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Neil Armstrong, Astronaut and Author

By Kristin Masters. Aug 5, 2013. 2:15 PM.

Topics: Biographies, Science, Book News

On August 5, 1930, Neil Alden Armstrong was born near Wapakoneta, Ohio. The future astronaut would be the first man to walk on the moon, and go on to become an author. Check out these ten things you probably didn't know about Armstrong.

Neil Armstrong

  • Armstrong's love of flying began when he was only two years old. That year, his father took him to the Cleveland Air Races, and the experience ignited a lifelong love of flying in young Armstrong.
  • Armstrong took his first airplane flight with hs father in Warren Ohio on July 20, 1936. They rode in a Ford Trimotor, also sometimes called the "Tin Goose." 
  • An active Boy Scout, Armstrong earned the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award and the Silver Buffalo Award. He would later greet the Boy Scouts on his way to the moon. 
  • Although Armstrong chose to attend Purdue University for his undergraduate studies, he was also admitted to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). However, an engineering friend who'd graduated from MIT said that it wasn't necessary to go all the way to Cambridge to obtain a good education.
  • Armstrong attended university under the Holloway Plan, which required three years' service in the Navy. He was called to service on January 26, 1949 and first saw action in the Korean War two years later, on August 29, 1951.
  • He flew a total of 78 missions during the Korean War, earning the Air Medal for his first twenty combat missions; a Gold Star for his next twenty; a Korean Service Medal; and a Gold Star. 
  • When Armstrong returned to Purdue after the war, his grades were much better. A baritone player, he joined Kappa Kappa Psi, the national band fraternity, and played in the Purdue All-American Marching Band.
  • Armstrong actually submitted his application to the astronaut program about a week after the deadline. But his former colleague Dick Day slipped it into the pile unnoticed. 
  • During the Apollo 11 launch, Armstrong's heart rate reached 110 beats per minute. He was pleased not to experience motion sickness, as he had in many past missions; he and others credit the crew's ability to move about for their lack of motion sickness.
  • Armstrong did not compose his famous epigram, "One small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind" until after he'd actually landed on the moon. He noted in an interview with Esquire that he thought the mission's chances for success were only about "fifty-fifty" and didn't see the point of thinking of something to say until it was necessary. 
Following his career as an astronaut, Armstrong turned his attention to the written word. His books are popular among lovers of science, space exploration, and biography. Armstrong's authorial credits include biography and even a children's book! 

Kristin Masters
Master Content Brain. You think it, she writes it, no good thought remains unposted. Sprinkles pixie dust on Google+, newsletters, blog, facebook, twitter and just about everything else.


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