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     Volume 6 | Issue 36 | September 09, 2012 |


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The First Man To The Moon

Apurba Jahangir

Photo: Internet

"That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,” the words that were first announced in NASA's microphone when a man took his first step on the moon on July 29, 1969. This man is no other than the great Neil Armstrong who has been a hero for many generations.

For those who don't know, Neil Armstrong was the first man to go to moon along with Michael Collins and Buzz Aldrin. But he was more than an astronaut. Neil Armstrong was also an Aerospace Engineer, US Navy Pilot, test pilot, and university Professor. His first spaceflight was the NASA Gemini 8 mission in 1966, for which he was the command pilot (becoming one of the first US civilians) in space. On this mission, he performed the first manned docking of two spacecraft with pilot David Scott. Armstrong's second and last spaceflight was as mission commander of the Apollo 11 moon landing in July 1969. On this mission, Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin descended to the lunar surface and spent 21 hours exploring, while Michael Collins remained in orbit in the Command Module. Armstrong was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Richard Nixon along with Collins and Aldrin, the Congressional Space Medal of Honour by President Jimmy Carter in 1978, and the Congressional Gold Medal with his former crewmates in 2009. He came to Dhaka in October 26, 1969 along with Michael Collins and Buzz Aldrin on their world tour.

After the Apollo 11 flight, Armstrong announced that he did not plan to fly in space again. After that he was appointed as Deputy Associate Administrator for aeronautics for the Office of Advanced Research and Technology, Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA). He also served on two spaceflight accident investigations. The first was in 1970 on Apollo 13 and another in 1986 for the investigation of the Space-shuttle Challenger. After resigning from ARPA and NASA, he accepted a teaching position at the Department of Aerospace Engineering at the University of Cincinnati.

Like many other men of fame, Armstrong had faced rough patches in his life. He underwent surgery on August 7, 2012, to relieve blocked coronary arteries. But a great deal of sorrow came down to earth when he died on August 25, 2012 in Cincinnati, Ohio, following complications resulting from these cardiovascular procedures. Armstrong was a hero to not only astronauts but also to a lot of people. He taught us that everything was possible. Once while giving a speech at the University of Massachusetts (MIT) a student asked him if he thought men could ever go to Mars. He replied, “I can't give you the correct answer, but when I was your age, I never thought we could ever go to the moon.” Armstrong's words depict that he was a modest man who hoped that anything could be possible with little effort. He passed down this belief to people all over the world.

Neil Armstrong was one of the greatest heroes, one of the icons in the world. He put mankind's first mark on the moon. We owe him our respect to the last day of the human race. Like Armstrong's family's statement, "For those who may ask what they can do to honour Neil, we have a simple request. Honour 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."

(Compiled from the internet.)


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