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Neil Armstrong

Neil ArmstrongAKA Neil Alden Armstrong

Born: 5-Aug-1930
Birthplace: Wapakoneta, OH
Died: 25-Aug-2012
Location of death: Cincinnati, OH
Cause of death: Complications of Surgery
Remains: Burial at sea, Atlantic Ocean, off Florida's eastern coast

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Astronaut

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: First man on the Moon

Military service: US Navy (pilot, Korean War)

Neil Armstrong was the first man to walk on the moon. It happened on 20 July 1969, and millions of people watched worldwide on live television. His mission and safe return are widely considered to be among America's greatest accomplishments of the 20th century.

Armstrong was a Navy fighter pilot in the Korean war, and flew 78 combat missions. Later, as a civilian, he flew extensively as a test pilot. As a NASA astronaut, he commanded Gemini VIII in 1966, which conducted the first rendezvous of two spacecraft in orbit, and narrowly averted disaster when a stuck thruster made the Gemini craft roll and yaw uncontrollably. In 1968, the pressurization system for the steering jets on Armstrong's lunar landing research vehicle failed. Armstrong ejected safely, but the $1.5 million vehicle was a complete loss.

In 1969, Armstrong commanded the Apollo 11 mission, and made history. Without in any way minimizing his courage -- space travel was and remains very dangerous -- it's worth remembering that Armstrong's accomplishment was not his alone. Two other astronauts (Michael Collins and Buzz Aldrin) accompanied him on his most famous mission, and the Apollo program was designed, constructed, and monitored all along its way by thousands of experts. It cost more than $25 billion -- about 1/6 of the cost of the Vietnam war, in 1960s dollars.

NASA higher-ups decided which astronauts would make which missions, and any of the astronauts could have been chosen. When the crew for Apollo 11 was named, NASA decided weeks in advance that Armstrong, not Aldrin, would be the first to step out of the landing vehicle, and thus forever be the correct answer on history and science quizzes.

Even Armstrong's famous words when he stepped onto the moon ("That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind") were scripted for him -- and either flubbed or garbled in transmission. It was supposed to be "one small step for a man", which makes much more sense.

Father: Stephen Armstrong
Mother: Viola Armstrong
Wife: Janet Shearon Armstrong (m. 1956, div. 1994, two sons)
Wife: Carol Held Knight

    High School: Blume High School (Wapakoneta, OH; 1947)
    University: BS Aeronautical Engineering, Purdue University
    University: MS Aerospace Engineering, University of Southern California
    Professor: Engineering, University of Cincinnati (1971-79)

    Alfalfa Club 1970
    American Astronautical Society Fellow
    Explorers Club
    National Academy of Engineering
    Phi Delta Theta Fraternity
    Presidential Medal of Freedom
    Silver Buffalo
    Distinguished Eagle Scout Award
    Eagle Scout 1947
    Congressional Space Medal of Honor 1978
    Hollywood Walk of Fame
    National Aviation Hall of Fame
    Heart Attack (Feb-1991)
    Heart Bypass Operation 2012
    Ticker-Tape Parade for the crew of Apollo 11 (13-Aug-1969)
    Asteroid Namesake 6469 Armstrong
    Walked on the Moon 20-Jul-1969
    Visited Disneyland (15-Jul-2005)

    Apollo 11 (24-Jan-2019) · Himself
    Chappaquiddick (10-Sep-2017) · Himself
    Fly Me to the Moon 3D (30-Jan-2008) · Himself

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