Sunday, August 26, 2012
Neil Armstrong’s ‘giant leap for mankind’ as he set foot on the lunar surface in 1969 climaxed a monumental achievement in human history. Despite his fame, the former fighter pilot shrank from the spotlight and called himself a ‘nerdy engineer.’
Neil Armstrong, the U.S. astronaut who was the first person to set foot on the moon, firmly establishing him as one of the great heroes of the 20th century, has died. He was 82.
Armstrong died following complications from cardiovascular procedures, his family announced Saturday.
When he made that famous step on July 20, 1969, he uttered a phrase that has been carved in stone and quoted across the planet: “That’s one small step for [a] man; one giant leap for mankind.”
How many other nerdy engineers flew 78 combat missions as a Navy jet fighter pilot during the Korean War? Logged more than 1,000 hours as a test pilot in some of the world’s fastest and most dangerous aircraft? Or became one of the first civilian astronauts and commanded Apollo 11, the first manned flight to land on the moon?