Neil Armstrong, First Man on the Moon: 1930-2012

UPDATE: As a boy of 11 years old, I watched much of this in utter awe as many of you did on that Sunday in July, 1969. It is well worth watching again. I get choked up just watching.

America has just lost its most heroic son. I’m sad. It is doubly sad that America’s manned space program is also dead.

This poem, a favorite of pilots worldwide, seems the most appropriate:

High Flight

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth

And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;

Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth

Of sun-split clouds – and done a hundred things

You have not dreamed of – wheeled and soared and swung

High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there

I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung

My eager craft through footless halls of air.

Up, up the long delirious, burning blue,

I’ve topped the windswept heights with easy grace

Where never lark, or even eagle flew –

And, while with silent lifting mind I’ve trod

The high untresspassed sanctity of space,

Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

 – Pilot Officer Gillespie Magee, No 412 squadron, RCAF, Killed 11 December 1941

Aug. 25, 2012

Neil Armstrong, the astronaut who became first to walk on the moon as commander of Apollo 11, has died. He was 82 years old.

He was born in the small town of Wapakoneta, Ohio, on Aug. 5, 1930.

On July 20, 1969, half a billion people — a sixth of the world’s population at the time — watched a ghostly black-and-white television image as Armstrong backed down the ladder of the lunar landing ship Eagle, planted his left foot on the moon’s surface, and said, “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.”

Twenty minutes later his crewmate, Buzz Aldrin, joined him, and the world watched as the men spent the next two hours bounding around in the moon’s light gravity, taking rock samples, setting up experiments, and taking now-iconic photographs.

more; here:

UPDATE: Andrew Revkin has an interesting backstory on the space race that I think is worth reading here:

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
August 25, 2012 12:45 pm

I salute the man from Wapakoneta, Ohio who took one giant leap for mankind.
I offer my deep regrets and condolences to his family and friends.

August 25, 2012 12:45 pm

We need more like Neil.

August 25, 2012 12:46 pm

Absolutely :-(.
There are so few people in this world who can say they were the very first to do something. Neil Armstrong certainly could. So precious few have been able to bring the world together, if only for a little bit. For that one supreme “giant leap” of a moment, Neil Armstrong did. I hope future generations can understand what he meant to this world.

August 25, 2012 12:47 pm

Not many heroes in my life. Not every year we lose one.
RIP Neil Armstrong.

Tim Clark
August 25, 2012 12:47 pm

RIP. A true Hero.

August 25, 2012 12:50 pm

There are a lot of “firsts” out there, and most of them are really meaningless.
But first human on the moon !!!!!
WOW !!!
All of the Apollo astronauts were very brave men indeed.

August 25, 2012 12:51 pm

I too salute the man who risked his life to save mankind from domination by the USSR !

August 25, 2012 12:51 pm

One of my childhood heroes.
It becomes even sadder when you think that my generation had heroes like Armstrong, Aldrin, etc, while the younger generations today have Beaver Boy, generic rapper #48,918 and Gaga. What is going on?

August 25, 2012 12:52 pm

One wants to mark moments like this in a public forum. I can think of no finer place to express my deep sadness over the loss of one of our finest on Anthony’s courageous blog. Yes, the ‘right stuff’.
[Thank you, Cathy. Always enjoy visiting your blog. ~dbs, mod.]

August 25, 2012 12:53 pm

I think it’s fair to say that his was a life of great achievement.
Technical aside: The current picture is not of the Apollo 11 mission.

August 25, 2012 12:53 pm

> It is doubly sad that America’s manned space program is also dead.
This will probably make me feel old:
The last Apollo flight was in December 1972.
People less than 39 weren’t alive then.
And today – we can’t even launch a person into low Earth orbit.

August 25, 2012 12:54 pm

He was a patriot to the end.

August 25, 2012 1:06 pm

He made me so proud to be an Ohioan when I was 19 and still does. I’m sad.

August 25, 2012 1:09 pm

He never liked the limelight.
Interestingly, besides the video of his first step, the only picture of Neil on the moon is his reflection in Buzz’s helmet, since he had the Hasselblad mounted on his suit.
RIP Neil

Dave Dodd
August 25, 2012 1:13 pm

I was a 22 year old kid in the Navy that day in 1969, thinking I knew it all — I didn’t! I watched the event on a 6″ TV set plugged into the cigarette lighter of my car! Thank you Neil Armstrong for helping bring the technology from there to now! I share your name as my middle. Godspeed Neil Armstrong!

cui bono
August 25, 2012 1:14 pm

RIP , the coolest astronaut ever, and the acme of a more heroic age.
Remind us of what we so recently were, and shame us for what we have now become.

August 25, 2012 1:21 pm

Possibly the most famous person to ever have lived – and probably one of the most missed at this time – RIP.

August 25, 2012 1:24 pm

So many great people seem to be dying these days. The loss of the manned space program is an exclamation point on Neil Armstrong’s death.

Steve C
August 25, 2012 1:25 pm

I, too, am old enough to say, “I was there”, if only in watching him on TV after my school exams. Another mournful milestone. His family can be justly proud. R.I.P., Neil, you were a brave man.

August 25, 2012 1:26 pm

Well, what can I say – as an Armstrong myself (no relation), for the last 40+ years, he has been affectionately referred to as my ‘Uncle Neil’ as a mark of respect. He also visited the Armstrong Clan Trust some 20 odd years ago at Bamburgh Castle and met my grandparents (both now deceased). They spoke very highly of him but noted he was quite meek and reserved.
Still, a jolly good innings methinks, and a darned fine legacy for mankind!

August 25, 2012 1:27 pm

RIP Niel Armstrong…….
He and Armstrong had only been on the lunar surface for a few minutes when Aldrin made the following public statement: “This is the LM pilot. I’d like to take this opportunity to ask every person listening in, whoever and wherever they may be, to pause for a moment and contemplate the events of the past few hours and to give thanks in his or her own way.” He then ended radio communication and there, on the silent surface of the moon, 250,000 miles from home, he read a verse from the Gospel of John, and he took communion. Here is his own account of what happened:
“In the radio blackout, I opened the little plastic packages which contained the bread and the wine. I poured the wine into the chalice our church had given me. In the one-sixth gravity of the moon, the wine slowly curled and gracefully came up the side of the cup.”

August 25, 2012 1:29 pm

Very sorry to learn of the passing of Neil Armstrong. He was a childhood hero of mine.
“…next time you walk outside on a clear night and see the moon smiling down at you, think of Neil Armstrong and give him a wink.”

August 25, 2012 1:32 pm

On what basis do you say that the U.S. manned space program is “dead”? We have astronauts aboard the station right now, and within three years or so, we’ll have multiple private American spaceflight providers. The next decade will be the most exciting for human spaceflight since the sixties.

G. Karst
August 25, 2012 1:33 pm

See you friend, on the dark side of the moon. GK

Steve from Rockwood
August 25, 2012 1:42 pm

A different kind of NASA. A different kind of man.

August 25, 2012 1:44 pm

Armstrong, Aldrin, and Collins–among the great HEROES–Men of courage, character, and discipline.
RIP, Neil Armstrong.

Dave Salt
August 25, 2012 1:44 pm

A sad day indeed… I had the privilege of talking to him only six short months ago when he gave a very entertaining presentation on the X-15. Ironically, this was at a conference about the new renaissance in US spaceflight that’s now underway… Ad astra per aspera!

August 25, 2012 1:45 pm

Actually, we do, if it were important enough to do so. The Dragon capsule that berthed with the ISS (exactly) three months ago today could take someone up, in an emergency. It is already pressurized, and could be quickly outfitted with a rudimentary life support system. It would lack an abort system, but that’s just a detail, in terms of what level of risk an astronaut would be willing to take. We aren’t flying into space on American vehicles because of our risk aversion, not because we don’t have the capability.
I think you overestimate (as most do, because NASA has encouraged the notion) what is necessary to put people into space. Fifty years after the first American orbited the earth, it’s not really rocket science any more.

Doug Huffman
August 25, 2012 1:46 pm

Sic transit gloria mundi, the guys with the right stuff (including the “staff”).

Stephen Wilde
August 25, 2012 1:46 pm

I hope his sad demise will remind many of the time when scientific progress offerred hope rather than doom.
We need a return to the optimism of the 60s that culminated in such an achievement with equipment that we would now regard as totally inadequate.
He and his ilk loved both humanity and the planet. His successors seem to hate humanity and all that has been achieved since everyone had to endure the nasty brutish and short lives of our forebears.

August 25, 2012 1:47 pm

As a six year old i can remember the excitement at turning up to school the day after the moon landing. i remember looking up at the moon and thinking someone is walking about up there.
A real hero if ever there was one.

August 25, 2012 1:47 pm

quiet, softly spoken, authoritive, tough as nails, a leader
the perfect man
RIP Neil

August 25, 2012 1:50 pm

Rest in peace Neil. You inspired a generation.
I still recall watching the moon landing of Apollo 11. That amazing achievement made anything seem possible.

