Armstrong, Neil Alden (1930–2012)
Veteran American astronaut and the first human to set foot
upon the Moon. Born in Wapakoneta, Ohio, Armstrong
received a B.S. in aeronautical engineering from Purdue University and an
M.S. from the University of Southern California. He entered the Navy and
flew as a naval aviator from 1949 to 1952. In 1955 he joined NACA's
(National Advisory Committee for Aviation's) Lewis Flight Propulsion Laboratory
and later transferred to the High Speed Flight Station at Edwards Air Force
Base as a civilian aeronautical test research pilot for NACA and NASA. Among
the aircraft he tested was the X-15 rocket
plane.1 He became an astronaut in 1962 and subsequently commanded
the Gemini 8 and Apollo
11 missions. On May 6, 1968, he had a narrow escape when the Lunar
Landing Research Vehicle he was flying went out of control and he was
forced to eject; he landed by parachute and walked away uninjured.
Upon returning from the Moon, Armstrong served as deputy associate administrator
for the office of Advanced Research and Technology at NASA Headquarters.
In 1971, he left NASA to become a professor of aeronautical engineering
at the University of Cincinnati where he taught until 1981. He subsequently
entered the business world and served as chairman of CTA, Inc. He was also
a popular motivational speaker.
He died on August 25, 2012, following complications resulting from surgery,
earlier in the month, to treat blocked coronary arteries.
- Thompson, Milton O. and Neil Armstrong. At the Edge of Space:
The X-15 Flight Program. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution