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 938.

    An amazing individual - Area40 paid tribute with our song 'Neil Armstrong' at

  • rate this

    Comment number 937.

    Thank you Neil.

    I watched you as a little boy and dreamed of space ever since

  • rate this

    Comment number 936.

    922.penguin337 You haven't answered my question. Why is it that no manned space flight has left Low Earth Orbit since 1972? Why is it that the recent Moon Base project - which like all such hype I consider to be a giant make-work programme for a redundant NASA - has been shelved? Why is it that no commercial space travel is contemplating leaving the Earth's atmosphere? What about L4 and L5?

  • rate this

    Comment number 935.

    A man of great courage and humanity whose place in history is assured. May your soul do a few orbits of the moon before resting among the stars, Neil - you have done well for the human race.

  • rate this

    Comment number 934.

    RIP Neil Armstrong, your name will live on throughout the rest of human history, you have inspired more people to be scientists (myself included) then you could ever know, and will continue to do so for many many generations.

  • rate this

    Comment number 933.

    Not since the Gettysburg Address had there ever been a quote worthy of such acclaim as 'one small step', RIP Neil, you inspired a generation!

  • rate this

    Comment number 932.

    Staggered at the amount of nut-bags who maintain we did not go to the moon. For clarity, it would have been harder to set-up a staged landing, in every conceivable sense. *Every minute* of the crews' journey is documented and bleats about 'fluttering flags' and the like have LONG since been proven, conclusively. We've landed craft on Titan, are about to scan Pluto, and humans DID visit the moon!

  • rate this

    Comment number 931.

    What a true legend!
    The original Rocket Man.
    See you on the other side Neil.
    God Bless!

  • rate this

    Comment number 930.

    I never realised just how much I have carried those events (Apollo) around with me throughout my forty five years, despite my love of all things Space. Until today. My childhood wonderings and awe at what they did has been burning bright in an unchanging glow in my imagination since I was a child. Neil was the figurehead, and now, with his passing, from that childhood dream I must awaken.

  • rate this

    Comment number 929.

    Thank You.

  • rate this

    Comment number 928.

    Mark F
    Are you and expert in this area?

  • rate this

    Comment number 927.

    One of Planet Earth's greatest heroes has gone. Neil your Eagle has finally landed. Farewell and thank you for the memory of one of the greatest achievements of mankind.

  • rate this

    Comment number 926.

    I don't know what whether I admire Armstrong more for his piloting skills (he's up there with Crossfield, Knight and Yeager] or for his modesty and humility.

    [this merely a couple of days after somebody claimed in this portal (seriously) that Americans have never landed on the Moon.

  • rate this

    Comment number 925.

    Neil Armstrong's acheivements will go down as some of the greatest in human history for as long as our species endures. You represent the best mankind has to offer, there is no greater example of the heights of human endeavour. I only hope that my generation (and the next and the next) will get to witness a similar watershed moment for humanity - next stop Mars!

  • rate this

    Comment number 924.

    The significance of not only his achievements, but also his character can not be over-stated. We could not have had a greater cosmic ambassador for Earth than this man.

    Thank you, Neil.

  • rate this

    Comment number 923.

    Grew up watching the Apollo missions and was truly inspired by the moon landing. These were brave and pioneering people and their contribution to science on earth as a result was truly astonishing.

    A great life and a great man

  • rate this

    Comment number 922.

    "It is incomprehensible that no rocket has ever returned to the Moon in 40 years"

    It wasn't just the Saturn V we got in the 1960s

    We also produced the SR-71 Blackbird and Concorde
    Concorde was a project where the British government:
    "simply stopped counting the cost" (Dennis Healey)

    To date, neither of these airplane projects FROM THE 1960S have ever been bettered

    So try harder to comprehend

  • rate this

    Comment number 921.

    Transcending all race, religion, and politics, he may have planted an American flag on the moon but he represented not just all of mankind, but life itself.

  • rate this

    Comment number 920.

    This great man and his two colleagues made perhaps the greatest achievement in the history of human-kind. Rest in peace Neil Armstrong.

  • rate this

    Comment number 919.

    I was on hoilday in Whitby and remember holding the transisitor radio to my ear in the middle of the night to listen-in to the commentary. Hearts in our mouths as we waited for the landing - then it came and with it such jubilation. Man had landed on the moon - the Eagle had landed. Next day I rushed to buy the newspapers - which I still have. Wonderful memories of an epic voyage of discovery.


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