August 25, 2012 1:55 pm

I watched Neil Armstrong step onto the moon on a B&W TV in Tuy Hoa, Viet Nam, in a hooch with about 30 others. Everyone cheered.
A thousand years from now no one will remember who ran in the 2012 election, but everyone will still remember who Neil Armstrong was. RIP Neil, you done good. You made the human race proud.

August 25, 2012 2:00 pm

When Neil landed the Eagle, he was steering around boulders with a computer overflow alarm sounding and only seconds of fuel remaining. I believe humans have yet to achieve anything greater than the moon landings.
Real heros. Real science.

August 25, 2012 2:02 pm

I would not be surprised if the first Starship is named after him.
Yes I know the physics involved but we weren’t supposed to fly either…
Godspeed, Neil Armstrong…

August 25, 2012 2:02 pm

I knew this day would eventually come, and I was still not ready.
I was born when this began, I saw it grow and flower. It was as much a part of my childhood as riding a mustang bike. I don’t know what to say about such a humble quiet man with nerves of steel. All I can think to say is Thank You for all you did I really got a lot from you.
Rest in peace.
We are getting old.

August 25, 2012 2:02 pm

If only more had followed in his footsteps.

August 25, 2012 2:04 pm

Spacex has an already flown rocket and capsule that could take an astronaut to space and back right now without modification. However it would be better if it had a seat, an escape rocket, and some internal flight controls. NASA has already awarded the contract to complete it. US manned spaceflight is not dead, just on a brief pause.

August 25, 2012 2:05 pm

I signed up for your website four weeks ago and it appears that you sold my address to Republcian candidates and other spammers I am not happy.
REPLY: Frank, no, that’s not possible. I don’t sell email addresses. Here’s why:
1. I don’t manage “signups”, but (which WUWT is hosted on) does
2. I don’t get lists of who signs up to follow stories or get registered as user names
3. Even if I did, I’d never do such a thing
4. I’m not aware that does such a thing either. If they did, I’d be complaining too.
5. Your email address, used in other places, may not have standards about selling it to other lists.
6. If you plug your email address into Google search, you’ll see that it is freely in the open on several web pages, making it a target for email harvesters.
7. In the nearly six years I have been running this blog, your is the first and only such complaint. If I were doing this you can bet there would be others.
8. In your only other comment here as “Pancho”:
Submitted on 2012/07/31 at 5:21 am
[Snip. Posting with the d-word violates site Policy. ~dbs, mod.]
You got snipped, so I doubt your sincerity over this complaint, more likely it is one to create a false accusation that you’ll now spread around in retaliation.
You sure picked an inappropriate thread to complain about this on. We have a contact page and tips and notes page for off topic issues. So, sorry if I don’t believe your complaint, your facts are lacking.
– Anthony Watts

Reply to  Frank
August 25, 2012 2:34 pm

I’m not finding any contact info. I’d looked before and didn’t see any. I’m getting mail from “Watchdog,” “Virginia Watchdog,” “Pete Sessions,” “News Alert,” and auto parts site, supposedly lonely women, etc. I’ve been registered with Word Press for years and this has never happened before.
[Look harder for contact info. It’s in the ‘About’ menu. And don’t be so quick to assign blame. Anthony does not sell your personal information. ~dbs, mod.]

John Garrett
August 25, 2012 2:08 pm

If you’ve never read it— do yourself a favor and read it before you die:
“The Right Stuff ”
by Tom Wolfe
Neil Armstrong defined “The Right Stuff.”

Doug Huffman
August 25, 2012 2:15 pm

In re manned spaceflight reliability requirements; so nothing came of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board recommendations about changing NASA corporate culture and acknowledging USN SUBSAFE and NR reliability/quality control programs?
Does that pre-Columbian corporate culture still persist? Or do I mis-remember?
It is my opinion that the Super Conducting Super Collider would have given more real science than the technology demonstrator for which it was traded, knowledge that could not have been traded away as a politico-economic poker chip. Let us hope that commercial spaceflight can soon catch up to where it should be.

Paul Coppin
August 25, 2012 2:21 pm

In the years since, it would seem the giant leap mankind took, was off the precipice, like the lemmings, rather than in the footsteps of men like Armstrong, who walked so extraordinarily tall. That James Hansen should also be the product of his age, and the likes of Al Gore also his legacy, is to brightly highlight the true heros such as Armstrong, quietly amongst us. Godspeed to him and all of his compatriots.

Rhoda Ramirez
August 25, 2012 2:28 pm

An era is ending. From now on we can look forward to more and more death notices as more and more of these towering men soar higher than they could in life. RIP Neil Armstrong. We are diminished by your loss.

Peter Hannan
August 25, 2012 2:32 pm

The first time I stayed up late, with my father, at 12 years old, was to watch the Apollo 11 landing. Amazing! My condolences to friends, family and all who knew Neil Armstrong. I can’t find a place on the NASA site to send a message!

August 25, 2012 2:32 pm

[trimmed, Robt]

August 25, 2012 2:33 pm

A Good man.

August 25, 2012 2:47 pm

NBC “accidently” calls an American hero the wrong name:

Reply to  NikFromNYC
August 25, 2012 3:06 pm

You’re right. Neil Young is a Canadian hero.

August 25, 2012 2:47 pm

simberg8 says:
August 25, 2012 at 1:45 pm
“I think you overestimate (as most do, because NASA has encouraged the notion) what is necessary to put people into space. Fifty years after the first American orbited the earth, it’s not really rocket science any more.”
Umm, they went the moon.
Here is how the trip started, per Wiki:
A gas-generator was used to drive a turbine which in turn drove separate fuel and oxygen pumps, each feeding the thrust chamber assembly. The turbine was driven at 5,500 RPM by the gas generator, producing 55,000 brake horsepower (41 MW). The fuel pump produced 15,471 gallons (58,564 litres) of RP-1 per minute while the oxidizer pump delivered 24,811 gal (93,920 l) of liquid oxygen per minute. Environmentally, the turbopump was required to withstand temperatures ranging from input gas at 1,500 °F (816 °C), to liquid oxygen at −300 °F (−184 °C). Structurally, fuel was used to lubricate and cool the turbine bearings.
Test Firing of an F-1 Engine at Edwards Air Force Base.
Installation of F-1 engines to the Saturn V S-IC Stage. The nozzle extension is absent from the engine being fitted.
Below the thrust chamber was the nozzle extension, roughly half the length of the engine. This extension increased the expansion ratio of the engine from 10:1 to 16:1. The exhaust from the turbopump was fed into the nozzle extension by a large, tapered manifold; this relatively cool gas formed a film which protected the nozzle extension from the hot (5,800 °F, 3,200 °C) exhaust gas.[4]
The F-1 burned 3,945 pounds (1,789 kg) of liquid oxygen and 1,738 pounds (788 kg) of RP-1 each second, generating 1,500,000 pounds-force (6.7 MN) of thrust. This equated to a flow rate of 413.5 US gallons (1,565 l) of LOX and 257.9 US gallons (976 l) RP-1 per second. During their two and a half minutes of operation, the five F-1s propelled the Saturn V vehicle to a height of 42 miles (68 km) and a speed of 6,164 miles per hour (9,920 km/h). The combined propellant flow rate of the five F-1s in the Saturn V was 3,357 US gallons (12,710 l) per second.[4] Each F-1 engine had more thrust than three Space Shuttle Main Engines combined.[5]
I personally would prefer a rocket scientist to light the fuse, if I was sitting on the top of the stack.

Reply to  u.k.(us)
August 25, 2012 3:03 pm

I have no idea what the point of your post is. That was then, this is now. There is no such thing as a “rocket scientist,” but Space Exploration Technologies has many very competent rocket engineers.

Judy F.
August 25, 2012 2:51 pm

I had recently graduated from high school when the moon landing occurred. It was scheduled during the county fair, which I was actively involved in, so one of my friends brought a small B&W TV to the fairgrounds so we could watch it. When Neil Armstrong climbed down the ladder, a whole group of us gathered around a picnic table trying to both see and hear what was going on. Just as Armstrong started down the ladder, a group of horsemen rode by, the horses hooves clip-clopping on the pavement. We were all struck by the coincidence and I thought how iconic of the 20th century for that to happen at that moment. Then when the words “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” were spoken, it brought tears to my eyes. My Dad worked for a sub-contractor for the space program, so it meant a lot to my family whenever a rocket was launched and we watched each one. My dad rarely talked about what he was working on, but one time he did. It wasn’t the Apollo 11 mission, but on another launch, after the first and second stage booster rockets fell off, as the ship turned into it’s final projectory, my dad watched intently, then stood up straight, smiled and said “Oh, good, it worked”.
Condolences to the Armstrong family, and to the larger family of America, who all lost a hero today.

August 25, 2012 2:52 pm

He was my hero – i remember my parents letting me stay up to watch the now-famous broadcast of him stepping out on the moon, when we lived in Scotland. May God rest his soul.

