Tag Archives: Neil Armstrong

Buzz Aldrin 1.20.13 Thought of the Day

“Beautiful, beautiful, magnificent desolation.”–Buzz Aldrin

Aldrin on the Moon [Image courtesy: Buzz Aldrin.com]

Aldrin on the Moon [Image courtesy: Buzz Aldrin.com]

Edwin EugeneBuzzAldrin, Jr. was born on this day in Montclair, New Jersey in 1930. He is 83 years old.

Aldrin’s father was a Colonel in the Air Force, an aviation pioneer and a Doctor of Science graduate from MIT. His mother, whose maiden name was, appropriately enough, Moon, was the daughter of an Army Chaplain. He had two older sisters, the younger of whom couldn’t pronounce brother, instead she said “Buzzer.” That was shortened to Buzz.

[Image courtesy: Buzz Aldrin.com]

[Image courtesy: Buzz Aldrin.com]

He was offered a full scholarship to MIT, but turned it down, choosing instead to enter West Point Military Academy. He graduated third in his class.

He then joined the Air Force where he flew F86 Sabre Jets in 66 combat missions in Korea, shot down two MIG-15′s, and was decorated with the Distinguished Flying Cross.  After a tour of duty in Germany flying F100’s, he went on to earn his Doctorate of Science in Astronautics at MIT and wrote his thesis on Manned Orbital Rendezvous. [BuzzAlrdrin.com]

He joined NASA as part of the third group of astronauts. His expertise on docking techniques earned him the nickname “Dr. Rendezvous”

The docking and rendezvous techniques he devised for spacecraft in Earth and lunar orbit became critical to the success of the Gemini and Apollo programs, and are still used today.  He also pioneered underwater training techniques, as a substitute for zero gravity flights, to simulate spacewalking. [Ibid]

[Image courtesy: Buzz Aldrin.com]

[Image courtesy: Buzz Aldrin.com]

During his Gemini 12 Mission he “performed the world’s first successful spacewalk” [Ibid].

In July of 1969 he landed on the Moon with Neil Armstrong while Michael Collins orbited over head during the Apollo 11 Mission. Aldrin and Armstrong   became “the first two humans to set foot on another world. They spent 21 hours on the lunar surface and returned with 46 pounds of moon rocks.” [Ibid]

Image Courtesy: NASA]

Image Courtesy: NASA]

Although he has since retired from NASA he remains a tireless advocate for Space exploration, especially the exploration of Mars. He has written a children’s book, an autobiography, and two space based science-fact-fiction novels.

[Image courtesy: Buzz Aldrin.com]

[Image courtesy: Buzz Aldrin.com]

At the passing of Neil Armstrong he wrote:

Whenever I look at the moon I am reminded of that precious moment, over four decades ago, when Neil and I stood on the desolate, barren, yet beautiful, Sea of Tranquility, looking back at our brilliant blue planet Earth suspended in the darkness of space, I realized that even though we were farther away from earth than two humans had ever been, we were not alone. Virtually the entire world took that memorable journey with us. I know I am joined by many millions of others from around the world in mourning the passing of a true American hero and the best pilot I ever knew. My friend Neil took the small step but giant leap that changed the world and will forever be remembered as a historic moment in human history…. [Buzz Aldrin.com]

When people talk about Neil Armstrong they sometimes say he was the “First man on the Moon.” I’m a huge Armstrong fan, but that statement is just not true. Armstrong was the first man to WALK on the Moon, because he descended the ladder of the Lunar Lander first, but he and Aldrin landed on the Moon at the same time.

English: One of the first steps taken on the M...

English: One of the first steps taken on the Moon, this is an image of Buzz Aldrin’s bootprint from the Apollo 11 mission. Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the Moon on July 20, 1969. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Click here the ritaLOVEStoWRITE bioBLOG on Neil Armstrong.

Thought of the Day 8.5.12 Neil Armstrong


Sadly I have to give an update to this post.

