On September 17, 1962, Neil Armstrong’s parents, Stephen Koenig Armstrong and Viola Louise Engel Armstrong joined “I’ve Got a Secret”, a panel game show produced by Mark Goodson and Bill Todman for CBS television. They had a “secret” that their son just became an astronaut for NASA on that day, one of the nine newly chosen men for the future space missions.
Mr. and Mrs. Armstrong whispers the Host Garry Moore’s ears their secret: “Our Son became an astronaut today”.
A few minutes later, Moore asks an incredible question: “Now, how would you feel, Mrs. Armstrong, if it turned out – of course, nobody knows – but if it turns out that your son is the first man to land on the moon? What, how do, how would you feel?” He asks this nearly seven years before it actually happens on July 20, 1969! Neil’s mother’s reply is priceless, “Well, guess I’d just say god bless him and I wish him the best of all good luck.”
Neil Armstrong was born on Aug. 5, 1930. He was born in Ohio. He had a brother and a sister. He was in the Boy Scouts of America. Armstrong flew in an airplane when he was 6. That flight made him love airplanes. He attended Blume High School in Ohio.
Armstrong went to college at Purdue University. While he was in college, he left to serve in the U.S. Navy. He flew planes during the Korean War. Then he came back to college and finished the degree he had started. He later earned a master’s degree too.
Before he was an astronaut, Armstrong worked for a group that studied airplanes. That group later became part of NASA. He flew several planes for them. He also helped design planes. One of the aircraft he flew was the X-15 rocket plane. This plane flew very high and very fast. It set records.
Armstrong became an astronaut in 1962. He was in the second group of astronauts ever chosen. He was the commander of Gemini 8 in 1966. He flew on that mission with David Scott. They were the first astronauts to dock, or connect, two vehicles in space.
“Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed.” Neil Armstrong
Armstrong’s second flight was Apollo 11 in 1969. He was the mission commander. He flew with Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins. Armstrong and Aldrin landed on the moon in a lander named “Eagle.” They were the first people to land on the moon. Collins did not land, he circled the moon in the Apollo capsule.
Eagle landed in the Sea of Tranquility at 20:17:40 UTC on Sunday, July 20 with only about 25 seconds of fuel left. Armstrong and Aldrin stayed a total of 21 hours, 36 minutes on the lunar surface. The astronauts used Eagle’s upper stage to lift off from the lunar surface and rejoin Collins in the command module. They jettisoned Eagle before they performed the maneuvers that blasted them out of lunar orbit on a trajectory back to Earth. They returned to Earth and landed in the Pacific Ocean on July 24.
The landing was broadcast on live TV to a worldwide audience. Armstrong stepped onto the lunar surface and described the event as “one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.”
Armstrong and Aldrin spent more than two hours outside their spacecraft on the moon. They studied the surface and collected rocks. After almost a day, they blasted off. They docked with Collins in orbit around the moon. All three then flew back to Earth.
Neil Armstrong died on August 25, 2012. He was 82.
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