August 25, 2012 3:02 pm

Someone delete that inane comment by NikFromNYC. Maybe meant as ironic, it sits ill with most all other comments here.
R.I.P., Neil.

August 25, 2012 3:02 pm

Best Book: “First Man”…
Well done book. One of the best parts is when Armstrong had to eject from the Lunar Lander simulator (real rocket device..)

Entropic man
August 25, 2012 3:02 pm

“I always knew I would see the first man on the moon. I never dreamed I would see the last.”
Jerry Pournelle.
RIP Neil Armstrong.

David A. Evans
August 25, 2012 3:07 pm

Nothing I can think of to say would be adequate.
Like many, I was allowed to stay up way past my bedtime, (I was 16,) to watch the Moon landing.
R.I.P. Neil Armstrong.

August 25, 2012 3:14 pm

A unique pioneer that America and the world can be proud to have witnessed.
Memories here from Australia for that most famous Apollo flight

David Ball
August 25, 2012 3:26 pm

Our whole school went to the gymnasium to watch the one 25 inch television set the school owned. About 400 students and teachers.The import of the moment was not lost on us.
I will always remember you as the first human being to set foot on another world.

Dan Martin
August 25, 2012 3:36 pm

At the age of 7 and 1/2 my mom took me shopping in Quincy, Illinois. It seemed like every store had a TV set up in the window and only one thing was on. After fruitlessly trying to get me to move on and hearing me complain about wanting to go back to Grandma’s house, Mom finally gave in. The 2 bus rides through town took what seemed forever and hearing the news on the radio didn’t help my anxiety, but we finally made it and I made straight for the TV. We had made it with 10 minutes to spare. Mom, Dad, Grandma, Grandpa, Sis and I watched as the Eagle landed and even at that young age I remember being so overwhelmed that I started crying. I didn’t move from that TV until an hour after Neil stepped out of the LEM, by which time I was so exhausted I fell asleep as soon as I hit the bed.
God speed Neil Armstrong

Steve C
August 25, 2012 3:38 pm

Frank, please, go pollute some other site.
Let us show our respect for a top class human. Thank you.

August 25, 2012 3:41 pm

I remember sitting home in Ohio as a 10 year old watching him step off the LEM.
I remember better the grace and modesty with which he lived the remainder of his life.

August 25, 2012 3:43 pm

“Some people claim the Moon landing was faked (in the desert of Arizona), but if the Moon landing had been simulated and faked I would have to have been part of the conspiracy.”
Not to mention we still don’t have the technology to “fake it”.

August 25, 2012 3:44 pm

Here is the LEM trainer accident. This man was one Sierra Hotel Pilot…
Also-Second Tom Wolfe’s “The Right Stuff..” Movie’s ok but the book’s better…

Robert of Ottawar
August 25, 2012 3:51 pm

Armstrong and the other lunar astronauts just had incredible balls to sit in that tin can and get to the moon and back. You meet the same daring in the early Western explorations of the terrestrial oceans. A fraction of a degree of course and you were toast.
There is no epitaph that can match his “One small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind”. Let that be his epitaph.

Dan in California
August 25, 2012 3:56 pm

“It is doubly sad that America’s manned space program is also dead.”
I respectfully disagree.There may be no current US manned launchers, but to say the program is dead is misleading. NASA is spending a total of about 5% of its budget on three manned launch systems that plan to fly in the next few years. They are being built by Space-X, who have already docked a habitable module to the Space Station, Boeing, and Sierra Nevada. Boeing and SNC will use launch vehicles provided by United Launch Alliance. ULA currently launches all US military payloads to space, and many of NASA’s payloads. The Delta and Atlas launchers are owned and operated by ULA.
Beyond this, Virgin, Armadillo, and XCOR will all likely be flying people to space suborbitally in the next few years, and at least two of those companies have plans for manned orbital systems.
I was in Huntsville, AL for the 20th anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing. (I was working on the Space Shuttle at the time) The 3 astronauts were there and I clearly remember one of them saying “The last thing I want is to come back here and celebrate the 30th anniversary”

Robert of Ottawa
August 25, 2012 3:57 pm

Note to mods. Sorry, Robert of Ottawar is me, I just made a typo
[True, true. We have had few Ottowars down here since 1812.
PS. Do you want Seattle, WA back? 8<) Robt]

August 25, 2012 4:07 pm

RIP Neil Armstrong. I remember the excitement of the Moon landing well. We were in Abu Dhabi with our new first son at the time, (who’s now an airline captain). It was also the year we saw, actually saw, the British prototype Concorde make her maiden flight.

Owen from Cornwall
August 25, 2012 4:16 pm

Rest in peace, sir. You are a hero to many many pilots!
Captain Owen Smith

Paul McCauley
August 25, 2012 4:17 pm

simberg8 and a couple others “on-thread” appear to have no souls – pity, but life goes on. An observation that I have made as a result of my experiences (17 when Neil and Buzz touched down) is that one usually can’t over (or under) estimate what another may do. While ‘simberg8 (and some others) apparently represent the former, thankfully Neil Armstrong joined in leading most others in representing the latter.
If there is an extra-terrestrial, solarial, etc. future for our kind Neil, Buzz, Chris, et al will have singularly, as well as en toto, provided the major foundations for such eagerly (by many) anticipated accomplishments. The detractors “on-thread” – no so much, if any – pity, but life goes on.
I take great pleasure in sharing with my sons (27 yrs) great hopes that soon we may once again revere the special accomplishments of those who ‘built it’ due to their outstanding uniqueness, as well those who ‘built it’ through their graduatedly appreciated supporting roles. Some of us are, in fact: special. Neil Armstrong is in fact one of the most special – and always will be.
First to walk on the moon? There is no equal. Lead on Neil.
(Luv ya Buzz, and others – for your own unique accomplishment & contributions, absolutely!)

Philip Peake
August 25, 2012 4:19 pm

Goodbye Neil, and RIP.
You inspired me, and, I thought at the time, a whole generation, but it seems that generation was more inspired by other things (power, money etc.).
The comments about not being able to even put a man into low earth orbit reminded me of a short article I wrote just over a year ago. I was not optimistic when I wrote it. I am even less so today:

Eric Dailey
August 25, 2012 4:20 pm

[Snip. Inappropriate. ~dbs]

August 25, 2012 4:26 pm

An excellent video of Astronaut Neil Armstrong delivering a lecture at MIT. He discusses engineering aspects of his lunar landing.
RIP, to a true American hero.

August 25, 2012 4:27 pm

A slight tangent here and apologies….
The next time I hear the likes of Tiger Woods et-al described as ‘heroes’ when we have had people like Armstrong walk among us I am going to scream and vomit abuse….

August 25, 2012 4:30 pm

I always have admired Armstrong’s refusal to profit personally from his iconic status. He did his job, turned to teaching, and let history take care of his legacy.

David A. Evans
August 25, 2012 4:33 pm

Might I suggest the black flag afforded Robert E. Phelan [REP] on the masthead?
I agree also with Robert of Ottawa,

One small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind

is a suitable epitaph for this great man.

August 25, 2012 4:35 pm

simberg8 and a couple others “on-thread” appear to have no souls – pity, but life goes on..
An observation that I have made as a result of my experiences (17 when Neil and Buzz touched down) is that one usually can’t over (or under) estimate what another may do. While ‘simberg8 (and some others) apparently represent the former, thankfully Neil Armstrong joined in leading most others in representing the latter.
I said nothing about either over- or underestimating what Neil Armstrong could do. I was discussing what is possible today.

David A. Evans
August 25, 2012 4:37 pm


August 25, 2012 4:39 pm

Here are my thoughts on Professor Armstrong, over at PJMedia.

August 25, 2012 4:42 pm

I am old enough to remember when the “S” in NASA actually meant something. Neil Armstrong was the epitome of everything that the USA once stood for so proudly.
A hero has died, but more importantly the dream has been dying for a while now …

Eric Dailey
August 25, 2012 4:48 pm

@~bds…I object.
What I wrote is true.

Dennis Dunton
August 25, 2012 4:49 pm

Godspeed, Neil Armstrong.

August 25, 2012 4:54 pm

RIP Neil Armstrong!
Beyond this sad news, I 100% agree with Rand Simberg and Dan in California. America’s Manned Space Program is alive and well on the ISS. The future of transportation to LEO is the job of SpaceX and the other companies mentioned by Dan.
BEO exploration will happen when NASA has the balls to stand up to the pork-minded House and Senate and demands REAL vision and programs instead of BS like the SLS that wastes the finite resources of NASA on a monster rocket that is nothing more than a jobs program.
Just my opinion, but saying “It is doubly sad that America’s manned space program is also dead.” is just as bad as a warmist saying “CAGW is settled science.”
It’s simply not true.

August 25, 2012 4:57 pm

Reblogged this on Climate Ponderings and commented:
“Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.”

