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Neil Armstrong Biography

Last updated date: 28th Feb 2024
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Neil Alden Armstrong was an American astronaut and was the first person to walk on the Moon. He was also an aeronautical engineer, a naval aviator, a test pilot, and a professor at the University of Cincinnati. 

In this article let us learn more about Neil Armstrong life, achievements and journey to the moon.

Neil Armstrong History on Early life 

When was Neil Armstrong Born?

Neil Armstrong Birthday was August 5, 1930. Neil Armstrong height was 1.8 m.

Neil Armstrong Belongs to Which Country?

Neil Armstrong was born near Wapakoneta, Ohio. So, Neil Armstrong belongs to the United States of America (USA).

Neil Armstrong Family

  • Mother - Viola Louise

  • Father - Stephen Koenig Armstrong

  • Younger brother - Dean Armstrong

  • Younger sister - June Armstrong

Education of Neil Armstrong

  • Neil Armstrong attended Blume High School in 1944 and learned to fly at the Wapakoneta airfield.

  • Neil Armstrong started studying aeronautical engineering at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, when he was 17 years old.

  • The Holloway Plan provided for his higher education. Successful candidates agreed to complete two years of study, two years of flight training, and one year of service as an aviator in the United States Navy before finishing their bachelor's degree.

  • In January 1955, Armstrong earned his Bachelor of Science in Aeronautical Engineering.

  • He earned his Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Southern California (USC) in 1970. 

  • Several universities would later bestow honorary doctorates on him.

Naval Service

  • On January 26, 1949, Armstrong received a call from the Navy, instructing him to report to Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida for flight training with class 5-49. 

  • On February 24, 1949, he was commissioned as a midshipman after passing the medical examinations.

  • He made his first aircraft carrier landing on the USS Cabot on March 2, 1950, which he compared to his first solo flight.

  • Armstrong was told by letter on August 16, 1950, that he was a fully trained naval aviator.

  • On November 27, 1950, he was assigned to VF-51, an all-plane squadron, and became its youngest pilot. 

  • On January 5, 1951, he flew his first jet, a Grumman F9F Panther.

  • Armstrong served in the Korean War as an escort for a photo reconnaissance plane over Songjin on August 29, 1951. He flew armed reconnaissance over the primary transportation and storage facilities south of Majon-ni, west of Wonsan, five days later, on September 3.

  • Armstrong flew 78 missions over Korea for a total of 121 hours in the air, with the third mission taking place in January 1952 and the last mission taking place on March 5, 1952.

  • Neil Armstrong achievements in naval service are Air Medal, two gold stars for the next 40 combat missions, the Korean Service Medal and Engagement Star, the National Defense Service Medal, and the United Nations Korea Medal.

  • On February 25, 1952, Armstrong's regular commission was revoked, and he was assigned to the United States Navy Reserve as an ensign.

  • In May 1952, he was assigned to VR-32, a transport squadron, after completing his combat tour with Essex.

  • On August 23, 1952, he was discharged from active service but remained in the reserve, and on May 9, 1953, he was promoted to lieutenant (junior grade).

Neil Armstrong Family after Marriage

Neil Armstrong was married twice. He was married to Janet Shearon from 1956 to 1994 and Carol Knight from 1994 to his death.

Neil Armstrong had 3 children from his first marriage. A daughter named Karen Armstrong died at the age of 2 due to pneumonia. He has two sons Eric Armstrong and Mark Armstrong.

Test Pilot Career

  • Armstrong worked as an advanced research test pilot after graduating from Purdue.

  • On March 1, 1955, Armstrong flew his first test flight at Cleveland's Lewis Flight Propulsion Laboratory.

  • After this short stint at Cleveland's Lewis Flight Propulsion Laboratory Armstrong was tasked with piloting chase planes at Edwards. He also flew the modified bombers and had his first flight incident at Edwards on one of these missions.

  • He flew over 200 different aircraft types throughout his career.

  • Armstrong flew the North American F-100 Super Sabre A and C versions, the McDonnell F-101 Voodoo, the Lockheed F-104 Starfighter, the Republic F-105 Thunderchief, and the Convair F-106 Delta Dart as a project pilot.

