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26 August 2012

Death of an Icon: Neil Alden Armstrong (1930-2012)


Neil Alden Armstrong (1930-2012).
The first man to walk on the Moon died On August 25, 2012, Armstrong died in Cincinnati, Ohio, at the age of 82 due to complications from blocked coronary arteries.
On July 21, 1969 Neil A. Armstrong, Michael Collins and Edwin E. Aldrin Jr. where the first men to visit our Moon. Armstrong commanded the mission and was the first man to set foot on the moon. His famous words where "one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind." that all humanity remembers well.
To Neil's family and relatives, we send our deepest condolences and sympathy for their lost. Neil will be missed by everyone, but will always live in our history, memories and in our hearts.

Neil Alden Armstrong (August 5, 1930 – August 25, 2012) was an American astronaut, test pilot, aerospace engineer, university professor and United States Naval Aviator. He was the first person to walk on the Moon. Before becoming an astronaut, Armstrong was a United States Navy officer and had served in the Korean War. After the war, he served as a test pilot at the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics High-Speed Flight Station, now known as the Dryden Flight Research Center, where he logged over 900 flights. He graduated from Purdue University and the University of Southern California.
A participant in the U.S. Air Force's Man In Space Soonest and X-20 Dyna-Soar human spaceflight programs, Armstrong joined the NASA Astronaut Corps in 1962. His first spaceflight was the NASA Gemini 8 mission in 1966, for which he was the command pilot, becoming one of the first U.S. civilians in space. On this mission, he performed the first manned docking of two spacecraft with pilot David Scott.
Armstrong's second and last spaceflight was as mission commander of the Apollo 11 moon landing in July 1969. On this mission, Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin descended to the lunar surface and spent 2½ hours exploring, while Michael Collins remained in orbit in the Command Module. 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.

On July 21, 1969 Neil A. Armstrong, Michael Collins and Edwin E. Aldrin Jr. where the first men to visit our Moon. Armstrong commanded the mission and was the first man to set foot on the moon.


Apollo11 Mission to the Moon:
Launched by a Saturn V rocket from Kennedy Space Center in Merritt Island, Florida on July 16, Apollo 11 was the fifth manned mission of NASA's Apollo program. The Apollo spacecraft had three parts: a Command Module with a cabin for the three astronauts which was the only part which landed back on Earth; a Service Module containing propulsion, electrical power, oxygen and water; and a Lunar Module for landing on the Moon. After being sent to the Moon by the Saturn V's upper stage, the astronauts separated the spacecraft from it and traveled for three days until they entered into lunar orbit. Armstrong and Aldrin then moved into the Lunar Module and landed in the Sea of Tranquility. They stayed a total of about 21½ hours on the lunar surface, including about 2½ hours outside the spacecraft. After lifting off in the upper part of the Lunar Module and rejoining Collins in the Command Module, they returned to Earth and landed in the Pacific Ocean on July 24.


The famous controversy about the missing "a":
Armstrong had decided on this statement following a train of thought that he had had after launch and during the hours after landing. The broadcast did not have the "a" before "man", rendering the phrase a contradiction (as man in such use is synonymous with mankind). NASA and Armstrong insisted for years that static had obscured the "a", with Armstrong stating he would never make such a mistake, but after repeated listenings to recordings, Armstrong admitted he must have dropped the "a". Armstrong later said he "would hope that history would grant me leeway for dropping the syllable and understand that it was certainly intended, even if it was not said – although it might actually have been".

Armstrong views of future space exploration:
The press often asked Armstrong for his views on the future of spaceflight. In 2005, Armstrong said that a manned mission to Mars will be easier than the lunar challenge of the 1960s: "I suspect that even though the various questions are difficult and many, they are not as difficult and many as those we faced when we started the Apollo [space program] in 1961." In 2010, he made a rare public criticism of the decision to cancel the Ares 1 launch vehicle and the Constellation moon landing program. In an open public letter also signed by Apollo veterans Jim Lovell and Gene Cernan, he noted, "For The United States, the leading space faring nation for nearly half a century, to be without carriage to low Earth orbit and with no human exploration capability to go beyond Earth orbit for an indeterminate time into the future, destines our nation to become one of second or even third rate stature". Armstrong had also publicly recalled his initial concerns about the Apollo 11 mission, when he had believed there was only a 50% chance of landing on the moon. "I was elated, ecstatic and extremely surprised that we were successful", he later said.

Read more on Neil Armstrong on Wikipedia
Read more on Apollo 11 mission on Wikipedia