This page no longer updated from 31 October 2001. Latest version can be found at Armstrong

Neil Alden Armstrong Status: Inactive. Trained as: Astronaut. Profession: Pilot. Sex: Male. Marital Status: Married. Children: Two. Birth Date: 05 August 1930. Birth City: Wapakoneta. Birth State: Ohio. Birth Country: USA. Nationality: American. Group: 1962 NASA Group. Date Selected: 17 September 1962. Departed: 1970. Number of Flights: 2. Total Time: 8.58 days. Number of EVAs: 2. Total EVA Time: 2.97 hours.

Official NASA Biography - 1997

Neil A. Armstrong joined the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) at the Lewis Flight Propulsion Laboratory (later NASA's Lewis Research Center, Cleveland, Ohio, and today the Glenn Research Center) in 1955. Later that year, he transferred to the NACA's High-Speed Flight Station (today, NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center) at Edwards Air Force Base in California as an aeronautical research scientist and then as a pilot, a position he held until becoming an astronaut in 1962. He was one of nine NASA astronauts in the second class to be chosen.

As a research pilot Armstrong served as project pilot on the F-100A and F-100C aircraft, F-101, and the F-104A. He also flew the X-1B, X-5, F-105, F-106, B-47, KC-135, and Paresev. He left Dryden with a total of over 2450 flying hours. He was a member of the USAF-NASA Dyna-Soar Pilot Consultant Group before the Dyna-Soar project was cancelled, and studied X-20 Dyna-Soar approaches and abort maneuvers through use of the F-102A and F5D jet aircraft.

Armstrong was actively engaged in both piloting and engineering aspects of the X-15 program from its inception. He completed the first flight in the aircraft equipped with a new flow-direction sensor (ball nose) and the initial flight in an X-15 equipped with a self-adaptive flight control system. He worked closely with designers and engineers at what became Dryden in development of the adaptive system, and made seven flights in the rocket plane from December 1960 until July 1962. During those fights he reached a peak altitude of 207,500 feet in the X-15-3, and a speed of 3,989 mph (Mach 5.74) in the X-15-1.

Armstrong was born August 5, 1930, in Wapakoneta, Ohio. He attended Purdue University, earning his Bachelor of Science degree in aeronautical engineering in 1955. During the Korean War, which interrupted his engineering studies, he flew 78 combat missions in F9F-2 jet fighters. He was awarded the Air Medal and two Gold Stars. He later earned a Master of Science degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Southern California.

He was selected as an astronaut by NASA in 1962. On March 16, 1966 Armstrong and Dave Scott aboard Gemini 8 conducted the first docking in space. But shortly after the Gemini and the Agena docked, the craft began spinning out of control. Armstrong disengaged from the Agena, thinking the problem was there, but the tumbling worsened. It was later determined that it was one of 16 Gemini thrusters was stuck. Unable to stop the spin with the main thrusters, Armstrong shut down the Gemini's reaction control system and brought the craft under control using a second set of 16 thrusters intended only for use on re-entry. Mission Control ordered Armstrong and Scott to cut the flight short and they splashed down in a contingency recovery area in the western Pacific. Armstrong’s successful recovery of the spacecraft in a situation that, if misjudged, could easily have resulted in the death of the crew, resulted in his being made commander of the mission that resulted in the first manned lunar landing.

On July 20, 1969, Armstrong stepped off the ladder of the Apollo 11 Lunar Module and became the first human being to set foot on the moon. He was later joined by Buzz Aldrin for two hours of ceremonies and moon rock collecting. The next day the astronauts’ Lunar Module lifted off from the lunar surface and docked with the Apollo 11 command module, piloted by Mike Collins, in lunar orbit. Armstrong and Aldrin transferred their moon rocks to the command module. The Lunar Module ascent stage was cast off and the crew rocketed to a safe recovery in the Pacific Ocean.

Armstrong had a total of 8 days and 14 hours in space, including 2 hours and 48 minutes walking on the Moon. After the moon landing and the subsequent world tours by the crew, from 1969 to 1971, he was Deputy Associate Administrator for Aeronautics at NASA Headquarters. He resigned from NASA in August 1971 to become Professor of Engineering at the University of Cincinnati, a post he held until 1979. He became Chairman of the Board of Cardwell International, Ltd., in Lebanon, Ohio, in 1980 and served in that capacity until 1982. During the years 1982-1992, Armstrong was chairman of Computing Technologies for Aviation, Inc., in Charlottesville, Virginia. From 1981 to 1999, he served on the board of directors for Eaton Corp. He was still serving as chairman of the board of AIL Systems, Inc. of Deer Park, New York, as of 1999. From 1985 to 1986 he served on the National Commission on Space, a presidential committee to develop goals for a national space program into the 21st century. He was also Vice Chairman of the committee investigating the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster in 1986. During the early 1990s he hosted an aviation documentary series for television entitled First Flights.

Armstrong has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the Presidential Medal for Freedom and the Robert J. Collier Trophy in 1969; the Robert H. Goddard Memorial Trophy in 1970; the Congressional Space Medal of Honor in 1978; and many medals from other countries.

Flight Log

Back to Index
Last update 3 May 2001.
To contact astronauts or cosmonauts.
Contact Mark Wade with any corrections or comments. Cosmonaut data by Alexander B. Zheleznyakov.

Conditions for use of drawings, pictures, or other materials from this site..
© Mark Wade, 2001 .