  • He also operated the Douglas DC-3, Lockheed T-33 Shooting Star, North American F-86 Sabre, McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II, Douglas F5D-1 Skylancer, Boeing B-29 Superfortress, Boeing B-47 Stratojet, and Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker, as well as the Parasev paraglider research vehicle programme.

  • Armstrong was involved in a number of events that have become part of Edwards legend or have been recorded in the memoirs of colleagues.

  • Armstrong's engineering ability was admired by many of the test pilots at Edwards.

Astronaut Career

  • Armstrong was chosen for the US Air Force's Man In Space Soonest programme in June 1958, but funding was cancelled by the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) on August 1, 1958, and it was superseded by Project Mercury, a civilian project administered by NASA, on November 5, 1958. 

  • Armstrong was ineligible to become an astronaut because he was a NASA civilian test pilot at the time, as the selection was limited to military test pilots.

  • NASA announced in April 1962 that it was accepting applications for the second group of NASA astronauts for Project Gemini, a planned two-man spacecraft. This time, only eligible civilian test pilots were considered. 

  • In May 1962, Armstrong visited the Seattle World's Fair and spoke at a NASA-sponsored conference on space exploration. He applied to become an astronaut after returning from Seattle on June 4th.

  • Astronaut Neil Armstrong and Astronaut Elliot See were named the backup crew for Gemini 5 on February 8, 1965, with Armstrong serving as commander and assisting the prime crew of Gordon Cooper and Pete Conrad. The aim of the project was to practise space rendezvous and establish procedures and equipment for a seven-day flight, all of which would be essential for a Moon mission.

  • Armstrong's final assignment in the Gemini programme was as the back-up Command Pilot for Gemini 11 on September 12, 1966, which was confirmed two days after the landing of Gemini 8.

  • Slayton offered Armstrong the role of commander of Apollo 11 after he acted as backup commander for Apollo 8 on December 23, 1968, as Apollo 8 orbited the Moon.

  • On January 9, 1969, the crew of Apollo 11 was formally announced as Neil Armstrong, Micheal Collins, and Buzz Aldrin, with Lovell, Anders, and Fred Haise serving as backups.

Journey to the Moon

  • On July 16, 1969, at 13:32:00 UTC, a Saturn V rocket launched Apollo 11 from Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center.

  • The aim of Apollo 11 was to land safely on the Moon rather than to land at a specific spot.

  • On July 20, 1969, at 20:17:40 UTC, a man stepped onto the Moon's surface for the first time.

  • "That's one small move for a man, one giant leap for mankind," Armstrong said after placing his left boot on the lunar surface at 02:56 UTC on July 21, 1969.

  • Aldrin joined Armstrong on the Moon about 19 minutes after Armstrong took his first move, making him the second human to walk on the Moon. They started their investigation into how simple it would be for a human to work on the lunar surface.

  • After assisting with the installation of the Early Apollo Scientific Experiment Package, Armstrong went for a walk to what is now known as East Crater, which is 59 metres east of the LM and represents the mission's greatest distance travelled from the LM.

  • The three astronauts returned to Earth and were picked up by the USS Hornet after splashing down in the Pacific Ocean.

Life of Neil Armstrong after a Walk on the Moon

  • Armstrong revealed shortly after Apollo 11 that he would not be flying in space again.

  • He was appointed Deputy Associate Administrator for Aeronautics for ARPA's Office of Advanced Research and Technology, where he served for a year until resigning from both the agency and NASA in 1971.

  • He started his master's degree while stationed at Edwards years before and finished it after Apollo 11 by presenting a paper on different aspects of Apollo rather than a thesis on hypersonic flight simulation.

  • He accepted a teaching position at the University of Cincinnati's Department of Aerospace Engineering. Armstrong was a University Professor of Aerospace Engineering at the University of Cincinnati. He took on a large teaching load, teaching core classes and developing two graduate-level courses: aircraft design and experimental flight mechanics. He was regarded as an excellent teacher and a strict grader.

  • Armstrong was a part of Edgar Cortright's inquiry into the Apollo 13 mission after an accident aborted the mission's lunar landing in 1970. He compiled a comprehensive timeline of the flight. He discovered that the explosion was caused by a 28-volt thermostat switch in an oxygen tank that was supposed to be replaced with a 65-volt version.

