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Moon Landing and Buzz Aldrin
Armstrong faced an even bigger challenge in 1969. Along with Michael Collins and Edwin E. “Buzz” Aldrin, he was part of NASA’s first manned mission to the moon. The trio was launched into space on July 16, 1969. Serving as the mission’s commander, Armstrong piloted the Lunar Module to the moon’s surface on July 20, 1969, with Aldrin aboard. Collins remained on the Command Module.
At 10:56 p.m., Armstrong exited the Lunar Module. He said, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,” as he made his famous first step on the moon. For about two and a half hours, Armstrong and Aldrin collected samples and conducted experiments. They also took photographs, including their own footprints.
Returning on July 24, 1969, the Apollo 11 craft came down in the Pacific Ocean west of Hawaii. The crew and the craft were picked up by the U.S.S. Hornet, and the three astronauts were put into quarantine for three weeks.
Before long, the three Apollo 11 astronauts were given a warm welcome home. Crowds lined the streets of New York City to cheer on the famous heroes who were honored in a ticker-tape parade. Armstrong received numerous awards for his efforts, including the Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Space Medal of Honor.
Armstrong remained with NASA, serving as deputy associate administrator for aeronautics until 1971. After leaving NASA, he joined the faculty of the University of Cincinnati as a professor of aerospace engineering. Armstrong remained at the university for eight years. Staying active in his field, he served as the chairman of Computing Technologies for Aviation, Inc., from 1982 to 1992.