First man on the Moon Neil Armstrong dies aged 82
Only 12men ever walked on the Moon and Neil Armstrong was the first to do so, on 20th July 1969. Neil Armstrong passed away on the 25th August 2012 at the age of 82 due to complications following a heart bypass surgery earlier this month.
“That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.”
Armstrong’s words echoed from the Moon into television sets around the world in July 1969 and have been part of history ever since. The first man on the moon, Armstrong was followed by Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin as part of the Apollo 11 mission and the two American astronauts spent close to three hours on the surface of the Moon collecting samples and conducting scientific experiments.
The success of the Apollo 11 mission came less than a decade after President John F. Kennedy called upon the United States to be the first nation to put a man on the moon in May 1961 – after having lost the race to the first man in space, Yuri A. Gagarin in 1961, and first satellite in space, Sputnik, in 1957, to the Soviet Union. Armstrong left a patch on the Moon to commemorate American and Soviet astronauts who died as a result of the race between the two Cold War rivals in the exploration of space.
Neil Armstrong, a quiet and reserved man even after his return from the Moon, made the headlines in 2010, criticising President Obama’s space policy focusing on promoting the development of new transportation means to space from private companies, effectively putting an end to a possible return to the Moon by NASA.
Armstrong not only planted the American flag on the surface of the Moon, but also served in the US navy during the Korean War flying 78 missions and earning military honours for his service to the nation.