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 1018.


    You are confused, earthling.

    Scientists require undisputable evidence, not a reliance on faith and trust.

    If you have the answers to the questions let the world have them !

  • rate this

    Comment number 1017.

    @1008.Rebecca Rosenthal
    @1003.voice of reason

    Oh, it's evidence you want?

    Ever seen an atom? No? Must be a faith thing.
    Ever been to Burkina Faso? No? Must be a faith thing.
    Ever summited Everest? No? Must be a faith thing.

    That's the child's view, the 'concrete'. Adults abstract. But not in your case, apparently.

    PS. You haven't seen the satellite images of the moon landings then?

  • rate this

    Comment number 1016.

    Barack Obama referred to Neil Armstrong as one of the greatest American heroes of all time. This is correct, but more limited in scope than it should be. Mr Armstrong is one of the greatest heroes for all humanity.

    One giant of a man, one giant loss for mankind.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1015.

    One small step for his body - One giant leap for his soul.

    When he now raises his thumb it will blot out the whole universe - God bless him.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1014.

    Neil Armstrong,
    Sidereus Nuncius,
    A Vitruvian Spaceman,for eternity.
    "Opportunities,will be available to you,that you cannot imagine".
    Galileo would be proud.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1013.

    Only the Chinese can pick up Neil & co.'s baton and take us further. I sincerely hope they do
    Will be interesting to see how far they can get

    As the moment they are well behind on SR-71 type stuff, Nuclear subs, Aircraft carriers etc

    These technologies and expertise all feed from one another and provide solutions for one another

    The US had to go back to Wernher von Braun for help

  • rate this

    Comment number 1012.

    1003.voice of reason - "....Nobody can authoritatively certify that it happened or not......"

    What utter rot - it happened, the only people who doubt it are those that have no undertsanding (many not wanting to understand) of how science works.....

  • rate this

    Comment number 1011.

    Although he is a noteworthy historical figure whose name never be forgotten, his achivements was the results of efforts of 100,000s of other people, he was the embodiments of those efforts.
    But don't see why this is headline news in the UK?

  • rate this

    Comment number 1010.

    RE: 992 (Me) After that missed opportunity, my permanent sulk ended some 3 years later, when I met and shook hands with Mr. Aldrin. By contrast, I've met and spoken easily with many "Hollywood" celebs, but on meeting Mr. Aldrin occasion I was almost lost for words - or is that Star Struck !!?? Moon Struck would be more correct I suppose.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1009.

    Why all these silly notions about man not getting to the Moon. Of course they did and I should know, I was there on the Moon to greet the crew, along with Elvis! Oh no, he was still alive then.

    In my opinion, Neil Armstrong was a great American hero and he will be sadly missed.

  • Comment number 1008.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • rate this

    Comment number 1007.

    after weeks of overuse of the word "hero"here we have a man who was a true hero,he was made of the right stuff,he went into the unknown and was victorous in the proper way.maybe we could use his passing to reflect on all that we once were and what we wanted to acheive.a shinning light from a time gone,that lights up a bland epoch in our history.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1006.

    I was 9 at the time, my dad sat me in front of our black and white grainy tv and i was very excited watching neil armstrong take the first step on the moon. This experience influenced me to see beyond earth and enquire about our origins which remains to inspire me to keep seeking knowledge and understaning of our selves on earth space and time.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1005.

    "we came in peace for all mankind"

    Possibly the most ironic statement in American history

  • rate this

    Comment number 1004.

    998.penguin337 Well I hope so, after 40 long years of waiting. I'm not interested in space tourism, just in a permanent Moon Base and I reckon that Neil would approve of a joint effort although being a nostalgic sort I still miss the US Apollo glory..

  • rate this

    Comment number 1003.


    For your benefit, I will reiterate my point.

    There is a plethora of argument and counter-argument regarding the details of the landings. Nobody can authoritatively certify that it happened or not.

    It is now a faith based subject so choose to believe or not..

    But reading biographies will not alter the fact one little bit.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1002.

    Watching the first moon landing is one of my earliest clear memories; I was seven at the time and allowed to stay up until the early hours, as it was here in the UK, and remember everyone - the house was full of guests for my parents' 10th anniversary party - was watching a small black and white TV. This kicked off a lifetime fascination with space travel, science fiction and more. RIP Neil

  • rate this

    Comment number 1001.

    "It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth. I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth. I didn't feel like a giant. I felt very, very small."

    R.I.P. Neil Armstrong, one of our first inter-planetary heroes.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1000.

    I am assuming that most of the sceptics out there weren't even born in 1969 and are busy filling their days watching repeats of the X Files. Although it seems incredible from the perspective of 2012, there is no doubt in my mind that the moon landings did happen. Although I wasn't with Armstrong and Aldrin I did see it in glorious black and white on my TV. Sometimes amazing things do happen chaps.

  • rate this

    Comment number 999.

    Only the Chinese can pick up Neil & co.'s baton and take us further. I sincerely hope they do.


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