First Man on the Moon, Astronaut Neil Armstrong Dies at Age of 82

Astronaut Neil Armstrong - NASA
Neil Armstrong – NASA

For those of you who remember intently watching the live TV broadcast of Astronaut Neil Armstrong becoming the first man on the moon, it was a memorable experience.

Neil Armstrong was commander of the Apollo 11 spacecraft and landed on the moon back on July 20, 1969.

Today, Astronaut Neil Armstrong died at the age of 82. In a family statement, Armstrong apparently died following complications due to cardiovascular procedures from a heart bypass operation he had earlier this month.

As Armstrong stepped down onto the lunar surface, he made a statement that is as iconic as any …. “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

Earlier this year, Neil Armstrong gave an interview on Australian television and was quoted, “It was special and memorable but it was only instantaneous because there was work to do.”

The 1960’s were a time of fierce rivalry with the then Soviet Union. There was a heated space race going on to be the first to send a man land on the moon.

In 1961, Alan Shepard became the first American in space with a 15-minute suborbital flight. But he wasn’t the first man in space. A month earlier Soviet cosmonaut Yuri A. Gagarin orbited the Earth.

Upon take-off to the moon in 1969, Neil Armstrong and his two crew members (Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins) carried the heavy burden as the U.S and entire world anxiously watched.

Once Apollo landed on the moon, Armstrong commented, “Houston: Tranquility Base here, the Eagle has landed.”

Apollo astronaut Charles Duke then radioed back to Armstrong from NASA Mission Control in Houston, Texas, “Roger, Tranquility. We copy you on the ground. You’ve got a bunch of guys about to turn blue. We’re breathing again. Thanks a lot.”

NASA astronaut Neil Armstrong - man on moon
Neil Armstrong – NASA

The historic moonwalk by Neil Armstrong was the highlight of his career, which also included piloting the X-15 rocket plane plus making the first space docking during the Gemini 8 mission.

It’s a sad around the world. Neil Armstrong we salute you and your heroism.