 years. Armstrong's love for flying grew during this time, having started at the age of two when his father took him to the
Cleveland Air RacesImage:1931 NationalAirRace.jpg, 163px, 1931 National Air Race The National Air Races (also known as Pulitzer Trophy Races) are a series of pylon turn, pylon and cross-country air racing, races that have taken place in the United States since 1920. Th ...
. When he was five or six, he experienced his first airplane flight in
Warren, Ohio Warren is a city in and the county seat A county seat is an administrative centerAn administrative centre is a seat of regional administration or local government, or a county town, or the place where the central administration of a Township, ...
, when he and his father took a ride in a
Ford Trimotor The Ford Trimotor (also called the "Tri-Motor", and nicknamed the "Tin Goose") is an American Trimotor, three-engined transport plane, transport aircraft. Production started in 1925 by the companies of Henry Ford and ended on June 7, 1933. A to ...

Ford Trimotor
(also known as the "Tin Goose"). The family's last move was in 1944 and took them back to Wapakoneta, where Armstrong attended
Blume High School The former Blume High School is a historic building in downtown Wapakoneta, Ohio Wapakoneta, (, ) is a city in and the county seat A county seat is an administrative center, seat of government, or capital city of a county or Parish (administrat ...
and took flying lessons at the Wapakoneta airfield. He earned a student flight certificate on his 16th birthday, then soloed in August, all before he had a driver's license. He was an active
Boy Scout A Scout (in some countries a Boy Scout, Girl Scout, or Pathfinder) is a child, usually 10–18 years of age, participating in the worldwide Scouting movement. Because of the large age and Developmental psychology, development span, many Scouti ...
and earned the rank of
Eagle ScoutEagle Scout may refer to several ranks in Scout organizations around the world: * Eagle Scout (Boy Scouts of America) ** List of Eagle Scouts * Eagle Scout (Boy Scouts of the Philippines) * Pramuka Garuda (Eagle Scout), the highest rank of Gerakan P ...
. As an adult, he was recognized by the Scouts with their
Distinguished Eagle Scout Award The Distinguished Eagle Scout Award (DESA) is a distinguished service award of the Boy Scouts of America The Boy Scouts of America (BSA, colloquially the Boy Scouts) is one of the largest scouting organizations and one of the largest List o ...
and
Silver Buffalo Award The Silver Buffalo Award is the national-level distinguished service award of the Boy Scouts of America. It is presented for noteworthy and extraordinary service to youth on a national basis, either as part of, or independent of the Scouting prog ...
. While flying toward the Moon on July 18, 1969, he sent his regards to attendees at the National Scout jamboree in
Idaho Idaho () is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper in ...

Idaho
. Among the few personal items that he carried with him to the Moon and back was a World Scout Badge. At age 17, in 1947, Armstrong began studying
aeronautical engineering Aerospace engineering is the primary field of engineering Engineering is the use of scientific method, scientific principles to design and build machines, structures, and other items, including bridges, tunnels, roads, vehicles, and build ...

aeronautical engineering
at
Purdue University Purdue University is a in , and the flagship campus of the . The university was founded in 1869 after businessman donated land and money to establish a college of science, technology, and agriculture in his name. The first classes were hel ...
in
West Lafayette, Indiana West Lafayette () is a city in Wabash Township, Tippecanoe County, Indiana Indiana () is a U.S. state in the Midwestern United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or Amer ...
. He was the second person in his family to attend college. He was also accepted to the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingdom, British singer Dusty Springfield, aft ...
(MIT), but he resolved to go to Purdue after watching a
football Football is a family of s that involve, to varying degrees, a to score a . Unqualified, normally means the form of football that is the most popular where the word is used. Sports commonly called ''football'' include (known as ''soccer'' ...

football
game between the
Purdue Boilermakers The Purdue Boilermakers are the official intercollegiate athletics College athletics encompasses non-professional A professional is a member of a profession or any person who earns their living from a specified professional activity. The ter ...
and the
Ohio State Buckeyes The Ohio State Buckeyes are the intercollegiate athletic {{Short pages monitor
Neil Armstrong Commemorative Website
University of Cincinnati The University of Cincinnati (UC or Cincinnati) is a public In public relations Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing and disseminating information from an individual or an organization An organization, or organis ...

Neil Armstrong collected news and commentary
''The New York Times''. * * {{DEFAULTSORT:Armstrong, Neil Neil Armstrong, 1930 births 1966 in spaceflight 1969 in spaceflight 2012 deaths Academics from Ohio American aerospace businesspeople American aerospace engineers American deists American Korean War pilots United States Navy personnel of the Korean War American people of German descent American people of Irish descent American people of Scotch-Irish descent American people of Scottish descent American test pilots Apollo 11, *Armstrong Articles containing video clips Aviators from Ohio Burials at sea Collier Trophy recipients Congressional Gold Medal recipients Engineering academics Gold Logie winners Members of the United States National Academy of Engineering Military personnel from Ohio NASA civilian astronauts National Aviation Hall of Fame inductees People from Indian Hill, Ohio People from Wapakoneta, Ohio People who have walked on the Moon Presidential Medal of Freedom recipients Purdue University School of Aeronautics and Astronautics alumni Recipients of the Air Medal Recipients of the Congressional Space Medal of Honor Recipients of the Cullum Geographical Medal Recipients of the NASA Distinguished Service Medal Recipients of the NASA Exceptional Service Medal Shot-down aviators United States Astronaut Hall of Fame inductees United States Naval Aviators United States Navy officers University of Cincinnati faculty USC Viterbi School of Engineering alumni X-15 program NASA Astronaut Group 2 Members of the American Philosophical Society