August 25, 2012 4:57 pm

“It is doubly sad that America’s manned space program is also dead.”
The Commercial Crew programme is progressing well, despite the best efforts of those wedded to old, bloated “cost-plus” government space to discredit or disrupt it. In the next few years the US will have at least THREE man-capable commercial orbital vehicles (Dragon, DreamChaser, CST-100) competing on technical and economic merits.

cui bono
August 25, 2012 4:59 pm

This is probably not the right time to argue about what we can and can’t do in space in the next few years.
My sadness stems not just from the fact that a great man has died, but that I was an excited schoolboy when Neil Armstrong landed on the moon, and will probably be well into retirement before anyone returns there.
We honour his memory. But let us also regret the wasted decades that followed his triumph; the subordination of NASA into a hundred porkbarrel bureaucracies and faddish groups of charlatans; and the missed opportunities of ‘what might have been’.

Simon RuszczaK
August 25, 2012 5:02 pm

It’s a shame since his momentous achievement of our civilization, 43 years ago, that a person still hasn’t set foot on Mars. Would have been nice to have a photograph of him/her meeting Neil Armstrong and shaking hands.

August 25, 2012 5:18 pm

I think Neil Armstrong would want, at this critical juncture in history, for Americans to make a political choice that would reinvigorate our nation and act with confidence toward the future. He would likely vote for another change.
RIP, Mr. Armstrong. A man of men.
Let none of us disappoint.

August 25, 2012 5:18 pm

Very true Thuthseeker
NASA is an abbreviation for National Aeronautics and Space Administration. They have certainly dropped their original ball to persue the money. Windmills and Solar panels are where they are now at. Sad.
Back on topic. Very very sad to learn of Neil Armstrong’s death. He was a truely great man. An inspiration for us all.

August 25, 2012 5:19 pm

Could do without the heroic jingoistic stuff though.

August 25, 2012 5:20 pm

Rest in peace, Neil Armstrong.

August 25, 2012 5:34 pm

This month two great men passed away who are equally going to be remembered 1000 years from now. Martin Fleischmann and Neil Armstrong.
Neil Armstrong passed away in fame while Martin Fleischmann passed away in obscurity.
I know many here disagre with me, but this is what I believe. Time will tell!

August 25, 2012 5:38 pm

I have a feeling that the death of Neil Armstrong is more significant than the press has first realised.
Not only did he turn out to be the most modest person that anyone could pick to be the first man to walk on the moon. He is also the person who is embeded in the brains of billions across the world who watched his moon landing. And he never put a step wrong since.

Leo G
August 25, 2012 5:57 pm

Anthony and all of my American friends, for me, Mr. Armstrong was more then an American Hero. He was a world hero He exemplified what we all should strive for, courage, duty, truth and a real humility. Mr Armstrong, you are already missed by your American Brethren, and the rest of the world. Rest in peace my hero.

Keith Minto
August 25, 2012 6:07 pm

Words by Neil Armstrong via PJMedia
“What are not easily stolen from you without your cooperation are your principles and your values. They are your most important possessions and, if carefully selected and nurtured, will
well serve you and your fellow man. Society’s future will depend on a continuous improvement program for the human character. And what will that future bring? I do not know, but it will be exciting.”
Modest, courageous, intelligent and highly skilled…….
Vale Neil Armstrong

a dood
August 25, 2012 6:09 pm

I went out and looked up at the moon tonight. That was one hell of a leap, Neil!

August 25, 2012 6:10 pm

Neil, Buzz and Michael of Apollo 11 and all who followed them on the Apollo programme were international heroes, not just American heroes. In my eyes they represented all of mankind when they took the ultimate risk for the progression of science and adventure.
These guys showed the rest of mankind what it was like to visit another world and it’s a sad day for planet Earth.
Deepest condolences to his family and friends. x

Geoffrey Withnell
August 25, 2012 6:26 pm

In December 0f 1969 I was inb Chu Lai, RVN. The Bob Hope show came to an absolute standstill for over 5 minutes of standing ovation, when Neil Armstrong was introduced. Even in the midst of war, we know we stood in the presence of greatness.

August 25, 2012 6:41 pm

Anthony added:

UPDATE: Andrew Revkin has an interesting backstory on the space race that I think is worth reading here:

Yeah, worth reading, but I’m a little surprised he had to look into the link to the Cold War. Perhaps my extra six years was enough to figure out what was going on.
When President Kennedy announced we were “going to the Moon not because it is easy, but because it is hard,” (quoted from memory, might be off a few words), the unstated real reason was that it would reestablish the US ahead of the Soviets in access and control of Earth orbit. The Soviets had been first with Sputnik, beeping away overhead and there was not a thing we could do about it except be glad it didn’t carry an atomic warhead.
Things weren’t much better when Yuri Gagarin became the first person to orbit Earth. It was after that event that Kennedy launched the space race. By the time we did make it to the moon, the Soviets had essentially bowed out of that race and turned their attention to space stations, really the more logical next step.
The big failing of the near monomaniacal pursuit of landing a man on the moon and bringing him back safely was that no one had prepared for the next step. Through Apollo 17, the focus remained on engineering, and science was done by test pilots. We met the goal, why are we going back when we have so many problems on Earth? The only saving grace to the cancellation of Apollo 18 was that geologist Harrison Schmitt mission was moved to Apollo 17.
That was my introduction to the political reality of NASA. Skylab was an interesting project done on the cheap, and fell out of orbit before the Space Shuttle’s promise of a quick turnaround
“space truck” could get there to boost Skylab higher.
Even when commercial entities started getting interested in their own launches, they used NASA hardare. Around the same time I began reading accounts from people leaving NASA and basically having to learn how to be a productive engineer elsewhere. (Fortunately the unmanned program and JPL has done better.)
Companies are now getting going that are relying on their own mettle, so that’s good, and perhaps NASA is getting thir act back together, though given the fickle funding from Congress, I’m not impressed. At any rate, if I didn’t spend so much time here, I’d be better up to date on efforts from private enterprise to get us back into space. Corporate politics can be an awesome force too, but at least their pendulum generally doesn’t get pushed as hard as Congress does theirs.
Wikipedia’s is worth reading too.

August 25, 2012 6:43 pm

I’ll never forget that moment. As his family suggested, everytime we see the Moon, wink at Neil and I may add to all the guys who went there and around!

August 25, 2012 6:51 pm

I read, can’t say where, that Buzz Aldrin was selected for Apollo 11 because he was a crack mathematician. And Neil Armstrong was selected because he was a crack pilot. He could fly anything. He proved this when he turned off the auto-pilot and landed the LEM himself. They sounded so cool on the radio, unfazed by the fact that they had less than 60 seconds of fuel.
I was 9. I watched every minute that I could stay awake, most of it.
I knew then that I was witnessing history.

August 25, 2012 6:53 pm

RIP Neil.
If I may contribute an interesting ‘read’ from that era – here is a written account by Sven Grahn on radio astronomer Richard S. Flagg’s (University of Florida in Gainesville) experience in “Tracking Apollo-17 from Florida” from launch through to orbiting the moon and includes their observation of Doppler shift from the radio signals from Apollo 17 as that mission orbited the moon (for any who doubt the veracity of those missions, such things would hard to synthesize or replicate from a ‘back lot’ in Arizona):

August 25, 2012 7:01 pm

Neil Armstrong is the greatest American hero in my lifetime. I’m happy to see others feel the same. Our country is diminished by his passing.
August 25, 2012 7:12 pm

To the poster of “High Flight” with the F-104. In “First Man” you will find that the F-104 was a rather favorite plane for the Apollo guys to fly. Thus the video is a fitting tribute, in more ways than one!

August 25, 2012 7:31 pm

Here is an online memorial to Neil Armstrong – please feel free to light a virtual candle or send
virtual flowers –

August 25, 2012 8:31 pm

I remember watching that F-104 video back in the 1970’s, before there was ‘video’. It was the 2 a.m. sign-off tape from our local TV station. I recall watching it many times when I was young & stayed up late watching B&W movies [recalled here, as I put on my white loafers and hitch up my white pants to go yell at the kids trespassing on my lawn]. ☺

August 25, 2012 8:32 pm

Truly, the right stuff. Requiscat In Pace.

Mac the Knife
August 25, 2012 8:40 pm

‘High Flight’ is an excellent eulogy, for this somber occasion. It sends chills up my spine… and recaptures many treasured memories! One such was on July 20, 1969. I was 13 years old and a passenger with my twin brother in my oldest brother’s car. We had decided to drive over to the western Lake Michigan shore (from central Wisconsin) for a cold swim, on a ‘lark’, and listen to the moon landing on the car radio as we were traveling.
At some point just before we arrived, the words coming out of the scratchy but sufficiently clear AM car radio heralded “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” And the world stood still…..
I’ve never looked at the moon… the planets… or the stars… the same way since. They are within our grasp, if we have the courage and commitment to reach for them and do not let the beggar mentality of socialism impoverish us beyond the will and means to so.
God Speed, Mr. Armstrong…..

