Neil Alden Armstrong is known as the first person who ever walked on the moon. He was born on August 5, 1930, on Wapakoneta, Ohio, and died on August 25, 2012, in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Besides being known for this historic achievement, Armstrong was a dedicated professor and chairman of numerous companies. Keep reading for more facts about Neil Armstrong!
Neil Armstrong Facts
1. First man to touch the moon
It was on July 16, 1969, that astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin (Buzz) Aldrin landed on the Moon. This was part of the Apollo 11 mission, which had the objective of landing on the Moon, taking photographs and collecting numerous samples. It was a successful mission that ended the space race the Soviet Union and the United States had against each other.
2. Neil Armstrong made a “giant leap for mankind”
Armstrong’s most famous words were “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” when he stepped out of the Lunar Module and placed his feet on the Moon’s ground. However, there has been a historical debate as to whether he said “man” or “a man”, an interesting fact about Neil Armstrong.
3. Armstrong was shot down in the Korean War
Before becoming an astronaut, Neil Armstrong studied aeronautical engineering at Purdue University located in West Lafayette, Indiana. His studies were interrupted in the year 1950 to service in the Korean War. There, he was shot down once. He was also granted three Air Medals for his service.
He was finally able to finish his degree in 1955 and worked in the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) as a civilian research pilot. NACA then became NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration).
4. After landing on the Moon, he was placed in quarantine back on Earth
The Apollo 11 mission returned safely to Earth on July 24, 1969. They did a splashdown in the Pacific and were recovered. Afterward, the three astronauts that were part of this mission had to be placed in quarantine for 18 days., an interesting Neil Armstrong fact. This was to ensure that they had not been contaminated by lunar microbes. Nonetheless, they were still appraised for the incredible achievement that was this new era of space exploration.
5. He became a professor away from the public eye
After resigning from NASA, Armstrong became a professor. He distanced himself from being a public figure and dedicated his life to academic and professional activities. In 1971, and until 1979, he became a professor at Cincinnati University where he taught aerospace engineering.
6. Armstrong served as chairman for several companies
After teaching at the University of Cincinnati, he served as chairman and also as a director or several companies. Some of them were the Computing Technologies for Aviation between the years 1982 and 1992 and AIL Systems, who fabricated equipment for the military, from 1977 until 2002.
Among other organizations that he was part of were the National Commission on Space (NCOS) and the Presidential Commission on the Space Shuttle Challenger Accident.
7. The United States government awarded him several medals
In 1969, soon after the mission to the Moon, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Then, in 1978, he was given the Congressional Space Medal of Honor and the Congressional Gold Medal in the year 2009.
8. Neil Armstrong earned his student pilot’s license at 16
Neil felt a passion for flying from a very early age. This made him work hard to become a pilot and eventually earned his student pilot’s license at 16 years old before he learned how to drive a car. At 17, he began studying aeronautical engineering thanks to a Navy scholarship at the University of Purdue.
9. “The Eagle has landed” is a phrase that originated in the Apollo 11 mission
The Lunar Module that was part of the Apollo 11 mission was called The Eagle. It was piloted by both Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin. When it landed on the Moon, they said “The Eagle has landed”, and that is where this famous saying comes from, an interesting Neil Armstrong fact.
10. The samples Armstrong and Aldrin collected from the Moon were auctioned for £1.4 million
As part of their mission on the Moon, the astronauts collected dust material and other samples from the satellite’s surface. The goal was for scientists to study them back on Earth. In 2017, these samples were auctioned and sold for £1.4 million.
11. The media attention exhausted him
There is no doubt that Armstrong was one of the most famous people on the planet, and perhaps he will always be. However, he did not enjoy the excessive attention from the press. He considered it to be exhausting. For this reason, he stepped away from the public eye to teach at the university.
It was not until 2006, almost 40 years after walking on the Moon, that he gave an interview to the news program “60 Minutes”. There, he described the Moon as “an interesting place to be”. That same year, his authorized biography also came out. It was written by James R. Hansen and called “First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong”.
12. Armstrong once had a job where he mowed a cemetery
Before becoming the first person to walk on the Moon, he had a few odd jobs. One of them consisted of mowing the cemetery in Wapakoneta, Ohio. An interesting fact about Neil Armstrong is that for this job, he received $1 per day, but it helped him save enough money to pay for his flying lessons that cost $9 per hour.
13. He could fly more than 200 different aircraft
Right after finishing college, he became a test pilot. There, he learned how to fly over 200 types of aircraft. One of those was a rocket plane, considered to be very dangerous. It was the X-15 and it could reach up to 4,000 miles per hour.
Neil Armstrong is a person that will always be remembered as the first man to walk on the Moon. He was also a professor and consultant in many issues regarding space exploration and will always be an inspiration to whoever wants to achieve the impossible.
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