  • President Ronald Reagan appointed Armstrong to a fourteen-member commission to establish a blueprint for American civilian spaceflight in the twenty-first century.

  • Armstrong worked as a spokesperson for many companies after retiring from NASA in 1971.

  • He has worked on the boards of directors of a number of businesses.

  • Mike Dunn, a professional expedition leader, arranged a trip to the North Pole in 1985 for men he considered to be the "greatest explorers." Armstrong, Edmund Hillary, Hillary's son Peter, Steve Fossett, and Patrick Morrow were among the party. On April 6, 1985, they arrived at the North Pole.

When Did Neil Armstrong Die?

  • On August 7, 2012, Armstrong underwent bypass surgery to treat coronary artery disease. Despite appearing to be recovering well, he died in Cincinnati, Ohio, at the age of 82, due to complications in the hospital.

  • Neil Armstrong Death date is August 25, 2012.

  • On September 13, a memorial service for Armstrong was held at Washington National Cathedral's Space Window, which portrays the Apollo 11 mission and contains a sliver of Moon rock among its stained-glass windows.

  • Armstrong was described by his Apollo 11 crewmate Buzz Aldrin as "a true American hero and the best pilot I ever met," and he expressed regret that they will not be able to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Moon landing together in 2019.

  • Another Apollo 11 crewmate Michael Collins said that "He was the best and I will miss him terribly".

Neil Armstrong Achievements

Neil Armstrong was a recipient of many awards and honours, few are listed below.

  • Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Richard Nixon.

  • Cullum Geographical Medal from the American Geographical Society.

  • Collier Trophy from the National Aeronautic Association in 1969.

  • NASA Distinguished Service Medal.

  • Dr Robert H. Goddard Memorial Trophy in 1970.

  • Sylvanus Thayer Award by the United States Military Academy in 1971.

  • Congressional Space Medal of Honor from President Jimmy Carter in 1978.

  • Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy from the National Aeronautic Association in 2001.

  • Congressional Gold Medal in 2011.

  • Langley Gold Medal from the Smithsonian Institution in 1999 along with Apollo 11 crew members.

  • NASA's Ambassador of Exploration Award in 2006.

  • Inducted into Aerospace Walk of Honor, International Space Hall of Fame, National Aviation Hall of Fame, and the United States Astronaut Hall of Fame.

Interesting Neil Armstrong Facts

  • When Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon for the first time, more than half a billion people watched it live around the world.

  • The Saturn V rocket, which launched Neil Armstrong and his crew into orbit, was the size of a 36-story building. The Launch Control Center, which housed the team in charge of coordinating the launch from the site, was 3.5 miles away from the launchpad.

  • The Eagle was the name of the Lunar Module that Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin piloted together to land on the moon. It's from here that the now-famous phrase "The Eagle Has Landed" was coined.

  • Neil and Buzz were not only the first humans to walk on the moon, but they were both the first to see Earth from its surface. Neil said that he could block out the Earth with his thumb while there! He said that the Moon made him feel lonely, but that it also reminded him of how beautiful our home is.

  • Neil Armstrong and his co-pilot, Buzz Aldrin gathered dust materials from the moon's surface to sample back on Earth while they were on the moon. The samples were auctioned for £1.4 million in 2017.

In this biography of Neil Armstrong we have talked about Neil Armstrong Birthday, Neil Armstrong Family, Neil Armstrong achievements and finally, When did Neil Armstrong Die.


Neil Armstrong lifted the hopes and aspirations of every human being on the planet. We all believe that humans can do amazing things, that we can think about our place in the universe, that we can all reach up and out, that we can all fly, and that we can all change the world.

So reading the biography of Neil Armstrong life and accomplishments is one of the inspiring and useful things to students.

FAQs on Neil Armstrong Biography

1. Who is Neil Armstrong?

Ans: Neil Alden Armstrong was an American astronaut and was the first person to walk on the Moon.

2. Neil Armstrong Belongs to Which Country?

Ans: Neil Armstrong belongs to the United States of America (USA). Neil Armstrong was born near Wapakoneta, Ohio, USA.

3. Who were the Crew Members Along with Neil Armstrong Who Landed on the Moon?

Ans: Micheal Collins and Buzz Aldrin were the other two crew members who accompanied Neil Armstrong on his Apollo 11 mission to Moon.