Dave Worley
August 25, 2012 8:57 pm

The term “Hero” is much overused today. Neil is one of mine. He was also a humble man who had the courage not to cheapen his accomplishments with tawdry, self-serving media appearances.
Most engineers today sit in front of computer screens, risking carpal tunnel syndrome, or an inaccurate modeling worst.
Rest in Peace my hero! I hope one day America will make real the dream of a lunar base in your honor.

August 25, 2012 10:07 pm

Eighty-two years – a very good run.
Let us pause, and honour a good life… and a great one.

August 25, 2012 10:16 pm

At 9 years old, I remember my family driving back home from Ocean City, Md. to make it in time to see the first lunar landing. The roads were EMTPY! We flew to make it in time (and my Father was NOT know for his “gentle” driving) only to find that our neighborhood had lost power! It came back on just in time to watch the descent and landing of “The Eagle”. These intrepid adventurers have been my heroes. Before, during, and after. God Speed Neil. Fair winds and Following Seas.

Larry Ledwick (hotrod)
August 25, 2012 10:40 pm

I too watched the live TV feed as Neil stepped onto the moons surface. After they had been out of the Lunar Lander for a while I walked out on the front porch and gazed up at the full moon and pondered the fact that for the first time in human history another human was standing on the surface of the moon. I briefly considered all the billions of men and women who had gazed up at that body over the millennia since we became sufficiently self aware to dream big dreams, dare great adventures, and wonder if man would ever stand on the moon looking down on earth.
It dawned on me that I was experiencing an event that would be in history books for as long as mankind keeps track of historical events, as one of the great thresholds of exploration in all of mans history.
Sleep well Neil, you did well in representing both America and Mankind in that one magic moment in man’s history of exploration!

Amino Acids in Meteorites
August 25, 2012 10:55 pm

The red, white, and blue on the moon is beautiful.
What a privilege for Neil Armstrong to be in that picture. He will be ever a memorable name in America.

August 25, 2012 10:58 pm

I would be remiss and all would not be right in the world if I did not make mention of this obscure observation of the Apollo 11 event directly by an amateur radio astronomer (and ham) named Larry Baysinger in Louisville, Kentucky who was able to monitor _not_ the Unified S-band downlink transmissions (that would be used by NASA for communications with the astronauts) *but* instead the UHF backpack AM transmitter carried by (Apollo 11 astronaut) Neil Armstrong on UHF channel B (259.7 MHz) which was intended only to carry voice comms to the LEM for relay back to earth via the S-Band Unified System.
Larry Baysinger used a very large corner reflector antenna in his yard to receive the weak, but readable, signals carrying both of the astronauts’ voices. At the website below are mp3 reproductions of Larry’s tape-recordings from the Apollo 11 mission on the moon in 1969:
Direct line-of-sight pathloss calculations coupled with a low lunar angle (using the earth as a partial reflector as well to ‘gather’ RF energy) indicate within the realm of possibility that Larry could copy directly the astronaut’s communications directly from the surface of the moon; this trick known and used by hams when attempting 2-way Moon-bounce contacts (i.e. utilize the low lunar angle to make partial use of the earth as a reflector).

Bill Sticker
August 25, 2012 10:59 pm

When I watched that historic first step as a boy, Neil’s singular action made me hope for a better future. Of course he was only the tip of a very broad pyramid of engineers who took our imaginations off our own rolling ball of rock, but he was the first, and should forever be ennobled in memory of the 1960’s space race.
God speed and happy landings Neil. You blazed the trail.

I. Lou Minotti
August 25, 2012 10:59 pm

In that grand banquet that marks the beginning of a true Kingdom, Mr. Armstrong would be one who would humbly and quietly take his seat in the back row. And then, he would be invited forward! Wonderful! Lord, bless and comfort those who look to the brave men you’ve placed on this earth as examples for all of us, and multiply your comforts especially to those closest to them who are now bereaved.

August 25, 2012 11:09 pm

There is a book, the paper back version of which I had a few years ago written after the collapse of the old USSR when the Russians became much more forth coming on their past history and which I can’t recall the name of unfortunately , that details from the Russian’s themselves, the Russian’s all out drive to beat the American’s to the Moon.
It was pure brutal politics that led to the Moon Race as First Secretary of the Soviet Union, Nikita Khrushchev poured billions of rubles into the Russian Space program and drove his space scientists and engineers into trying to fulfill an almost impossible political task of being the first of mankind to set foot on a new and totally foreign world.
The final disaster that broke the back of the Russian space rocket program as the massive explosion on the pad at Baikonur of N1 prototype moon rocket as a direct result of the General in charge of the Russian space program and on the site, demanding that an electrical fault be repaired without de-fueling the rocket. He died along with many of Russia’s best rocket technicians.
That was about the third time the N1 had failed it’s test launches.
In about 1952 or thereabouts the British Interplanetary Society had developed a long range plan to place men on the Moon by 1998.
I had just reached my teens in 1952 and can still remember the excitement I felt when I found a long article about the BIS ‘s plans and then proceeded to devour the article word for word.
And when Armstrong and Aldrin made their famous landing, all other activities in our household were cancelled and even my two young daughters were made to sit and watch for as I told them, [ they haven’t forgiven me yet! ] you are seeing something that when the history of our times is written and those of the generations to come will look with awe upon a feat that can never ever be repeated, the very first time mankind has ever set foot on a world that was not his own.
And we will go back and back, again and again until mankind has mastered space for that as always has been our destiny.
We take our losses.
We learn.
Mankind as always pushes ever onwards to newer and higher goals.
Space is another goal which we have yet to master but we will.

Smoking Frog
August 25, 2012 11:14 pm

Rand Simberg August 25 1:32 PM On what basis do you say that the U.S. manned space program is “dead”? We have astronauts aboard the station right now, and within three years or so, we’ll have multiple private American spaceflight providers. The next decade will be the most exciting for human spaceflight since the sixties.
Ignorance explains many cases, I suppose, but I also think it’s one of those things that a certain type of man likes to say.

August 25, 2012 11:44 pm

Neil Armstrong, First Man on the Moon: 1930-2012

… One Giant Loss For Mankind
( credit: Geoff Brown )

Crispin in Waterloo
August 25, 2012 11:53 pm

Watching a B&W TV in the truck repair shop at steel yard we dropped our tools and cranes our necks to see the magic moment. Buck Rogers was real. It was glorious.
I am interested in his ET related comments – footprints and all. Did he ever confirm any of it? Are ETs going to remain verboten even with all the private launches taking place? Everyone has a camera now. Maybe we’ll get a peek now and then!
This week we lost 2 Armstrong heroes: Lance and Neil. How different their epitaphs will be.

I. Lou Minotti
August 26, 2012 12:12 am

Rob Carter wrote (8/25/12 at 1:47 pm): “As a six year old I can remember the excitement . . .” That’s neat stuff. I, too, recall that Sunday as a lad a few years older than you, perhaps, but on a little lake bass fishing with my dad in our canoe. Before we left the house, he reminded me to get the transistor radio (remember those things?). I thought he wanted to hear the Phillies game, but instead he kept the radio tuned to AM 1210, which I thought was odd. We both heard the landing broadcast on the radio, and then dad turned and smiled (dad always had the front seat in the canoe) and said, “America has done it again, son.” Good stuff. That mindset proves why dad deserved the front seat of the canoe, and why I am amazed as I watch the exploits of men far braver than me. RIP, Mr. Armstrong. Say “hi” to poppy for me!

August 26, 2012 12:48 am

Somehow this hits me harder than anything else lately. I don’t know, what to say. It’s like a large part of my life has gone into the abyss with Armstrong.

Old Nanook
August 26, 2012 12:49 am

I have read around ten of the generally available biographies and histories of the Apollo astronaut corps. My own conclusion from this study was that Neil Armstrong wasn’t selected for the first moon landing by accident. He was likely selected because he was the best at dealing with the unknown in the specialized environment of the lunar landings. I will say that again: He was the best. To me, it is more than a little interesting that this man — the best person available for this mission — proved to be so self-effacing, so personally humble. Too many in public life today are frauds and cheats, driven by money and ego. We can learn more than a little from Neil Armstrong.

John Gorter
August 26, 2012 1:32 am

I watched Neil Armstrong’s walk on TV in the geology lecture theatre at the Australian National University. That remains a highlight of my life. In 1973 I met Jack Schmitt, the only geologist to walk on the moon, on top of the Gosses Bluff impact in central Australia. I showed him some Devonian sandstone we had collected and said ‘Hey Jack, I bet you never found any fossil fish up there!’
Vale Neil!

Kelvin Vaughan
August 26, 2012 1:49 am

In the 50’s I was ridiculed by all my school mates for saying a man would walk on the Moon.
Thanks Niel making my day.

Roger Longstaff
August 26, 2012 2:01 am

Neil Armstrong – the very best of the USA.
Apart from understandable sadness, this should also be a time of great American pride.

