Neil Alden Armstrong
(1930 – 2012)
Missions: Gemini 8, Apollo 11
Time in Space: 206 hours, 12 minutes
First person to walk on the Moon
NASA astronaut Neil Alden Armstrong was born on August 5, 1930, in Wapakoneta, Ohio. He attended Purdue University, studying aeronautical engineering and participating in the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps. He subsequently received a Master of Science degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Southern California, graduating in 1970.
Armstrong began his career with NASA as a pilot at the Dryden Flight Research Center in California. (The facility was later renamed in his honor.) In September 1962, he was selected to join the second group of astronauts, also known as the New Nine. He flew two space missions: as Command Pilot for Gemini 8 in March 1966—which performed the first successful docking of two vehicles in space—and as Commander for Apollo 11 in July 1969, the first manned lunar-landing mission. President Richard Nixon awarded him and his Apollo 11 crewmates the Presidential Medal of Freedom upon their return. In total, Armstrong logged 206 hours and 12 minutes in space, of which two hours and 31 minutes were spent in extravehicular activity.
Armstrong resigned from NASA in 1971 to accept a teaching position in the Department of Aerospace Engineering at the University of Cincinnati. He died on August 25, 2012, as a result of complications from vascular bypass surgery at the age of 82.