When the gods dance...

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Neil Armstrong, 1930-2012

Neil Armstrong, 1930-2012

This weekend, the world lost a true pioneer and reluctant hero, Neil A. Armstrong, the first man to set foot on the Moon. At the age of 82, Armstrong passed away due to complications resulting from a heart procedure. He earned his flight certificate at age 15, before he could even drive, and went on to study aerospace engineering. By age 20, he was a U.S. Navy Aviator, flying missions during the Korean War, and shortly afterward, he became an experimental research test pilot. Selected for the U.S. astronaut program, he first orbited the Earth in 1965, commanding NASA's Gemini 8 mission. Armstrong was later chosen to not only command the Apollo 11 mission to the moon, but to be the first person out the hatch, placing the first human footprints on lunar soil. It was his last mission to space -- on returning to Earth, after months of goodwill tours and interviews, Armstrong returned to a private life in his home state of Ohio. Here is a farewell to Neil Armstrong, who spent 82 years on this planet, and a few precious, historic moments on another world. 

On March 11, 1966, astronaut Neil Armstrong, command pilot of the Gemini 8 prime crew, poses during a photo session outside the Kennedy Space Center Mission Control Center in Florida. Armstrong passed away on Saturday, August 25, 2012, at the age of 82. (NASA) 

Dryden test pilot Neil Armstrong, next to the experimental rocket-powered X-15 aircraft #1 (56-6670) after a research flight.(NASA) # 

Members of pilot consultant group for the U.S. Air Force's Dyna Space glider project try out a cockpit simulator at the Boeing Aerospace division in Seattle, on March 15, 1962. Seated in simulator is Major James W. Wood, and with him is NASA's Pilot Neil Armstrong.(AP Photo) # 

From left, astronauts Frank Borman, Neil Armstrong, John Young, and Deke Slayton, during astronaut desert survival training near Reno, Nevada, in 1964. (NASA) # 

Astronauts Neil Armstrong and David R. Scott arrive at Complex 19 for a simulated test in preparation for the flight of Gemini 8, on March 16, 1966. (AP Photo) # 

Astronauts Neil Armstrong and David R. Scott sit with their spacecraft hatches open while awaiting the arrival of the recovery ship, the USS Leonard F. Mason after the successful completion of their Gemini 8 mission, on March 16, 1966. They are assisted by USAF Pararescuemen Eldrige M. Neal, Larry D. Huyett, and Glenn M. Moore. The overhead view shows the Gemini 8 spacecraft with the yellow flotation collar attached to stabilize the spacecraft in choppy seas. The green marker dye is highly visible from the air and is used as a locating aid. (NASA) # 

Astronauts David Scott and Neil Armstrong walk down a corridor of Tripler General Hospital in Honolulu, Hawaii, for a night's rest before continuing their journey from Okinawa to Cape Kennedy to report on the emergency that brought an abrupt end to their space flight in Gemini 8, on March 18, 1966. (AP Photo) # 

Neil Armstrong, shown training with NASA Langley Research Centers Lunar Excursion Module (LEM) Simulator, in May of 1969.(NASA) # 

Astronaut Neil Armstrong, Apollo 11 mission commander, floats safely to the ground after the Lunar Landing Research Vehicle (LLRV) he was piloting exploded only seconds before while he was rehearsing a lunar landing at Ellington Air Force Base, on May 6, 1968. The photo is a blowup of 16mm documentary motion picture recorded during the mishap. (NASA) # 

A reproduction of a portion of the lunar surface, constructed on the concrete pad where the Lunar Excursion Module Simulator (LEMS) was tested at the NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, on June 20, 1969. The LEMS was a manned rocket-powered vehicle used to familiarize the Apollo astronauts with the handling characteristics of a lunar-landing type vehicle. (NASA) # 

Neil Armstrong during an Earth-bound rehearsal for his upcoming walk on the Moon, on April 29, 1969. (NASA) # 

An American flag flies in the foreground as the massive Saturn V rocket lifts off, carrying Apollo 11, the first Lunar landing mission. The vehicle lifted off with astronauts Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Edwin E. Aldrin, Jr., at 9:32 a.m., July 16, 1969, from Kennedy Space Center's Launch Complex 39A. (NASA) # 

A view of the Earth, showing clouds over water, photographed from the Apollo 11 spacecraft following translunar injection, on 16 July 1969. (NASA) # 

Apollo 11 Spacecraft interior with astronaut Neil Armstrong looking at the camera, inside the Command and Service Module. Image taken during translunar phase of the mission. (NASA) # 

Mrs. Jan Armstrong registers pleasure over a picture of her husband, Apollo 11 commander, Neil Armstrong, taken during a telecast from the spacecraft on the way to the moon, and beamed back to earth, on July 18, 1969. In the rear seat is their son, Mark, 6.(AP Photo) # 

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