David, UK
August 26, 2012 2:21 am

omanuel says:
August 25, 2012 at 12:51 pm
I too salute the man who risked his life to save mankind from domination by the USSR !

WTF? I hope that was irony.

August 26, 2012 2:29 am

Apollo flights at the time were inspiration to many youngsters to get into science. RIP

August 26, 2012 2:32 am

One would be hard pressed to ignore the decline in technological capability that once put men on the moon and now has trouble getting them into orbit while the defense budget against no threat in particular keeps ballooning bigger and bigger every year. One is also starkly reminded that heroes such as Mr. Armstrong live modest lives on a pension while the self-congratulatory “Masters of the Universe” gorge on the economy again that they’ve so recently wrecked without any repercussions whatsoever while offering no accomplishments worthy of even a decent burial.

Philip Mulholland
August 26, 2012 2:43 am

Memories of July 1969 from the NASA archives
Apollo 11 Mission History
Apollo 11 Images & Text

Barry Sheridan
August 26, 2012 2:53 am

The world has lost a most dignified man, RIP Neil Armstrong.

Carsten Arnholm, Norway
August 26, 2012 2:53 am

I rarely use the word “hero”, but Neil Armstrong was a true hero. I was 9 years old and watched the landing on a black & white TV set here in Norway. I will never forget it.
Thank you, RIP.

michael hart
August 26, 2012 3:00 am

Cometh the hour, cometh the man.

Jonathan Smith
August 26, 2012 3:29 am

I was too young to remember Apollo 11 but remember watching Apollo 17 on the TV with my Dad. Having watched the astronauts on the moon for a few minutes he took me outside to look at the moon and he said,”Isn’t it amazing son, there are men walking on the moon right now.” The sheer magic of that moment has never left me and still makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up when I think of it. In fact, my admiration for what Neil Armstrong and all of NASA achieved has only grown as I have learned what they achieved through the application of true science and engineering.

August 26, 2012 3:53 am

Farewell, Neil.
From “Man in the Moon” to “Man on the Moon” in one small step is no small feat.
May the Gods be with you.

Jonathan Smith
August 26, 2012 4:11 am

Have just read on the BBC website that President Obama has paid tribute to Neil Armstrong on his twitter feed. I hope that isn’t what he thinks a real hero deserves by way of tribute. The President should address the nation in recognition of the passing of someone who is likely to be one of the most enduringly famous Americans ever.

Glenn Tamblyn
August 26, 2012 4:48 am

Neil Armstrong was a keeper. Brave in that real quiet way of real heroes. Some of his colleagues went on to pursue other agenda’s but Neil just kept on being Neil.
Luv the scene from Apollo 13. Neil and the others have gone around to support the families of the Apollo 13 crew. Jim Lovells’ grandma says “If that thing were a washing machine, My Jimmy could land it” And Neil Armstrong is just portrayed as a damn fine guy supporting someones grandma. Real hero stuff.
Years ago there was the ‘good luck Mr Gonski’ meme that went the rounds on the Internet. I so hope that story was true! The very best of our Gods have feet of clay. It is their transendance of the ordinary that makes them special.
Vaya Con Dios Neil.
You were always the First.

Glenn Tamblyn
August 26, 2012 4:54 am

Carsten Arnholm, Norway says:
“Thank you, RIP.”
Yep, thats the point. The real heroes always do.

Glenn Tamblyn
August 26, 2012 5:01 am

Crispin in Waterloo says:
“This week we lost 2 Armstrong heroes: Lance and Neil. How different their epitaphs will be.”
Sorry Crispin. Lance rode a push-bike. Neil rode the zephyr. Nolo contedere

August 26, 2012 5:18 am

We are who we are – by where we have been.
Drake, Raleigh, Magellan, Columbus, ARMSTRONG, etc. One of the earliest breaks from traditional financing of risk-adventure-science traditionally proposed financing by discovery of gold silver and spices. “The Eagle has landed” – not for gold but for the a new precious commodity – engineering discovery. Tasked 5 years earlier probability of failure might have been high.
Point of memory – 20 feet from entering a detached shop at my parents home, the radio inside on (perpetually except non-occupancy night) and those words The Eagle Has Landed. In my life an early Hero, Neil Armstrong.

August 26, 2012 5:21 am

Back in 1969 the laws concerning hitchhiking and sleeping on beaches were not as strict, and there were few “gated communities.” I had hitchhiked down to Wood’s Hole and taken a ferry out to Martha’s Vineyard, a sixteen-year-old fool with an interest in researching irresponsible relationships. Out on Martha’s Vineyard it seemed a giant party was going on, and also a movie was being filmed, and I somehow wound up at a party where all the ladies seemed to be wearing diamond necklaces and everyone was drinking more than was wise. People kept sauntering outside and looking at the moon, for the brave men were “on their way.” Inside someone wondered if “Teddy” was looking at the moon and thinking of his older brother, when he drove off the bridge the night before. (I had no idea what they were talking about.) A gorgeous second from the movie set was flirting with me. I felt way over my head and far from home, but the astronauts seemed much farther. People forget it took four days to get there. The launch was July 16, and the suspense was incredible, as the days passed.
I got home July 20, a sorry-looking and exhausted young man, and fell asleep on the livingroom couch. The next thing I knew I was being shaken, and woke to watch the amazing images in black and white on the TV screen.
Three weeks later was the Woodstock rock concert. (I hitchhiked the opposite direction that weekend, and it now seems I was one of the few people who wasn’t there.)
What a summer that was! America has been through a hard school since then, but I still feel the spirit lives.

August 26, 2012 5:40 am

Sputnik 1, Layka, Gagarin, John Glenn, Tereshkova and finally Armstrong all landmarks and science wonderment of my youth, time relentlessly moves on.

August 26, 2012 5:57 am

A sad day indeed. I missed the actual take-off of that mission. We’d all gathered in the school hall to see it, but some loon set off the fire alarm about a minute before the countdown. By the time we were allowed back inside they were well on their way. But like millions of other brits our family crowded around the TV in the early hours to watch the landing. Way past my normal bedtime but I didnt even need to ask if I could stay up.
As regards the conspiracy theorists I heard of an incident (possibly urban myth) where a journalist was handed a knuckle sandwich by one of the astronauts when asked for their opinion of the ‘fake’ theory some years later.
Anyone know if it was true? Either way…good answer.
Lets hope his passing prompts others to stand on the shoulders of this giant and follow the motto of the RAF …
per ardua ad astra
Through adversity to the stars

Steve Thatcher
August 26, 2012 5:58 am

R.I.P. Neil Armstrong.
It is so easy to overlook the woeful computing power available at the time, your portable phone has more processing power than on board the Apollo flights.
We now need the courage (a small percentage of that of the spacemen will do) to ensure that we spread outwards into the solar system and beyond. If not, a small rock may well end the dreams of mankind forever.
I shall remember watching in the early morning hours ( in London) the thrilling event unfold before my eyes, once again RIP.
Steve T

Alan D McIntire
August 26, 2012 6:12 am

i was 19 years old at the time, at a family reunion. I went to our car and listened to the radio broadcast of the landing That night when we got home, our family watched Armstrong and Aldrin step out of the lunar module and walk on the moon live. I had read plenty of science fiction as a teenager, some of it describing the first men on the moon. In NONE of those science fiction stories was the first landing done live on TV.
Before the actual landing, there was some speculation that part of the moon was covered in thick dust, which could be dangerous to walk on. Either because Armstrong and Aldrin were aware of those speculations and were being cautions’, or because it took a little time to adjust to lunar gravity. their first few steps were slow,, small, and tentative. In a few minutes they had
either eliminated their fears of falling through dust, or they had adjusted to lunar gravity- They began bouncing around in large leaps.

Vince Causey
August 26, 2012 6:30 am

They say everyone remembers where they were when JFK was shot. Well, I have vivid recollections of Neil setting foot on the moon. Although only 15, I was allowed to stay up after midnight (my parents had gone to bed), and set about recording the historic event with the only device I had available – a camera. I don’t know what happened to those grainy black and white photos, banded with fuzzy white lines, but I will never forget the memory.
God bless you Neil Armstrong.

August 26, 2012 7:14 am

You should come away stunned by how small and frail these craft were … and the courage of the men who climbed into them to go into “outer space”.

August 26, 2012 7:36 am

Polkyb on August the 25th @ 6:10 pm:
Hear Hear! An example of an American for whom I have nothing but admiration (like you Anthony). What an antidote to the rubbish coming out of Hollywood. It is very heartening to know that such people exist, even if we have suffered the loss of Neil Armstrong.

j molloy
August 26, 2012 7:50 am

all of human-kind owes him a debt we can never repay R.I.P.

