The first human being to walk on the moon has died.
Neil Armstrong, commander of the Apollo 11 mission that touched down on the moon on July 20, 1969, died August 25. He was 82.
Apollo 11, the first manned lunar landing mission, was launched July 16, 1969. On July 20, 1969, Armstrong became the first person to set foot on the moon.
“I thought we had a 90 percent chance of getting back safely to Earth on that flight, “ Armstrong said later, “but only a 50-50 chance of making a successful landing on the first attempt.”
Armstrong’s “giant leap for mankind” fulfilled a goal first set by President John F. Kennedy in May 1961, and fleshed out in a speech on September 12, 1962. In the September speech, Kennedy said the United States, before the end of the decade, would land a manned mission on the moon and bring the crew back. “[O]ur leadership in science and in industry, our hopes for peace and security, our obligations to ourselves as well as others, all require us to make this effort, to solve those mysteries, to solve them for the good of all men, and to become the world’s leading spacefaring nation,” Kennedy said.
In a statement August 25, President Obama called Armstrong “among the greatest of American heroes — not just of his time, but of all time." The Apollo 11 mission, he added "set out to show the world that the American spirit can see beyond what seems unimaginable — that with enough drive and ingenuity, anything is possible. And when Neil stepped foot on the surface of the moon for the first time, he delivered a moment of human achievement that will never be forgotten.”
In the photo above, Armstrong waving in front, heads for the van that will take the Apollo 11 crew to the rocket for launch to the moon on July 16, 1969.
More information on Armstrong’s life is available on the NASA website.