First man on the moon, Neil Armstrong dies at 82
Armstrong was dubbed a 'reluctant American hero'
"One small step for man - one giant leap for mankind," Neil Armstrong
said just before he stepped on the moon's surface. Many said he flubbed
his lines and should have said, "One small step for a man." The
"reluctant American hero" has died at the age of 82, following
complications from heart-bypass surgery.
'As long as there are history books, Neil Armstrong will be included in them,' NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said.
"As long as there are history books, Neil Armstrong will be included in them," NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said.
Buzz Aldrin, Armstrong's fellow moonwalker on the Apollo 11 mission joined in the chorus of humanity who mourned his passing. "We are missing a great spokesman and leader in the space program," Aldrin said. Aldrin says he will remember Armstrong "as being a very capable commander and leader of an achievement that will be recognized until man sets foot on the planet Mars."
Michael Collins, the crewmate who circled the moon in the Apollo 11 command module paid tribute to his commander in a NASA statement: "He was the best, and I will miss him terribly."
President Barack Obama said that Armstrong and his crew "carried with them the aspirations of an entire nation," and that the first steps on the moon "delivered a moment of human achievement that will never be forgotten."
"Today, Neil's spirit of discovery lives on in all the men and women who have devoted their lives to exploring the unknown - including those who are ensuring that we reach higher and go further in space," Obama said in a White House statement. "That legacy will endure - sparked by a man who taught us the enormous power of one small step."
The Apollo 11 brought to a close of a superpower space race with the Soviet Union. Apollo 11 also set a precedent for peaceful cooperation in space. "We came in peace for all mankind," the plaque left behind on the moon read.
During Armstrong's first moonwalk, he stopped to set down a patch to commemorate NASA astronauts and Soviet cosmonauts who died in the course of their duties.
Born in Ohio, Armstrong began his career in aerospace as a Navy fighter pilot who served with distinction in the Korean War. He was accepted into NASA's second astronaut class in 1962. He established himself as a man with nerves of steel during his mission as Gemini 8 commander in 1966, when he tamed his spinning capsule and brought it in for an emergency landing.
During the Apollo 11 mission, Armstrong and Aldrin spent more than 21 hours on the lunar surface, including two and a half hours' worth of moon-walking. While many science-fiction authors accepted the fact that space travel would become a reality, the fact that the event was televised before a world audience would have surprised many. "Neil, look up there," Aldrin told him as he pointed at a TV screen. "We missed the whole thing."
Armstrong took a low profile after Apollo 11, becoming what his family called a "reluctant American hero who always believed he was just doing his job." He left NASA in 1971, and took on executive positions in the aerospace industry as well as a teaching position in the University of Cincinnati's engineering department. Armstrong served on several policy commissions, including the presidential panel that investigated the 1986 Challenger explosion.
Armstrong is survived by his wife, two sons, a stepson and stepdaughter, 10 grandchildren and a brother and a sister.
© 2012, Catholic Online. Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Neil Armstrong, Apollo 11, moonwalk, NASA, death
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