August 26, 2012 8:56 am

One other thing this quote from the book by Brian Shul on flying the SR-71.
fits Neil Armstrong, and the feeling of the intensity of high performance flight..
The cockpit was my office. It was a place where I experienced many emotions and learned many lessons. It was a place of work, but also a keeper of dreams.
It was a place of deadly serious encounters, yet there I discovered much about life. I learned about joy and sorrow, pride and humility, and fear, and overcoming fear. I saw much from that office that most people would never see. At times it terrified me, yet I could always feel at home there. It was my place, at that time in space, and the jet was mine for those moments. Though it was a place where I could quickly die, the cockpit was a place where I truly lived.
– Brian Shul, Sled Driver
August 26, 2012 9:01 am

RIP Neil Armstrong. A great explorer, and by all accounts a first class human being.
The moon just got a little colder and further away.

August 26, 2012 9:39 am

My hero, RIP.
His funeral should be a state funeral. If his family wishes of course, so that theworld may honor his achievements and inspire more.

August 26, 2012 9:57 am

Thanks to all for the lovely tributes, I’ve enjoyed reading how so many of you, like my family, stayed up to watch that iconic image unfold live (more or less) on TV. As I said on FB yesterday, we tend to picture our heros as everlastingly young and always at the peak of their great deeds, so it’s always a bit of a surprise when we are forced to accept that they age and die just as the rest of us do. It seems so wrong, but Neil Armstrong can rest easy knowing that the entire planet is where everyone knows his name.
(But I’ll bet he’s not resting, he’s exploring. :))

UK dissenter
August 26, 2012 9:58 am

I stayed up, with my dad, to watch Neil and the team land on the Moon. We watched it on a small black-and-white TV, hearing every Houston command, with those iconic ‘beeps’! We were spellbound then, and I am still spellbound now.
Excellent choice of the poem “High Flight” by Pilot Officer Gillespie Magee to celebrate Neil Armstrong’s bravery, skill and dedication; and the >400,000 people who helped him and the crew do it.
Somehow there’s a simple and correct, straight-line connection between the Spitfire Pilot losing his life fighting Nazi tyranny, and the vision of human possibility that was the Moon landing, during the height of the Cold War fight with Soviet, and Communist tyrannies.
Neil, and the >400, 000 gave us hope, and showed what we could do in the free-market West. He is a hero, a humble and grounded one, who always acknowledged that he was the first man to land on the Moon, because of the devotion of a huge team of people who, with huge skill and drive, put him there.
Since then a number of sciences that functioned properly, when the Moon landing was being planned, have been perverted, hollowed out and stopped working. WUWT is one of the teams that lead the good fight against the perverted ‘sciences’ and cultural pessimism of our times.
I wish Anthony and the team, every power to your elbow, and today I salute Neil Armstrong.
A simple, nerdy (by his own admission) man who made the world hold its breath, and understand, with the right stuff, we could reach for the stars. He may be dead, but that hope can never die. God bless America.

Eimear Dwyer
August 26, 2012 10:00 am

Alexander Feht says:
August 26, 2012 at 12:48 am
Somehow this hits me harder than anything else lately. I don’t know, what to say. It’s like a large part of my life has gone into the abyss with Armstrong.
That is exactly how I feel Alexander.

Dan in California
August 26, 2012 10:02 am

Ozymandus says: August 26, 2012 at 5:57 am
As regards the conspiracy theorists I heard of an incident (possibly urban myth) where a journalist was handed a knuckle sandwich by one of the astronauts when asked for their opinion of the ‘fake’ theory some years later. Anyone know if it was true? Either way…good answer.
That was Buzz Aldrin and it happened in Los Angeles in May 2006. He was accosted by a loon who was stalking him. Buzz and his family were exiting a restaurant when the guy stuck a microphone in Buzz’s face and called him a liar and a coward.The conspiracy theorist tried to sue but the judge threw the case out. I have talked to Buzz since then but that subject never came up.

Entropic man
August 26, 2012 10:23 am

A requium for a great ma, a great event and the apogee of the United States.

Viv Evans
August 26, 2012 10:48 am

Watched the landing in the early hours on a black-and-white TV ‘over here’ in the UK.
For me then and now and forever, the most moving words were ‘The Eagle has landed’. Hard to describe the immense achievement to get the men there and back.
And then the famous words …
Yes, Neil Armstrong was a true hero, one of the very few.
Rest in peace.

August 26, 2012 11:19 am

Thanks to Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins my son became interested in space and astronomy. When he was young we couldn’t drive south on I-75 without making the stop at the Neil Armstrong Museum in Wapakoneta, Ohio. Always worth the stop. Great little museum. My son also read and re-read Michael Collins book, “Carrying the Fire” until the book was worn out.
Today he is a professional astronomer. A professor of astronomy. Apollo 11 made all the difference in my son’s life.
Thanks Neil.

August 26, 2012 11:32 am

I remember vividly my dad getting us up early to watch the landing…

August 26, 2012 12:49 pm

My birthday is early July in 1964. In ’69, I was given a very nice telescope that I didn’t really think much of until I watched the landing 3 weeks later. My mom said I was utterly fascinated. I went outside and for the first time and looked up because I wanted to see, not because I was told to. I have never stopped looking up since.
Thank you Neil.

August 26, 2012 3:09 pm

Not just first on the Moon but the first human, ever and forever, to walk on another world, no matter what else the human race does in space, for the rest of its existence.

Don Worley
August 26, 2012 3:28 pm

“My own conclusion from this study was that Neil Armstrong wasn’t selected for the first moon landing by accident. He was likely selected because he was the best at dealing with the unknown in the specialized environment of the lunar landings.”
It certainly does take the right kind of person to pull off such a mission. Firstly, he understood how the machine worked. These machines evolved on the backs of a team of hundreds of engineers, and he had to keep up with all the changes even up until shortly before launch, and understand how it all worked. That knowledge surely helps one remain cool in the face of 1201 alarms coming at a very critical time. But knowing the machine is not enough, and surely there was something really cool, and confident in the man’s character.
As for the 1201 alarms, it is my understanding that they were computer overloads caused by Buzz Aldrin’s failure to properly configure the landing radar system. That’s not talked about much though.

Tsk Tsk
August 26, 2012 3:42 pm

Dan in California says:
August 25, 2012 at 3:56 pm
“It is doubly sad that America’s manned space program is also dead.”
I respectfully disagree.There may be no current US manned launchers, but to say the program is dead is misleading. NASA is spending a total of about 5% of its budget on three manned launch systems that plan to fly in the next few years. They are being built by Space-X, who have already docked a habitable module to the Space Station, Boeing, and Sierra Nevada. Boeing and SNC will use launch vehicles provided by United Launch Alliance. ULA currently launches all US military payloads to space, and many of NASA’s payloads. The Delta and Atlas launchers are owned and operated by ULA.
SpaceX is really the only game in town with man-rating of Atlas a distant and darkhorse second. Let’s hope they get it right. Suborbital flights are irrelevant. That’s equivalent to jumping up in the air and claiming you’re eight feet tall.
Anthony’s quite right that our manned space program is dead or at least in a coma. What’s even more infuriating is that we wasted $90B on green energy. Just think of what we could have done with that money. And now we’ve lost Armstrong who was a quiet and noble champion of manned space exploration. A very sad day indeed.

August 26, 2012 6:08 pm

Has anybody ever wondered what they monitored on those rows of ‘computer’ consoles at Mission Control in the late sixties?
Anyone wonder what the function was for the plethora of racks of equipment did at the remote transceive sites or at the KSC or Goldstone ‘dishes’?
What was the communications gear, what were the protocols used, and could the Space Flight center in Houston actually send remote commands, data or even programs to the Apollo Command/Guidance computer?
Well, this document has the answer and the ‘details’ on how this was accomplished:
It won’t be easy reading, unless you’ve got a wide, diverse background in communications and some familiarity with RF hardware (let alone ‘of the day’ ca. mid 60’s) … but if you have any curiosity at all how NASA handled comms, control, telemetry as well as distance measurement AKA ‘ranging’ the above document should give one a good idea how those things were achieved …

August 26, 2012 6:09 pm

A child hood hero of mine, may you rest in peace Neil Armstrong.

August 26, 2012 7:52 pm

Good night moon.

Don Story
August 26, 2012 8:01 pm

A sad day indeed. I’m with you Ric, our space program seems doomed. Another hero to me was John Parenti who worked for grumann and got Apollo 13 back safely.

Dave Worley
August 26, 2012 8:14 pm

This is my personal favorite….a video of the entire powered descent with communications between eagle and houston. There is no idiot media commentary to interrupt.
There is also a transcript, with some explanation of terminology and many other great materials at this link:

Dan Kurt
August 26, 2012 8:47 pm

Are their any out there that, as I, doubt if men ever went to the moon?
Dan Kurt

Peter Tombee
August 26, 2012 9:27 pm

Vale Neil Armstrong. Gentleman and scholar; adventurer.
Conscripted into the army at the time: while we were dressing for breakfast at Recruit Training Camp I alerted those in surrounding rooms to a radio across the hall telling us that the Eagle was about to land.
A few hours later they walked on a second celestial body, left their marks, and departed forever. Buzz Aldrin was, incidentally, the first man off the moon, but it was Neil’s stage.
We will not see the first of his kind again. History in a moment.

