One Small Step for Mankind

…and one giant leap into our hearts. God speed you on your way, Neil Armstrong.

Eschewing the fame and fortune that would have been at the snap of your fingers, you were the epitome of what was right and brave, all-American and quietly heroic.

Laughing my butt off at this from his Wiki page:

…Armstrong was involved in several incidents that went down in Edwards folklore and/or were chronicled in the memoirs of colleagues. The first was an X-15 flight on April 20, 1962, when Armstrong tested a self-adjusting control system. He flew to a height of 207,000 ft (63 km), (the highest he flew before Gemini 8), but he held the aircraft nose up too long during descent, and the X-15 bounced off the atmosphere back up to 140,000 ft (43 km). At that altitude, the atmosphere is so thin that aerodynamic surfaces have almost no effect. He flew past the landing field at Mach 3 (2,000 mph, or 3,200 km/h), over 100,000 ft (30.5 km) altitude, and ended up 40 miles (64 km) south of Edwards (legend has it that he flew as far as the Rose Bowl). After sufficient descent, he turned back toward the landing area, and barely managed to land without striking Joshua trees at the south end. It was the longest X-15 flight in both time and distance of the ground track.[32]

Four days later, Armstrong was involved in a second incident, when he flew for the only time with Chuck Yeager. Their job, flying a T-33 Shooting Star, was to evaluate Smith Ranch Dry Lake for use as an emergency landing site for the X-15. In his autobiography, Yeager wrote that he knew the lake bed was unsuitable for landings after recent rains, but Armstrong insisted on flying out anyway. As they attempted a touch-and-go, the wheels became stuck and they had to wait for rescue. Armstrong tells a different version of events, where Yeager never tried to talk him out of it and they made a first successful landing on the east side of the lake. Then Yeager told him to try again, this time a bit slower. On the second landing, they became stuck and according to Armstrong, Yeager was in fits of laughter.[33]

That last part sounds more like the truth. Everybody knows Air Force pilots lie like dogs and Yeager was one of the worst. 😛

God, how I LOVE those stories. The Age of Giants, it was.

The Age of GIANTS.

MORE: Via Tim Groseclose: “At the 2:10 mark of this video, on the game show “I’ve got a Secret,” N. Armstrong’s parents discuss their son.

5 Responses to “One Small Step for Mankind”

  1. JeffS says:

    Vale, Mr. Armstrong.

  2. major dad says:

    So sad that people today cannot fathom the technological feat it was to land a man on the Moon. Slide rules for goodness sake!

  3. Kathy Kinsley says:

    May he rest among the stars.

    And, Major Dad, I suspect that if we ever try it again, we may acquire a good deal of respect for slide rules…

  4. The Armstrong quote which both typified the Man was his simple salute to space, when he said, “I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth. I didn’t feel like a giant. I felt very, very small.”

    Ave, atque vale, a true American hero!

  5. Skyler says:

    I love that picture of him inside the LEM right after walking on the moon. It is a face of pure joy.

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