Neil Armstrong (1930 – 2012)
Neil Armstrong was an American astronaut and the first person to set foot on the Moon. He was also an aerospace engineer, U.S. Navy pilot, test pilot, university professor, and served in the Korean War.
Armstrong joined the NASA Astronaut Corps in 1962. His first spaceflight was the NASA Gemini 8 mission in 1966, for which he was the command pilot, becoming one of the first U.S. 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 2½ hours exploring, while Michael Collins remained in orbit in the Command Module.
In 1969, Neil Armstrong was one of several dozen former test-pilots -- all smart, all confirmed adrenaline junkies -- who'd spent the last decade working for NASA, prepping for a variety of ludicrously dangerous possible missions into space. He commanded the Apollo 11 mission to the moon, and, on July 20th of that year, was the first Earthling to walk on it. What he said when he set foot on that alien world is perhaps the most well-known English language phrase of the last century, even though the technology used to relay the message to Earth might have bungled it. What Armstrong thought he said -- or, at least, what he meant to say -- was: "One small step for a man; one giant leap for mankind."
No Earthlings have visited the moon since 1972.
From the Armstrong family:
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.