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These are the famous words spoken by Neil Alden Armstrong. Who was the first person in history to walk on the moon. He left earth on July 16, 1969 to embark on this extraordinary lunar mission. Neil had shown immense courage and bravery to venture into space, anything could have happened. He is an inspiration to all because of this remarkable achievement. This year we celebrate 50 years since the first moon landing.
Neil Alden Armstrong was born on August 5, 1930, in a small town called Wapakoneta, Ohio. He went to a small school called Blume High School. Neil was interested in planes and space. His passion for flying grew from the early age of two years old, when his father took him to the Cleveland Air Races. By age five, he had experienced his first airplane flight. This left a distinctive mark on young Neil. This inspired him at the age of sixteen, he got his students pilot licence.
Neil went to Purdue University on a U.S. Navy Scholarship and started his studies in aeronautical engineering. When he graduated, he joined the organization that became NASA. In 1962 he entered the astronaut program. He was spacecraft commander for Apollo 11, the first ever manned lunar mission. He went to space with Michael Collins and Edwin ‘Buzz’ Aldrin. These were the famous names that would go down in history. The lunar mission started on July 16, 1969, four days later, they landed on the moon. At precisely 10:56 p.m. Armstrong exited the Lunar Module and took the first ever step on the moon! He showed immense courage to go out of the space craft first, putting his life on the line. He said “ That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for man kind.”
Returning on July 24, 1969, the Apollo 11 came down in the Pacific Ocean just west of Hawaii. The courageous crew and the aircraft were picked up by the U.S.S. Hornet, and the three brave astronauts were put into quarantine for three weeks. There was a huge parade held in NYC for the crew and Neil Armstrong got numerous awards for his efforts and courage, including the Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Space Medal of Honour.
Years later Neil had married and started a family, he had three beautiful children with his first wife. Even though Neil was growing older, he remained committed to space exploration. Despite being shy of the public eye, he returned in 2010 to discuss his apprehensions over the changes to the U.S. space program. He even did a 60 minutes interview in 2005, he said: “It’s a brilliant surface in that sunlight. The horizon seems quite close to you because the curvature is so much more pronounced than here on earth. It’s an interesting place to be. I recommend it.’
Unfortunately, on 25 August 2012 Neil Armstrong died. Even though he is gone now he will never be forgotten. President Obama said: ‘Neil was among the greatest of American heroes — not just of his time, but of all time.’. His legacy still lives on, he has inspired people to live their dreams, this has inspired others to follow in his footsteps. His immense courage has led to more space expeditions by NASA to the moon.
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