updated: 8/25/2012 5:06:31 PM
The first man on the moon, Purdue graduate Neil Armstrong, has died. His family has released a statement saying the pioneer passed away following complications from cardiovascular procedures. Armstrong earned an aeronautical engineering degree from Purdue. His lasting impact on the university is reflected by the Neil Armstrong Hall of Engineering, the Neil Armstrong Medal of Excellence and a collection of his personal papers at the Purdue University Libraries.
August 25, 2012
Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon during the 1969 Apollo 11 mission, has died. He was 82.
His family has released the following statement:
“We are heartbroken to share the news that Neil Armstrong has passed away following complications resulting from cardiovascular procedures.
Neil was our loving husband, father, grandfather, brother and friend.
Neil Armstrong was also a reluctant American hero who always believed he was just doing his job. He served his Nation proudly, as a navy fighter pilot, test pilot, and astronaut. He also found success back home in his native Ohio in business and academia, and became a community leader in Cincinnati.
He remained an advocate of aviation and exploration throughout his life and never lost his boyhood wonder of these pursuits.
As much as Neil cherished his privacy, he always appreciated the expressions of good will from people around the world and from all walks of life.
While we mourn the loss of a very good man, we also celebrate his remarkable life and hope that it serves as an example to young people around the world to work hard to make their dreams come true, to be willing to explore and push the limits, and to selflessly serve a cause greater than themselves.
For those who may ask what they can do to honor Neil, we have a simple request. Honor his example of service, accomplishment and modesty, and the next time you walk outside on a clear night and see the moon smiling down at you, think of Neil Armstrong and give him a wink.”
The family will be providing further updates at www.neilarmstronginfo.com .
Apollo 11 command module pilot Michael Collins said simply, “He was the best, and I will miss him terribly.”
Armstrong's words "That is one small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind," spoken on July 20, 1969, as he became the first person ever to step onto another planetary body, instantly became a part of history.
Those few words from the Sea of Tranquillity were the climactic fulfillment of the efforts and hopes of millions of people and the expenditure of billions of dollars. A plaque on one of the lander's legs that concluded "We came in peace for all mankind," further emphasized that Armstrong and fellow astronaut Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin were there as representatives of all humans.
He was the best, and I will miss him terribly." -- Michael Collins, Apollo 11 command module pilot.
But Armstrong's single sentence, though it was focused above the national divisions and quarrels of Earth, still signified unquestionably the U.S. victory in the desperate space race with the Soviet Union.
Neil A. Armstrong was born Aug. 5, 1930, in Wapakoneta, Ohio. He earned an aeronautical engineering degree from Purdue University and a master's in aerospace engineering from the University of Southern California.
He was a naval aviator from 1949 to 1952. During the Korean War he flew 78 combat missions.
In 1955 he joined the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), NASA's predecessor, as a research pilot at Lewis Laboratory in Cleveland.
Armstrong Bio From Purdue
After serving as a naval aviator from 1949 to 1952 and completing his studies at Purdue, Armstrong joined the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) in 1955. His first assignment was with the NACA Lewis Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio. For the next 17 years, he was an engineer, test pilot, astronaut and administrator for NACA and its successor agency, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
As a research pilot at NASA's Flight Research Center, Edwards, Calif., he was a project pilot on many pioneering high speed aircraft, including the well known, 4000-mph X-15. He has flown over 200 different models of aircraft, including jets, rockets, helicopters and gliders.
Armstrong transferred to astronaut status in 1962. He was assigned as command pilot for the Gemini 8 mission. Gemini 8 was launched on March 16, 1966, and Armstrong performed the first successful docking of two vehicles in space.
In July 1969, as spacecraft commander of the historic Apollo 11 mission, Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed their Lunar Module on the moon's Sea of Tranquility. Stepping onto the lunar surface, Armstrong gave perhaps one of the Twentieth Century's most famous quotes; "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind"
Armstrong subsequently held the position of Deputy Associate Administrator for Aeronautics, NASA Headquarters Washington, D.C. In this position, he was responsible for the coordination and management of overall NASA research and technology work related to aeronautics. He was Professor of Aerospace Engineering at the University of Cincinnati from 1971-1979. During the years 1982-1992, Armstrong was chairman of Computing Technologies for Aviation, Inc., Charlottesville, Va.
Armstrong is a Fellow of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots and the Royal Aeronautical Society; Honorary Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and the International Astronautics Federation. He is 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.
Armstrong has been decorated by 17 countries. He is the recipient of many special honors, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom; the Congressional Space Medal of Honor; the Explorers Club Medal; the Robert H. Goddard Memorial Trophy; the NASA Distinguished Service Medal; the Harmon International Aviation Trophy; the Royal Geographic Society's Gold Medal; the Federation Aeronautique Internationale's Gold Space Medal; the American Astronautical Society Flight Achievement Award; the Robert J. Collier Trophy; the AIAA Astronautics Award; the Octave Chanute Award; and the John J. Montgomery Award.