Neil Armstrong the first man to walk on the moon
A graduate of Purdue University , Armstrong studied aeronautical engineering; his college tuition was paid for by the U.S. Navy under the
Holloway Plan . He became a midshipman in 1949 and a naval aviator the following year. He saw action in the Korean War, flying the Grumman F9F Panther from the aircraft carrier USS Essex . In September 1951, while making a low bombing run, Armstrong’s aircraft was damaged when it collided with an anti-aircraft cable which cut off a large portion of one wing. Armstrong was forced to bail out. After the war, he completed his bachelor’s degree at Purdue and became a test pilot at the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) High-Speed Flight Station at
Edwards Air Force Base in California . He was the project pilot on Century Series fighters and flew the North American X-15 seven times. He was also a participant in the U.S. Air Force’s Man in Space Soonest and X-20 Dyna-Soar human spaceflight programs.
Armstrong joined the NASA Astronaut Corps in the second group , which was selected in 1962. He made his first spaceflight as command pilot of
Gemini 8 in March 1966, becoming NASA ‘s first civilian astronaut to fly in space. During this mission with pilot David Scott, he performed the first docking of two spacecraft ; the mission was aborted after Armstrong used some of his re-entry control fuel to stabilize a dangerous roll caused by a stuck thruster. During training for Armstrong’s second and last spaceflight as commander of Apollo 11 , he had to eject from the
Lunar Landing Research Vehicle moments before a crash.
On July 20, 1969, Armstrong and Apollo 11 Lunar Module (LM) pilot Buzz Aldrin became the first people to land on the Moon, and the next day they spent two and a half hours outside the spacecraft while Michael Collins remained in lunar orbit in the mission’s command module (CM). When Armstrong stepped onto the lunar surface, he famously said: “That’s one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.” Along with Collins and Aldrin, Armstrong was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Richard Nixon. President
Jimmy Carter presented Armstrong with the
Congressional Space Medal of Honor in 1978, and Armstrong and his former crewmates received a
Congressional Gold Medal in 2009.
After he resigned from NASA in 1971, Armstrong taught in the Department of Aerospace Engineering at the University of Cincinnati until 1979. He served on the Apollo 13 accident investigation and on the Rogers Commission , which investigated the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster . He acted as a spokesman for several businesses and appeared in advertising for the automotive brand Chrysler starting in January 1979.
Armstrong was born on August 5, 1930, near
Wapakoneta, Ohio  to Stephen Koenig Armstrong and Viola Louise née Engel. He was of German, Scottish, and Scots-Irish ancestry,  and had a younger sister, June, and a younger brother, Dean. His father worked as an auditor for the
Ohio state government ,  and the family moved around the state repeatedly, living in sixteen towns over the next fourteen years.  Armstrong’s love for flying grew during this time, having started early when his father took his two-year-old son to the Cleveland Air Races . When he was five or six, he experienced his first airplane flight in Warren, Ohio when he and his father took a ride in a Ford Trimotor , also known as the “Tin Goose”.  His father’s last move was in 1944, back to Wapakoneta. Armstrong attended Blume High School and took flying lessons at the grassy Wapakoneta airfield.  He earned a student flight certificate on his sixteenth birthday, then
soloed in August, all before he had a driver license.  He was active in the Boy Scouts and earned the rank of Eagle Scout .  As an adult, he was recognized by the Boy Scouts of America with its Distinguished Eagle Scout Award and
Silver Buffalo Award .  On July 18, 1969, while flying toward the Moon, Armstrong greeted the Scouts holding their quadrennial National
Jamboree in Idaho.  Among the few personal items that he carried with him to the Moon and back was a World Scout Badge.  At age 17 in 1947, Armstrong began studying
aeronautical engineering at Purdue University . He was the second person in his family to attend college. He was also accepted to the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT),  but after watching a football game between the
Purdue Boilermakers and the Ohio State Buckeyes at the Ohio Stadium in 1945, in which the Boilermakers, led by quarterback Bob DeMoss , soundly defeated the highly regarded Buckeyes, he resolved to go to Purdue.  An uncle who had attended MIT advised him that it was not necessary to go all the way to Cambridge, Massachusetts , for a good education. His college tuition was paid for under the Holloway Plan . Successful applicants committed to two years of study, followed by two years of flight training and one year of service in the U.S. Navy as an aviator, then completion of the final two years of their
bachelor’s degree.  Armstrong did not take courses in naval science, nor did he join the Naval Reserve Officers Training.