A look back at the lunar landings of 1969
Neil Armstrong was the first man to walk on the moon. Shortly after the Apollo 11 mission, Armstrong quit his job as an astronaut and started teaching Aerospace Engineering at the University of Cincinnati. He resigned in 1979. Armstrong passed away in 2012 at the age of 82. On the 47th anniversary of the lunar landings, we take a look at his incredible story.
The early life of Neil Armstrong
Born in Wapakoneta, Ohio, on 5th August, 1930, Neil Armstrong was fascinated with flights from an early age. Earning his pilot's license at the age of 16, Armstrong started pursuing Aeronautical Engineering at Purdue University at the age of 17. However, in 1949, he was called into military service in the Korean War and flew 78 combat missions as a US Navy Pilot.
Neil Armstrong's personal life
Neil Armstrong married Janet Shearon in 1956 and the couple gave birth to sons Eric and Mark in 1957 and 1963 respectively. They also had a daughter, Karen, in 1959, but she tragically passed away in 1962; due to an inoperable brain tumor.
Neil Armstrong joins National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA)
Leaving military service in 1952, Armstrong went on to finish college. After college, he joined the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), which would later become the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Armstrong worked as an engineer and a test pilot for NACA, and even went on to test the X-15 which could reach a top speed of 4,000 miles per hour.
Neil Armstrong joins the astronaut programme
In 1962, Neil Armstrong joined the astronaut programme for NASA. In 1965, Armstrong, in his first mission, was chosen as the Command Pilot along with David Scott as Pilot for NASA's Gemini VIII programme, which they completed successfully. Armstrong took part in different capacities in several other NASA programmes like the Gemini XI and the Apollo 8 programmes.
The record-setting Gemini VIII mission
During Armstrong's first mission, the Gemini VIII programme; Armstrong and David Scott briefly docked their space capsule with the Gemini Agena vehicle which was in orbit. This marked the first time that two space crafts had successfully docked in an orbit.
"One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind"
Armstrong was offered the post of Commander for the lunar landing mission in 1968. On 16th July, 1969, Armstrong, along with Lunar Module Pilot Buzz Aldrin and Command Module Pilot Michael Collins left Earth aboard the Apollo 11. At 10:56 pm on July 20th, 1969, Armstrong became the first person to walk on the moon. Apollo 11 returned to Earth on July 24th, 1969.
Conspiracy theories about the lunar landings
Conspiracy theorists hold that the moon landings were faked with Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong acting out their parts in a set in Hollywood or Area 51. They claim that the waving American flag indicates presence of wind which is not possible in vacuum. The theory, however, seems far fetched considering that the astronauts brought back hundreds of independently verified moon rocks.
Neil Armstrong on the North Pole
On 6th April, 1985, Neil Armstrong stepped on to the North Pole with legendary mountaineer Edmund Hillary in an expedition organised by Mike Dunn. Also present in Dunn's "greatest explorers" expedition were Hillary's son Peter, Canadian mountaineer Patrick Morrow, and American adventurer Steve Fossett.