I am very sad to report that Neil Armstrong, the first human to walk on the Moon, died today at the age of 82. The former NASA astronaut died from complications after having heart surgery earlier this month to unblock an artery. Armstrong was the humble hero, soft spoken and almost shy, avoiding what we today would refer to as having a ′celebrity status′. But a celebrity he became when on July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong, the mission commander of Apollo 11, stepped foot upon the lunar surface and uttered those famous words, ″That was one small step for man, one giant leap for Mankind.″ Along with fellow astronaut Buzz Aldrin, Neil spent some three hours walking on the Moon′s surface, watched by hundreds of millions back on Earth via a crude television signal.

Neil Armstrong dies

Armstrong was chosen to make the first lunar landing attempt for many reasons. He was a civilian astronaut, which was a political decision between Houston and Washington. Armstrong was no stranger to danger. He loved flying, earning his pilot′s license at the age of 16 and served in the Navy in jet combat over the skies of Korea. After that, he became a test pilot thanks to his piloting skills and a keen, trained mind as an engineer. He made several flights in the hypersonic X-15 spaceplane before getting the nod to join the NASA astronaut corps.

Neil had a close brush with death several times before heading to the Moon. As mission commander of Gemini 8, he and co-pilot Dave Scott ran into serious trouble after they docked with an Agena spacecraft. A maneuvering thruster on Gemini 8 malfunctioned, sending the space capsule into an deadly spin. But before the intense G-forces rendered the astronauts unconscious, Armstrong wrestled the spacecraft back into a controlled flight using the capsule′s reentry control system. This forced Gemini 8 to make an early reentry and the pair landed in the South China Sea.

One could wax indefinitely about the quiet heroics of Neil Armstrong. His coolness under pressure whether flying experimental and dangerous aircraft, or when he manually landed on the Moon with just seconds of fuel left. He was an inspiration to many, not just for his courage, but also for his humble nature. So if you happen to see the Moon tonight, please take a moment to contemplate that Neil Armstrong dies at the age of 82. The first man to walk on the Moon, Neil Armstrong was someone that nobody could say a bad word about.

Armstrong First Step On MoonNeil Armstrong X 15Neil Armstrong Apollo 11