Saturday, August 25, 2012

Neil Armstrong 1930-2012

Hey Space Placers!

Neil Alden Armstrong, the 1st person to walk on the Moon died today following complications from heart surgery earlier this month.

Although I never met Neil, I have followed his life for decades. I am old enough to have watched the news when he flew Gemini 8 and calmly prevented a disaster. The Agena rocket that his Gemini spacecraft had docked with - this was the first time in history two spacecraft had done so and was a necessary milestone to get to the Moon - began to gyrate wildly. With the very real possibility of blacking out due to the high g-load caused by the frantic spinning, Neil initiated an emergency landing sequence which saved the day.

He also had a brush with death flying the lunar excursion module trainer - the "Flying Bedstead". The craft went out of control and Neil was seconds from death when he ejected. That kind of calm under pressure gave him a well deserved reputation for being "a cool stick" - a nerves of steel pilot that could handle the hairiest situations cooly and successfully.

Neil flew 78 combat missions in Korea off of aircraft carriers - he was a naval aviator. He joined the predecessor to NASA, the National Advisory Committee on Aeronautics (NACA) in 1955 as a civilian. He flew over 200 aircraft/spacecraft types and was an accomplished aeronautical/aerospace engineer with an undergrad degree from Purdue and a Master's from University of Southern California.

He transferred as a NASA employee to the astronaut corps in 1962 and flew/commanded Gemini VIII in March 1966. The rest is as they say, history.

The world has lost an icon.

He now belongs to the Cosmos.......

Read and hear more at

Sky Guy in VA

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