Neil Armstrong



Neil Armstrong


Background


Neil Armstrong was born in Wapakoneta, Ohio in the year 1930. His
services as a pilot were called upon during the Korean War. Shortly after
graduating from Purdue University in 1955, Armstrong joined the National
Aeronautics and Space Administration, then known as the National Advisory
Committee for Aeronautics. At the time the functions of the N.A.C. were to plan,
direct, and conduct all United States aeronautical and space activities, except
for those that were primarily military. Armstrong served as a civilian test
pilot at Edwards Air Base in Lancaster, California. In 1962 Armstrong became
the first civilian to enter the astronaut-training program.

Gemini VII Mission

In March of 1966, Armstrong completed his training and became the
command pilot of the Gemini 8 mission. The crew of this mission was made up of
David R. Scott and himself. In case of any emergencies with the two men before
the launch, either physical or mental, a backup crew was made. The backup crew
consisted of Charles Conrad Junior, and Richard Gordon Junior. The objectives
of the mission were:
A. (Main) Rendezvous and dock with Gemini Agena target vehicle (GATV)
and conduct EVA operations.
B. (Secondary) Rendezvous and dock in the 4th revolution. Perform
docked-vehicle maneuvers, Evaluate systems and conduct 10 experiments.
The mission was set to launch on March 15, 1966. Due to minor problems with the
spacecraft and launch vehicle hardware the launch was delayed one day. The
launch was successful. Because of problems with the spacecraft control system,
the crew was forced to undock after approximately thirty minutes. The
spacecraft-target vehicle combination had begun to encounter increasing yaw and
roll rates. The crew regained control of their spacecraft by using the reentry
control system, which prompted and early landing in a secondary landing area in
the Pacific after 10 hours, 41 minutes, and 26 seconds. No EVA was performed.
An electrical short caused the failure in the control system. Docking and re-
rendezvous secondary objectives were not achieved due to the shortened mission.

Apollo 11 mission

The Apollo 11 mission was funded under the Nixon administration during
the heat of the space race with the Russians. The main purpose of this launch
was to put a man on the moon, and successfully back down to Earth. The crew
consisted of three men, two of which would walk on the moon. Edwin Aldrin
Junior of the United Stated Air Force, Armstrong, and Lieutenant Colonel Michael
Collins, also of the U.S. airforce made up the crew. Collins remained in the
Lunar Orbit following the separation, piloting the command and service module.
The Lunar Module descended to the surface of the moon on July 20, landing at the
edge of Mare Tranquilitatis. A few hours later, Armstrong, in his somewhat
bulky space suit, descended the latter and, at 10:56 PM (Eastern Standard Time)
stepped onto the surface of the moon. His first words, which will forever go
down in history were, "That\'s one small step for man. One giant leap for
mankind." Aldrin soon joined him, and the two astronauts spent more then two
hours walking on the lunar surface. They gathered 47 pounds of soil samples,
took photographs, and set up solar wind equipment, a laser beam reflector, and a
seismic experiment package. The two men also put up an American flag, and
talked, by satellite communications, with United States President Richard Nixon
in the White House. The men found that walking and running at one-sixth the
gravity of Earth was not difficult. Also by satellite communication, millions
of people watched live television broadcast from the moon. Returning to the
Lunar Module, and taking off their space suits, the two astronauts rested
several hours before takeoff. They left the moon in the ascent stage of the
Lunar Module, after docking with the command and service module and the transfer
of the astronauts to the spacecraft. The return flight of the Apollo 11 was
without mishap and the vehicle splashed down and was recovered on July 24 in the
Pacific Ocean, close to Hawaii.
Due to fears of terrestrial contamination by living lunar organisms, the
astronauts put on biological isolation garments before leaving the spacecraft.
They were placed under quarantine for three weeks. Both men remained in good
health. The mission was completely successful. It also set the stage for
future space exploration and lunar landings.
Life after Apollo 11 After his years as a pilot during the Korean War, and
becoming commander of both the Gemini 8 and the Apollo 11 missions, not to
mention being the first civilian to enter NASA\'s astronaut program, and the
first man to walk on the moon, Neil Armstrong retired