Neil Alden Armstrong (1930–2012) was a US American astronaut, who was the first man to set foot on the Moon as the commander of the Apollo 11 mission on 21st July 1969, and hence the first to step on a foreign celestial body. The mission was preceded by a fierce competition about the »reign« of space, between the then super powers USA and Soviet Union, so that the success of Apollo 11 turned out to not only have a historical meaning but also had a political relevance.
Neil Armstrong was born in a small town in Ohio in 1931 and has been very enthusiastic about flying from a very young age. He already acquired his pilot’s licence with 16. He studied aerospace engineering and had to join the US Navy as a pilot in Korea. Subsequently, he finished his studies and became a test pilot for flights in extreme heights. Apparently, he was fascinated by being close to space, so he applied for a position with NASA in 1962. In 1965 he flew into space and circled the Earth several times in the framework of the Gemini 8 mission.
Then in 1969, the historic flight to the Moon followed, together with his colleagues Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins. The landing was everything else but easy, because the gas threatened to run out and the auto pilot failed to function and this would have almost turned into a catastrophe. After the »Eagle’s landing«, Armstrong disembarked the space shuttle and spoke to those 600 million listeners and viewers on Earth the historic words: »That’s one small step for (a) man … one … giant leap for mankind«.
Next to its spectacular effect, the mission had certainly scientific objectives, so that Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins had their hands full on the Moon within the first 21.5 hours. That the return to Earth succeeded unscathed, can confidently be called a miracle.
It is always discussed whether the moon landing has actually really happened or whether this might have been a cunning production on Earth. Personally, we believe that this mission took place. It might be possible that there may have been some editing of image material, because it was all about portraying it in the best possible form, of course. However, it would be ludicrous to question the entire validity of the moon landing based on this. The then enemy state of the USA, the Soviet Union, would have undoubtedly left no stone unturned to uncover any fraud.
Neil Armstrong has remained a modest and reserved person throughout his life. He stopped giving autographs when he realised that these were traded for large amounts of money. He was not a superstar, but an advocate of science and of progress. He died with 82 years as a result of a heart operation in August 2012. He fetched a piece of the sky and brought it to the Earth. We are grateful for this significant step.