One of America’s greatest heros, Neil Armstrong, passed away today due to complications from cardiovascular procedures. He had  heart surgery last month in Cincinnati, Ohio.

“Looking back, we were really very privileged to live in that thin slice of history where we changed how man looks at himself and what he might become and where he might go,” Armstrong said.


“I believe every human has a finite number of heartbeats. I don’t intend to waste any of mine”

–Neil Armstrong

Neil A. Armstrong was born on this day in Wapakoneta, Ohio, in 1930. He is 82 years old.

He grew up near the local airport and took flying lessons as a teenager. He got his pilots license before he got his driver’s license.

Armstrong was a naval aviator for three years, flying 78 combat missions during the Korean War,  prior to joining the National Advisory Committee of Aeronautics (NACA) in 1955. (The NACA was the precursor to NASA.) He  logged over 2,400 hours of air time testing experimental aircraft at Edwards Airforce Base.

According to the NASA’s Glenn Research Center web site:

He has flown over 200 different models of aircraft, including jets, rockets, helicopters and gliders.

In 1962 Armstrong became one of the “New Nine” NASA astronauts, the second group of men selected for US space flight to augment the Mercury 7. The Mercury astronauts established orbital space flight, the New Nine would fly in Gemini space capsules and would tackle docking two vehicles in space and space walks.

English: Close-up on orbiting Agena D rocket s...

English: Close-up on orbiting Agena D rocket stage Polski: Zbliżenie orbitującego członu rakietowego Agena D (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On his historic Gemini 8 mission Armstrong and Dave Scott successfully docked their ship with an unmanned Agena target vehicle. It was an essential first step  towards getting to the moon. Unfortunately about 27 minutes after docking the two ships began to roll and yaw. Assuming the problem was with the Agena, Armstrong undocked, but it was a faulty thruster on the Gemini that was making the capsule spin, and undocking only exacerbated the problem. Armstrong and Scott had to shut down Gemini’s main reaction control system and use the reentry thrusters to zero out yaw and roll on the wildly spinning craft. Armstrong’s masterful flying skills were successful, but they used up 75% of the system’s fuel and Mission Control cut short the flight.

On the Gemini 11 flight he acted as CAPCOM — the person at Ground Control who interfaces with the astronauts in space — and he was the commander of the back-up crew for Apollo 8 (the first human space flight to leave Earth’s orbit, fly to the moon — but not land — and return to Earth.)

Flag of the United States on American astronau...

Flag of the United States on American astronaut Neil Armstrong’s space suit (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Armstrong was the Commander of Apollo 11, the first manned space craft to land on the Moon. He accompanied by Michael Collins, who stayed aloft in the Command Module, and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin, Jr. who touched down on the Moon’s surface on July 20, 1969 with with Armstrong. Armstrong descended a lader and took the first steps on the lunar surface. Armstrong and Aldrin had about 2 hours outside the lander, the Eagle,  to take photographs, set up experiments and collect moon rocks. The Eagle blasted off from the Sea of Tranquility and  Armstrong and Aldrin rejoined Collins on the Command Module, Columbia.

The reverse of the Anthony dollar is based upo...

The reverse of the Anthony dollar is based upon the insignia of the Apollo 11 mission, which was also used on the reverse of the Eisenhower dollar that preceded it. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

He worked for NASA as Deputy Associate Administrator for aeronautics until 1971.

Post NASA he taught and did research as a professor of aerospace engineering at University of Cincinnati and served as the chairman of the board for several privately owned aerospace/defense industries.

Buzz Aldrin walks on the moon, July 20, 1969

Buzz Aldrin walks on the moon, July 20, 1969. The photo was taken by Armstrong. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

[Please note that I did not say Armstrong was the first man to LAND on the moon. Both Aldrin and Armstrong landed on the Moon at the same time.  … Armstrong was the first man to WALK on the Moon.]

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