Biography of American Astronauts: Neil Armstrong
About the United States astronaut Neil Armstrong, history of the NASA space program and biography of the first man to walk on the moon.
An Earthy Look at the American Astronauts
Neil Armstrong. Neil Armstrong was the 1st man to walk on the moon, despite original plans for his copilot, Edwin Aldrin, to take the 1st step. There was considerable friction between Armstrong and Aldrin in the 3 months preceding their voyage to the moon, and there was at least one preflight quarrel between the 2 astronauts.
Michael Collins, the 3rd astronaut on the Apollo 11 journey, has verified the tension between Armstrong and Aldrin in his book Carrying the Fire. Collins added, "Originally, some of the early checklists were written to show a copilot 1st exit, but Neil ignored these and exercised his commander's prerogative to crawl out 1st. This had been decided in April [3 months before the landing] and Buzz's [Aldrin's] attitude took a noticeable turn in the direction of gloom and introspection thereafter. Once, he [Aldrin] tentatively approached me about the injustice of the situation."
Armstrong now lives in relative seclusion on a farm 30 mi. north of Cincinnati, O. He is a professor of engineering at the University of Cincinnati. He avoids interviews and most public appearances, and refuses to cash in on his fame. A university public relations man told The New York Times that he's "almost paranoiac about being used by people."
Still, Armstrong has not forgotten about his flight: "I remember on the trip home on Apollo 11 it suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the earth. I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet earth. I didn't feel like a giant. I felt very, very small."
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