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Neil Armstrong Dead: First Man To Walk On Moon Dies, Aged 82

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Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon, has died aged 82.

On Saturday evening the family of Armstrong confirmed the former astronaut's death. A statement read: "We are heartbroken to share the news that Neil Armstrong has passed away."

The Commander of the space ship Apollo 11 died after complications arising from a recent cardiac bypass.

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Amstrong passed through Nasa's Gemini programme before becoming part of Apollo

Armstrong walked on the Moon on 20 July 1969, along with fellow astronaut Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin. The pair spent three hours collecting samples and taking photographs.

Stepping on to the moon, Armstrong uttered the now famous words, "One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind", the culmination of the greatest technological achievement of the 20th century, played out against the backdrop of the Cold War space race against the Soviet Union.

"The sights were simply magnificent," said Armstrong years later. "Beyond any visual experience that I had ever been exposed to."

Profile: Neil Armstrong

Before he left the moon, Armstrong placed a patch on the lunar surface in memory of the astronauts and cosmonauts who had perished during the American and Soviet space programmes.

Armstrong, who served in the US Navy and flew during the Korean War, was recently awarded the Congressional Gold Medal.

Tributes have flooded in following news of his death.

President Obama said: "Neil was among the greatest of American heroes - not just of his time, but of all time."

Astronomer Sir Patrick Moore said: "As the first man on the moon, he broke all records.

"I knew him well. He was a man who had all the courage in the world."

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Armstrong is seated during a suiting up exercise Cape Kennedy, Florida in 1966

Speaking to the Press Association, Mike Cruise, professor of astrophysics and space research at the University of Birmingham, said: "The people at the front of the race always have to tread on new ground.

"He led the whole world into a space era of greater proportion than has been achieved by satellites.

"You wonder when his first steps will be followed up.

"It must have been very awe-inspiring to step on to, essentially, a new planet."

Where were you when Armstrong landed on the moon?

Speaking to Sky News, former astronaut Tom Jones, who who flew on the space shuttled, said: "Mr Armstrong was one of the astronauts that was my hero when I was growing up and I watched his initial landing on the moon in 1969 with incredible interest.

"I wanted to do exactly what Neil, and Buzz, and Mike Collins were doing that time. I hoped that one day I would have the chance to participate in the space programme.

"He really was an inspiration to an entire generation of people."

"He's a very unassuming and friendly person when you get to know him in a professional setting," he added.


Brian Cox
Sad to hear about death of Neil Armstrong. I do think Apollo was the greatest of human achievements. For once, we reached beyond our grasp

The Armstrong family statement, said: "Neil was our loving husband, father, grandfather, brother and friend.

"Neil Armstrong was also a reluctant American hero who always believed he was just doing his job.

"He served his nation proudly as a Navy fighter pilot, test pilot, and astronaut.

"While we mourn the loss of a very good man we also celebrate his remarkable life and hope that it serves as an example to young people around the world to work hard to make their dreams come true, to be willing to explore and push the limits, and to selflessly serve a cause greater than themselves.

"For those who may ask what they can do to honor Neil, we have a simple request. Honor his example of service, accomplishment and modesty, and the 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.”

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Armstrong steps into history by leaving the first human footprint on the surface of the moon

More than a 600m people, a fifth of the world's population, watched Armstrong create history in 1969.

Apollo 11 command module pilot Michael Collins, who was part of the historic moon-landing mission, paid tribute to his former colleague.

Collins said: "He was the best, and I will miss him terribly."

More from the Press Association:

Armstrong was born in Wapakoneta, Ohio, on August 5 1930, and would later begin his Nasa career in his home state.

After serving as a naval aviator from 1949 to 1952, he joined the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) in 1955.

Over the next 17 years, he worked as an engineer, test pilot, astronaut and administrator for NACA and its successor agency, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa).

He transferred to astronaut status in 1962 and was assigned as command pilot for the Gemini 8 mission.

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Armstrong shunned celebrity in later life, spending time in business and academia

Gemini 8 was launched on 16 March 1966, and Armstrong performed the first successful docking of two vehicles in space.

But it was as spacecraft commander for Apollo 11 that he achieved worldwide fame, becoming the first man to land a craft on the moon and first to step on its surface.

Armstrong and then wife Janet met Queen Elizabeth and Prince Andrew at Buckingham Palace at a reception following the moon-landing in 1969 during his 22-nation 38-day world tour.

Space agency Nasa tweeted tonight: "NASA offers its condolences on today's passing of Neil Armstrong, former test pilot, astronaut & the 1st man on the moon. Neil was 82."

Professor Colin Pillinger, the planetary scientist who was the driving force behind Britain's Mars lander Beagle 2, said Armstrong "inspired an entire generation of scientists".

The scientist, who as a young man was involved in analysing samples brought back to earth by Apollo 11, told of meeting the astronaut.

"He said to me 'you analysed some of my samples'. I have dined out on that forever," he told BBC News.

"It is such a sad occasion."

Armstrong Family Statement:

“We are heartbroken to share the news that Neil Armstrong has passed away following complications resulting from cardiovascular procedures.
Neil was our loving husband, father, grandfather, brother and friend.

Neil Armstrong was also a reluctant American hero who always believed he was just doing his job. He served his Nation proudly, as a navy fighter pilot, test pilot, and astronaut. He also found success back home in his native Ohio in business and academia, and became a community leader in Cincinnati.

He remained an advocate of aviation and exploration throughout his life and never lost his boyhood wonder of these pursuits.

As much as Neil cherished his privacy, he always appreciated the expressions of good will from people around the world and from all walks of life.

While we mourn the loss of a very good man, we also celebrate his remarkable life and hope that it serves as an example to young people around the world to work hard to make their dreams come true, to be willing to explore and push the limits, and to selflessly serve a cause greater than themselves.

For those who may ask what they can do to honor Neil, we have a simple request. Honor his example of service, accomplishment and modesty, and the 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.”

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