Editor at The Secrets of the Universe, I am a science student pursuing Master’s in Physics from India. My interests include Cosmology, Condensed Matter Physics and Quantum Mechanics.
No matter where the mankind goes in future, but the name Neil Armstrong will always make our hearts beat a bit faster. He was the one who became the first man ever to have stepped on a surface beyond Earth. Taking “one small step” onto the Moon as a part of Apollo mission on July 20, 1969, he inspired generations of ambitious people to reach for the stars in their own lives. Today, on his 89th birthday, we have a compiled a list of 10 astonishing facts about Neil, that all his followers must know.
Flying licence before Driving licence :
When Neil was six years old, his father took him on a ride in a Ford Trimotor airplane. In this manner, Neil Armstrong took to flying at a very young age and that passion never went away. By the time he turned 16, he attained enough experience to get his pilot’s license. This made him probably the first and only person ever to have got his pilot’s license before his driver’s license.
Contribution in war :
Neil Armstrong remained a naval aviator from 1949 to 1952. He fought in the Korean War as a fighter pilot. During that time, he flew 78 combat missions.
The misheard quote:
"That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." These are the words which Neil Armstrong was heard speaking when he landed on moon. However, this is not exactly what he said. According to Neil, he said "That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.” It is believed that “a” may have broken up on transmission or it may have been obscured as a result of his speaking patterns.
Teaching Career :
Armstrong got retirement from NASA in 1971. After his retirement, Neil wanted to stay away from publicity and public life. Demands for his time were everywhere. However, he never intended to accept invitations for public appearances to boast his achievements. Instead, he accepted a job as a professor of engineering at the University of Cincinnati and remained on the faculty for eight years.
Neil not only made his mark on Moon, but also made a name for himself in the entertainment industry. He lent his voice to the educational sci-fi film Quantum Quest: A Cassini Space Odyssey. He also hosted his own show called "First Flights with Neil Armstrong". The show ran from 1991 to 1993 for 39 episodes. Each episode consisted of historical footage, interviews and Armstrong flying various aircrafts. Moreover, Armstrong also appeared in a commercial for Chrysler that aired during the Super Bowl in 1979. This was considered uncharacteristic for the astronaut. Although he earned a large paycheck, he claimed the main reason he appeared in the ad was that “he wanted the struggling US car maker to improve their sales and continue contributing to the domestic economy.”
The Hallmark Controversy :
In 1994, Hallmark decided to use his name for the publicity of a Christmas ornament, but never thought to get his permission first. Enraged by this, Armstrong got into a legal battle with Hallmark. They went to court and eventually settled by paying the compensation. However,Armstrong showed later on that it was about the principle and not the money. Later, he donated all of that money to Purdue University.
Education and achievements :
Talking about Armstrong's educational qualifications, he earned several honorary doctorates from different universities. His biggest academic achievements came from his time at Purdue University and the University of Southern California. There, he earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Aeronautical Engineering and a Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering, respectively.
Armstrong lived a long and happening life. His achievements and accomplishments were not only acknowledged by the United States. Instead, 17 other countries also honored him with several awards and medals. These include the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Congressional Gold Medal, the Congressional Space Medal of Honor, and the American Astronautical Society Flight Achievement Award, and many more.
Journey in NASA :
Armstrong worked for NASA before it was even called NASA. He first joined the organization in 1955. At that time, it was called National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, or NACA for short. He spent 17 years at NACA/NASA and had several roles such as engineer, test pilot, astronaut, and administrator.
Not even a single great picture on moon :
Armstrong was the first man to step on moon, so as we expect, he would have wanted to have a perfect shot of him flaunting the moonscape in background. But, in reality, nothing of this sort happened. Instead, the best photo of Armstrong on the moon is the one of him in the reflection of Aldrin’s helmet. According to Armstrong, he just didn’t really care about taking a picture. This is definitely a concept which people today can never make sense of!
What led him to be the first man on moon?
When it came to decide that who between Neil and Buzz would step first on the moon, the people at NASA decided that Armstrong would be the better candidate. NASA figured that Armstrong’s ego could handle the pressure of being the first man better than Aldrin’s. Moreover, the exit door was on his side and opened inward so it would have been difficult for Aldrin to get out first. In this way, Neil became the first human ever to have stepped on moon.
Being the first man to have walked the moon, Neil has inspired millions. You will always remain the first example and first inspiration for all the space enthusiasts out there. Happy Birthday once again...