Known as the first man to walk on moon and a famous American astronaut, Neil Armstrong was born on the 5th of August 1930, before becoming an astronaut; he was an officer in the U.S. Navy and served in the Korean War.
After the war, he earned his bachelor’s degree at Purdue University and served as a test pilot at the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics High-Speed Flight Station, currently known as the Dryden Flight Research Centre, where he logged over 900 flights. He later completed graduate studies at the University of Southern California.
He was the second person in his family to attend college. He was also accepted to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The only engineer he knew (who had attended MIT) dissuaded him from attending, telling Armstrong that it was not necessary to go all the way to Cambridge, Massachusetts, for a good education.
Armstrong, being an engineer by training, had a technical efficiency to his flying that was the envy of most of his colleagues. However, he was criticized by some of the non-engineering pilots, including Chuck Yeager and Pete Knight that observed that his flying technique was too mechanical.
They argued that flying was, at least in part, felt. Something that didn’t come naturally to the engineers and it was this fact that sometimes got them into trouble. While Armstrong was a comparatively successful test pilot, he was involved in several ariel incidents.
One of the most famous events involving Armstrong occurred on May 21, 1962 when he was sent to investigate Delamar Lake as a potential emergency landing site, flying an F-104. After an unsuccessful landing damaged the radio and hydraulic system, Armstrong headed toward Nellis Air Force Base.
When attempting to land at Nellis, the tail hook of the plane lowered due to the damaged hydraulic system and caught the arresting wire on the air field.
His college tuition was paid for under the Holloway Plan: successful applicants committed to two years of study, followed by three years of service in the U.S. Navy, then completion of the final two years of the degree.
At Purdue, he earned average marks in his subjects, with a GPA that rose and fell during eight semesters. He was a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the Academy of the Kingdom of Morocco.
He served as a member of the National Commission on Space (1985-1986), as Vice-Chairman of the Presidential Commission on the Space Shuttle Challenger Accident (1986), and as Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee for the Peace Corps (1971-1973).
Armstrong commanded the Apollo 11 lunar landing mission. After landing his lunar module on the surface of the moon, Armstrong exited and became the first person in world history to set foot on the moon.
Upon setting foot on the moon, Armstrong uttered the timeless quote “That’s one small step for a man; one giant leap for mankind.” Armstrong’s landing was the source of great pride for the United States in their never ending space race with the Soviet Union. Neil Armstrong died on August 25, 2012, in Cincinnati, Ohio.