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August 26, 2012

US astronaut Neil Armstrong dies

US astronaut Neil Armstrong dies – Wikinews, the free news source

US astronaut Neil Armstrong dies

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Armstrong in his space suit before the launch of Apollo 11.
Image: NASA.

Former American astronaut Neil Armstrong has died at the age of 82, due to complications following heart bypass surgery earlier this month. He is known as the first person to walk on the moon when commander of Apollo 11, the first manned mission to land on the moon.

Armstrong was born on August 5, 1930 in Wapakoneta, Ohio. On March 16, 1966, he became the first American civilian to orbit Earth whilst onboard Gemini VIII with crewmate Davis R. Scott. Following Gemini VIII’s docking with another spacecraft in orbit, it began tumbling out of control due to a faulty thruster. Armstrong used an emergency set of thrusters to regain control; Gemini VIII then landed in the Pacific Ocean after ten hours of flight.

Apollo 11 launched on July 16, 1969, with Armstrong and crewmates Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins. Whilst Collins stayed in lunar orbit, Armstrong and Aldrin landed on the moon on July 20; On touchdown, Armstrong said: “Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed”. Upon stepping on to the surface of the Moon on July 20, 1969, he famously said, “That’s one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.” The landing, and subsequent moonwalk, was watched by half a billion people around the world. Armstrong and Aldrin spent approximately two hours walking on the lunar surface before lifting off for Apollo 11’s return to Earth on July 24.

Neil Armstrong describes the Moon’s surface before setting foot on it.
Video: NASA.

Armstrong later spent a few years as a NASA manager. Also teaching engineering at the University of Cincinnati, he was appointed to panels investigating the Apollo 13 and Challenger disasters. His first wife, Jan, divorced him in 1995; he married Carol Knight in 1999, and lived in Cincinnati.

After Armstrong’s death, his family released a statement saying, “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.”

Buzz Aldrin released a statement on his website paying tribute to Armstrong: “I will miss my friend Neil as I know our fellow citizens and people around world will miss this foremost aviation and space pioneer.”



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July 20, 2009

Fortieth anniversary of first manned Moon landing

Fortieth anniversary of first manned Moon landing

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Monday, July 20, 2009

Buzz Aldrin walks on the moon on July 20, 1969.

Today marks the 40th anniversary of the first ever landing of humans on the Moon. Launched on July 16, 1969, Apollo 11 touched down on the lunar surface at 20:17 UTC on July 20.

The historic anniversary was marked by the current United States President, Barack Obama, meeting the crew, Neil Armstrong and “Buzz” Aldrin, the first men on the satellite’s surface, and Michael Collins, who remained in lunar orbit. Obama praised the men and commented on the global historical significance of their deeds. At the time of the initial landing Aldrin and Armstrong spoke to then-president Richard M. Nixon by radio shortly after landing.

“That’s one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind”

The culmination of the 1960s space race between the Soviet Union and the U.S. was not solely the work of the Americans. Among the statements surrounding the anniversary, Armstrong had written a message praising the Australian team at Honeysuckle Creek Tracking Station near Canberra. Without their involvement there would have been no black and white television pictures for the millions worldwide who watched man’s first step onto the Moon. Armstrong stated he had been surprised when Mission control told him they had pictures, commenting about the camera, “in all that testing, I never saw a picture successfully transmitted. But the chaps assured us that it would, in fact, work. And it did.”

NASA’s current plans to return to the Moon by 2020 have been derided by Buzz Aldrin. Today at a reunion of lunar astronauts he dismissed these proposals, “America to Mars is what ought to be, not America back to the moon”. Plans for a lunar base to practice for a Mars trip also met with his scorn.

The journey to the Moon was initiated by then-President John F. Kennedy in 1961. The last time an astronaut walked on the moon was in 1972. In 1989 then-President George H.W. Bush used the twentieth anniversary to announce plans to fly back to the Moon and then on to Mars, but these never materialized. Obama has set up a commission to provide advice on where to take the U.S. space program next.

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This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

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