Neil Armstrong Facts

by Abby Cessna on January 11, 2010

Neil Armstrong Facts

Neil Armstrong on the Moon in 1969. Credit: NASA

Neil Armstrong is famous for being the first person to set foot on the Moon and land the first spacecraft on the Moon. His love of flying began very early. When he was a teenager, Armstrong started taking flying lessons, which he paid for by working at the airport and other jobs. When he was young, Armstrong was a Boy Scout and obtained the rank of Eagle Scout.

Armstrong earned his Bachelor of Science degree in aeronautical engineering from Purdue University and then went on to earn his Master of Science degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Southern California. He also received many honorary doctorates from different universities.

Neil Armstrong also served in the Korean War as a pilot. He flew 78 missions during the war and was awarded several times. After he served in the Navy and finished his degree, Armstrong became a test pilot for National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, which was the precursor of NASA.

In addition to being an astronaut and a pilot, Armstrong was also a college professor. He accepted a professorship at the University of Cincinnati in 1971 in the Department of Aerospace and Engineering. During his life, Armstrong has flown more than 200 different types of aircraft.

For his years of service, Armstrong has received numerous medals including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Congressional Space Medal of Honor, the Congressional Gold Medal, the Robert J. Collier Trophy, and the Sylvanus Thayer Award.

After the Apollo 11 crew returned home from the Moon landing, they went through an 18-day quarantine. They then went on a 45-day tour around the world called the “Giant Leap” tour. The Apollo 11 mission was not Armstrong’s first mission in space. He was commander of the Gemini 8 mission, which on March 16 in 1966 was his first mission. Armstrong was also the first person to dock two spacecraft in space.

Armstrong was also appointed to the committee that investigated the Challenger explosion and the one that investigated the Apollo 13 incident. He was in charge of the operational side of the Challenger disaster. Neil Armstrong has had many things named after him including over a dozen schools and a song. He also had an asteroid and a crater on the Moon named after him in his honor. His alma mater, Purdue University, also named a new engineering hall after him, which was completed in 2007.

Universe Today has articles on Neil Armstrong and first man on the Moon.

For more information, check out Neil Armstrong and NASA’s Human Spaceflight.

Astronomy Cast has an episode on the Moon.

Sources:
NASA: Who is Neil Armstrong
NASA: Biography of Neil Armstrong

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