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 958.


  • rate this

    Comment number 957.

    i was 4 when he landed on the moon and don't remember it but in the years since i have heard his words " a small step for man but...." so many time and it was a great moment for us all i wish i could say i made me do some thing great but no i am just a average man.but when every you look at the moon nasa did something great i wait for the next small step.
    rip neil
    thoughts with his family

  • rate this

    Comment number 956.

    82 is a good age, but our heroes, we want to hold on to forever.

    I'm having a good ol' sob here. And remembering that day in July 1969.

    Lying on the living-room floor, with my chin cupped in my hands. Eyes fixated by the flickering black and white images on our TV screen.

    A moment in time that will live with me forever.

    Fly free Neil.

  • rate this

    Comment number 955.

    922. penguin337

    "It wasn't just the Saturn V we got in the 1960s
    We also produced the SR-71 Blackbird and Concorde""

    Correct. Only that anyone with money can built anytime the Blackbird and Concorde - the knowhow is there.

    I give 100 trillions - try find somebody to built a manned craft that decelerates and lands on a planet with 0 atmosphere. Money in 60s bought tech not existing in 2010s???

  • rate this

    Comment number 954.

    I was a 12 year-old boy from a very poor background and didn't know what an engineer was until I watched Neil and his colleagues progress to the moon. I followed it, engrossed, from start to finish. I became an engineer, inspired by them. Since then, I have travelled the world and have been so lucky to have had an amazing working life. Thanks Neil Armstrong. You were an inspiration to millions.

  • rate this

    Comment number 953.

    RIP Neil Armstrong.. You are a hero and the world will ever remain to remember you.

  • rate this

    Comment number 952.

    "212.MARKGILLINGHAMFC said .... Millions of people all over the world dont believe the moon landings ever happened!"

    Yes you are quite correct. There are millions of morons in the world.

  • rate this

    Comment number 951.

    I thought of Carl Sagan's Contact " Mankind is capable of the most beautiful dreams and the most terrible nightmares"
    Neil Armstrong embodied the former most eloquently.
    RIP Mr Armstrong

  • rate this

    Comment number 950.

    @945. penguin337
    I think the first Saturns (unmanned) blew up too. These were not easy things to make work at all ad pushed engineering to new levels

  • rate this

    Comment number 949.

    One of the greatest men that ever lived has taken his last step. I can't even get close to describing the contempt I feel toward those that contaminate these discussions with their pathetic denials that he went to the Moon. How much lesser men are they than Neil Armstrong? I don't often shed a tear when someone famous dies, but I did last night. RIP Neil, a true hero for all mankind.

  • rate this

    Comment number 948.

    Doubting the moon landings is like saying Elvis is still alive. Me thinks too many people believe the X-files.

    Neil Armstrong was the figure head for the amazing achievements of 400,000 people involved in the project.

    RIP Neil.

  • rate this

    Comment number 947.

    I was 7 years old when he stepped foot on the moom and have vivid memories of the whole family watching events unfold during this truly amazing time. You could not have wished for a better person to represent the human race and he will remain always a truly inspirational hero. God rest you Neil and thanks.........

  • rate this

    Comment number 946.

    Neil Armstrong One last Giant Leap RIP Thank you

  • rate this

    Comment number 945.

    Armstrong and his companions were brave men and the risks they took were huge

    The Soviets tried to build their own Saturn V program and the whole lot blew up

  • rate this

    Comment number 944.

    Wonderful man - it was only after the event that I heard how dangerous it
    really was.
    I also thoroughly enjoyed his TV series about vintage aircraft -
    "First Flights".
    Thank you Neil.

  • Comment number 943.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 942.

    Never forget the bravery of the great man, too. A true pioneer and explorer. RIP.

  • rate this

    Comment number 941.

    932. Donny

    "it would have been harder to set-up a staged landing"

    Had it been easier to go to the moon than to stage it half a century later it should be piece of cake. Russians (who still have a lead in Space, have never sent a man beyond 500km. Neither have Americans or anyone else.

    "We've landed craft on Titan, are about to scan Pluto,

    Yes and Russians probed Venus. All unmanned missions.

  • rate this

    Comment number 940.

    Such a shame that he fluffed his lines though!

    Where was the 'a' before 'man' in his little speech? What he actually said was the same thing twice ergo a contradiction.

    But hey ho, we can forgive one small slip up on such a ground breaking occasion!

  • rate this

    Comment number 939.

    "Can't believe we haven't returned."

    Budget cuts, pure&simple. Jus as in case of SR-71 and space shuttle.

    Btw. When X-15 program has been abruptly ended for the same reason Pete Knight (still an absolute speed record holder at 7,273 km p/h) remarked he could have pushed to Mach 7 had he known there'd be no more flights.


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