"One step for man." And the first man to take that step , from the Apollo ladder onto the dusty surface of the moon was the one and only Neil Armstrong, his name recognisable throughout the world.
Born in Ohio in August 1930, Neil had received a degree in aeronautical science by the age of 25. During the Korean conflict, which interrupted those studies, Armstrong flew around 80 missions, for which he received many citations, including two gold stars. However, his love was the science of flying and the act of flying itself, and he returned to this after completing his studies.
He became a research pilot and worked on aircraft such as the F-101 and F-100C. He also tested America's rocket plane, in which he exceeded speeds of 5 mach and climbed to a height of over 207,000 feet.
It was in 1962 that Neil joined the NASA astronaut programme, being one of nine chosen for the task. He commanded two space missions for NASA. During the first, which involved a docking manoeuvre with another spacecraft, there was a problem with uncontrolled spinning. Neil was successfully able to rescue the situation, using all of his physical and technical skills, saving the lives of the crew and returning to earth without further incident. It was as a result of this achievement that Neil was chosen to command the historical Apollo 11 lunar landing mission. On 20 July 1969, Armstrong took that first step onto the moon, where he spent 2 hours and 48 minutes. Upon his return, he and his crew were treated like heroes throughout the world.
In August 1971Neil resigned from NASA and he has spent the rest of his working life to date involved with academic and commercial institutions. However he did return to the space scene briefly as chairman of the committee that investigated the Challenger disaster in 1986.
Throughout his career Neil has work has been recognised throughout the world be the bestowing of many awards and prizes. But he will be remembered from now and into history for those first steps onto a foreign alien planet, the moon.