US astronaut Neil Armstrong dies, first man on Moon


Armstrong makes his "one small step"

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US astronaut Neil Armstrong, the first man on the Moon, has died aged 82.

A statement from his family says he died from complications from heart surgery he had earlier this month.

He set foot on the Moon on 20 July 1969, famously describing the event as "one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind".

US President Barack Obama said Armstrong was "among the greatest of American heroes - not just of his time, but of all time".

Last November he received the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest US civilian award.

Neil Armstrong sits inside the Lunar Module while it rests on the surface of the Moon, 20 July 1969

He was the commander of the Apollo 11 spacecraft. More than 500 million TV viewers around the world watched its touchdown on the lunar surface.

Armstrong and fellow astronaut Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin spent nearly three hours walking on the moon, collecting samples, conducting experiments and taking photographs.

"The sights were simply magnificent, beyond any visual experience that I had ever been exposed to," Armstrong once said.

'Reluctant hero'

Mr Aldrin told the BBC's Newshour programme: "It's very sad indeed that we're not able to be together as a crew on the 50th anniversary of the mission… [I will remember him] as a very capable commander."

Apollo 11 was Armstrong's last space mission. In 1971, he left the US space agency Nasa to teach aerospace engineering.

Born in 1930 and raised in Ohio, Armstrong took his first flight aged six with his father and formed a lifelong passion for flying.

He flew Navy fighter jets during the Korean War in the 1950s, and joined the US space programme in 1962.

President Obama described him as "one of the greatest American heroes of all time"

Correspondents say Armstrong remained modest and never allowed himself to be caught up in the glamour of space exploration.

"I am, and ever will be, a white-socks, pocket-protector, nerdy engineer," he said in February 2000, in a rare public appearance.

In a statement, his family praised him as a "reluctant American hero" who had "served his nation proudly, as a navy fighter pilot, test pilot, and astronaut".

The statement did not say where Armstrong died.

He had surgery to relieve four blocked coronary arteries on 7 August.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 898.

    Shame the guys dead but what did he actually achieve? Alexander Fleming, Christian Barnard, Louis Pasteur, Mme Curie etc did things that improved human quality of life and prevented people dying. All he did was wander about on a bit of rock in space.Lets put into perspective shall we?

  • rate this

    Comment number 897.

    You are one of the few real benchmarks of Humanity ! Never forgotten and always an inspiration for generations to come.

  • rate this

    Comment number 896.

    RIP Neil and God/Warp speed to wherever you are traveling now. A true Human Hero. Inspiration to all and hopefully his footsteps will be on the moon for as long as the human race survives. It just shows that we can actually achieve things to be proud of if we have the drive (unlike today's materialistic nonsense we seem to call progress).

  • rate this

    Comment number 895.

    The huge amount of money thrown at technology in the 1960s gave us:

    The SR-71 Blackbird
    The Moon Landing
    The first Internet (distributed nuclear war communications system)
    The Microprocessor

    Today, 50 years later, the SR-71 still holds it's speed records and the moon landings have not been bettered, testaments to the huge technological investment and risks taken at that time

    RIP Neil

  • rate this

    Comment number 894.

    Sad news.

    Even sadder is the fact that he's going to be misquoted and his actions, comments & opinions are going to be misused by the conspiracy nuts.

    They do love to tarnish peoples reputations after they die.

    Thanks for the astonishing skill & bravery that was a landmark in human civilisation, Mr Neil Armstrong.

  • rate this

    Comment number 893.

    Neil Armstrong:- You are, were a hero for many people like me who on that night in 1969 is a memory that many people will treasure for the rest of our lives.

    Your name shall liveth and be remembered for ever more

    R.I.P. Neil Armstrong

  • Comment number 892.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 891.

    A pioneer and hero in the true sense of the word, his life and deeds show what mankind is capable of and highlighted an exemplary individual.

    And now he has set off and the final journey leaving a world that admired and praised him for his dedication and example to all.

    God speed Neil Armstrong.

  • rate this

    Comment number 890.

    Devastated to hear the news. Too young to have witnessed the landings myself, but always brings a lump to my throat when I watch the images. A true hero and our thoughts and prayers are with his family. RIP Neil xxx

  • rate this

    Comment number 889.

    Like many, I can recall where you are when history is made. For me & millions of others it was staying up all night with my dad watching those images on TV in a darkened lounge. I was 12 but still recall even the soundtrack..."kicking up some dust", "you got a bunch of guys about to turn blue" (Mission Control), "the eagle has landed" & of course "thats one small step.." My 1st true hero..RIP Neil

  • rate this

    Comment number 888.

    Neil Armstrong was a hero. And as a tribute to him, just for today, everyone should pretend that he said "a man", as the BBC are rightly doing.

  • rate this

    Comment number 887.

    Neil Armstrong's first steps on the moon was a couple of years before I was born. But since an infant the Neil Armstrong has always been someone I've greatly admired. He is truly one of the few people in the world who was both a hero and brave, and his good name will live on forever history as an inspiration to the world.

  • rate this

    Comment number 886. seems that the few people truly deserving of the title 'hero' are also those who least seek hero worship.

  • rate this

    Comment number 885.

    I was glued to all the news & pictures. Using computing power that was less than is in your laptop, men landed on the moon. RIP Neil, a genuine celebrity!

  • rate this

    Comment number 884.

    What's with all the anti-american comments anyway, can people really be that bitter?

    "Science has not yet mastered prophecy. We predict too much for the next year and yet far too little for the next 10." Neil Armstrong.

    Well said Neil, people should always look forward and not backwards. A true visionary!

  • rate this

    Comment number 883.

    RIP Neil Armstrong.

    We salute you for what u have achieved on behalf of entire mankind......Indeed a GIANT LEEP !!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 882.

    R.I.P. Neil Armstrong. One member of a team of amazing people who took a chance and succeeded. An achievement the WHOLE World should rejoice in.

    I think NASA/ESA etc should make plans to have a permanent footing on the moon, it's a logical progression.

  • rate this

    Comment number 881.

    R.I.P. Neil Armstrong. One of the last real heros. We all watched him walk on the moon and he inspired todays generation of astronauts. What a pity we cannot bury him at Tranquillity Base.

  • rate this

    Comment number 880.

    Warp speed Neil Armstrong.

  • rate this

    Comment number 879.

    What a pioneer! Wish the human race as a whole had the same guts and determination. To all those who think the moon landings were faked. Grow up and get a life, or if you can't manage that, go and see a good shrink.


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