Sunday, July 20, 2003

Ohio Moments

Wapakoneta native Armstrong 1st on moon

On July 20, 1969, Ohio native Neil Armstrong became the first person to walk on the moon.

As he stepped from the lunar module Eagle onto the moon's surface, he uttered these words: "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind."

Neil Alden Armstrong was born Aug. 5, 1930, on a farm near Wapakoneta. A Navy pilot, he flew 78 combat missions in the Korean War. In 1955, he joined the fledgling U.S. space program as an administrator, engineer and test pilot. Much of his early work was done at the Lewis Research Center near Cleveland. He became an astronaut in 1962.

Apollo 11 lifted off from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on July 16, 1969. Four days later, Armstrong and fellow astronauts Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin and Michael Collins orbited the moon. The lunar module landed the afternoon of July 20, and Armstrong stepped on the moon's surface at 10:56 p.m. Aldrin joined him 15 minutes later.

Armstrong left NASA in 1971 and became a professor of aerospace engineering at the University of Cincinnati, a position he held until 1979. He now lives in Indian Hill.

Rebecca Goodman

E-mail or call 768-8361.

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