Steve Tabor
August 26, 2012 11:11 pm

Love to see that flag, blowing in the lunar wind.

Peter Hannan
August 27, 2012 12:59 am

The poem High Flight is certainly appropriate. I offer as a complement this:
It’s the First World War (1914 – 1918) and aeroplanes are being used for the first time on a large scale, offering the opportunity to fly. Britain was involved in the war against Germany, but Ireland was not.
An Irish Airman Foresees His Death
W. B. Yeats
I know that I shall meet my fate
Somewhere among the clouds above;
Those that I fight I do not hate,
Those that I guard I do not love;
My country is Kiltartan Cross,
My countrymen Kiltartan’s poor,
No likely end could bring them loss
Or leave them happier than before.
Nor law, nor duty bade me fight,
Nor public men, nor cheering crowds,
A lonely impulse of delight
Drove to this tumult in the clouds;
I balanced all, brought all to mind,
The years to come seemed waste of breath,
A waste of breath the years behind
In balance with this life, this death.
From: ‘The Wild Swans at Coole’, 1919
‘A lonely impulse of delight’: perhaps an apt phrase for what Neil might have felt on stepping for the first time on the Moon (though he was a great team member).
While I’m at it, it’s worth remembering those astronauts / cosmonauts who died in this great enterprise:
“They are most rightly reputed valiant who perfectly understand what is dangerous and what is easy, but are not thereby diverted from adventuring”.
Pericles, Funeral Oration, in History of the Peloponnesian War, Thucydides
Husband, McCool, Anderson, Brown, Chawla, Clark, Ramon.
Komarov, Grissom, White, Chaffee, Dobrovolsky, Volkov, Patsayev,
Resnick, Scobee, Smith, McNair, McAuliffe, Jarvis, Onizuka.
These names will be written under other skies.
Ken McLeod
I got this in 2003 from, but can’t find the link now. And they have been: at least, a series of hills explored by the Mars rover Spirit have been named after the seven Columbia crew members.

August 27, 2012 1:37 am

Obama and Putin should rename The International Space Station ,The Gagurin Armstrong Space Station in their honour
( imagine the presige ,the idea came from a Climate Skeptic weblog site )

Andrew W
August 27, 2012 1:59 am

“It is doubly sad that America’s manned space program is also dead.”
I think reports of the death of America’s manned space program are greatly exaggerated.

Entropic man
August 27, 2012 3:39 am

Steve Tabor says:
August 26, 2012 at 11:11 pm
Love to see that flag, blowing in the lunar wind.
I’m afraid not. Buzz Aldrin reported that it was blown over by the exhaust gases from the ascent stage of Eagle during the takeoff. It is also not visible from its shadow in the recent high resolution photos of the Apollo landing sites from the Lunar Reconnaisance Orbiter.

August 27, 2012 8:12 am

Dave Worley says:
August 26, 2012 at 8:14 pm
This is my personal favorite….a video of the entire powered descent with communications between eagle and houston.

There is also a brief comm in there with Columbia (the Command Module) at the 2:58 point when the steerable S-band antenna on Eagle ‘slews’ off of earth and the channel gets very noisy (there was no ‘squelch control’ on the FM voice channel on the Unified S-Band system … one can also hear ‘picket-fencing’ and several fades as any ham who has operated VHF/UHF FM can testify to …) when Houston/CapCom asks Columbia (CM) to pass a message to Eagle (LM):
“Columbia – Houston we’ve lost em .. tell’em to to go aft-omni will ya?” (a reference to switch to the ‘aft’ omni-directional antenna on the LM from the high-gain directional antenna)
Note also remarks by CapCom about “data dropouts” during those noisy audio segments, since the Unified S-Band system carries *both* the voice signals and Telemetry signals from the LM (and the CM as well, but on a different frequency of course).
Thanks for that link BTW.

August 27, 2012 9:38 am

Dan In California
Thanks for details of the knuckle sandwich incident. I didn’t know the loon subsequently tried to sue. I’ve since found a couple of vids of it. The guy calls him a coward & a liar. Djeez. Its a wonder everybody else didnt punch him too. Buzz is a ‘lefty’ it seems.
Dan Kurt
Maybe I’m having a bad brain day but your post reads to me as if you actually DO doubt that we ever went to the moon? I’m having a John McEnroe moment here.

Richard Keen
August 27, 2012 9:59 am

Some 350 years before Neil Armstrong made the giant leap, Johannes Kepler wrote a short story (with lots of footnotes) about a voyage to the moon. So as not to offend the thought police of the times, the moon voyage was disguised as a dream, and the novel’s title was “Somnium”. Kepler is better known for his science, including his fundamental discovery of mathematical rules that govern the universe (specifically, planetary motion), which led to Newton’s universal laws of gravity, which in turn allowed us to plot Armstrong’s path to the moon. Although presented as a dream, Kepler’s footnotes in the Somnium described much of the science behind the voyage, including details such as the cross-over from Earth’s gravity to the moon’s. Remember Apollo 11 crossing that point and beginning its fall towards the moon? That’s when Apollo had truly left its home planet.
Carl Sagan nicely wove together the stories of Kepler and Apollo in the third episode of Cosmos, titled “The Harmony of the Worlds”. The entire episode is posted at:
If you’re short on time, the part about the Somnium starts at 52:50.
At 54:37, Kepler looks down at his feet and sees Armstrong’s footprint on the moon.
Kepler had the dream, and Neil made it come true.

August 27, 2012 1:23 pm

where is the flag’s shadow?

August 28, 2012 2:01 pm

A coworker sent this to me, I don’t think I’ve seen it before. I won’t post the whole letter, just the introduction. Please follow the link to read the full letter, what Dr. Stuhlinger wrote 40 years ago still applies today.
Ernst Stuhlinger wrote this letter on May 6, 1970, to Sister Mary Jucunda, a nun who worked among the starving children of Kabwe, Zambia, in Africa, who questioned the value of space exploration. At the time Dr. Stuhlinger was Associate Director for Science at the Marshall Space Flight Center, in Huntsville, Alabama. Touched by Sister Mary’s concern and sincerity, his beliefs about the value of space exploration were expressed in his reply to Sister Mary. It remains, more than four decades later, an eloquent statement of the value of the space exploration endeavor. Born in Germany in 1913, Dr. Stuhlinger received a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Tuebingen in 1936. He was a member of the German rocket development team at Peenemünde, and came to the United States in 1946 to work for the U.S. Army at Fort Bliss, Texas. He moved to Huntsville in 1950 and continued working for the Army at Redstone Arsenal until the Marshall Space Flight Center was formed in 1960. Dr. Stuhlinger received numerous awards and widespread recognition for his research in propulsion. He received the Exceptional Civilian Service Award for his part in launching of Explorer 1, America’s first Earth satellite.

August 29, 2012 12:55 pm

crucilandia, the whole thing about shadows has been explained many times
if you go here
with an open mind,
you’ll get your answers

August 29, 2012 4:06 pm

For a site of scientific scepticism, your blind faith in veracity of the Apollo program is surprising. To believe that Armstrong & Co landed the untested lunar module safely, blasted off in the same untested module, docked safely, made the quarter million mile journey back to Earth, splashed down perfectly – it’s like an unending series of Mannian hockey sticks! Not to mention the flawless photos, including shadows at 90 degree angles to each other, not a single shot of stars, an Earth that’s too small, secondary lights, and so on. There are so many anomalies that you need to believe in space fairies to swallow this tale. For an amusing but insightful survey of the saga, read the Wagging the Moondoggie series here:

August 29, 2012 4:51 pm

The ability of more than one person to keep a secret falls off with the cube of the number of people privy to the secret.
I just made that up, but how would you explain the literally thousands of people involved with the Apollo program, who would have had to keep it a secret that Apollo 11 never went to the moon? And those thousands of people would have had to keep it a secret for the past 44 years.
Believing the moon landing was a hoax is the mother of all conspiracy theories.
And what about all the subsequent moon missions, with tens of thousands of NASA employees, subcontractors, and the military involved? Were they a hoax, too? ☺

August 30, 2012 1:24 pm

I respect the right of people to think it was faked, regardless of how wrong I think they are, but lets not get off topic here.
This thread is about the passing of Neil Armstrong. Claiming the moon missions were faked in here means you are effectively calling Neil Armstrong a charlatan in a book of rememberance.

Peter Hannan
August 31, 2012 2:52 am

Sorry to butt in, but in this thread there was a question by some person (I can’t remember his name) who asked if anyone here doubted the Apollo landings were real, and I sent a reply starting with ‘Nope, not me anyway’ or something similar. But I can’t find it on the thread as presented now. What happened?

Peter Hannan
August 31, 2012 3:00 am

Was it because I used the word ‘crap’ to refer to the ideas of the people who deny the Moon landings happened?

%d bloggers like this:
Verified by MonsterInsights