Washington, Aug 27 (): Nasa has mourned the death of the commander of the Apollo 11 mission, Neil Armstrong, who became the first human to set foot on the moon on July 20, 1969.
Nasa Administrator Charles Bolden said in a statement, “On behalf of the entire Nasa family, I would like to express my deepest condolences to Carol and the rest of the Armstrong family on the passing of Neil Armstrong”.
Armstrong passed away on August 25, Saturday at the age of 82. Earlier this month, just two days after his birthday on August 5, Armstrong underwent a heart-bypass surgery, to relieve blocked coronary arteries. The cause of his death was complications from cardiovascular procedures, his family announced.
When Neil Armstrong became the first person to set foot on the moon, he uttered a phrase that has been carved in stone and quoted across the planet: “That’s one small step for man; one giant leap for mankind.”
Bolden said, “As long as there are history books, Neil Armstrong will be included in them, remembered for taking humankind’s first small step on a world beyond our own. Besides being one of America’s greatest explorers, Neil carried himself with a grace and humility that was an example to us all. When President Kennedy challenged the nation to send a human to the moon, Neil Armstrong accepted without reservation.”
“As we enter this next era of space exploration, we do so standing on the shoulders of Neil Armstrong. We mourn the passing of a friend, fellow astronaut and true American hero,” Bolden added.
Armstrong’s post-Nasa life was a very private one. He did not take any major role in ceremonies marking the 25th anniversary of the moon landing. “He’s a recluse’s recluse,” said Dave Garrett, a former Nasa spokesman.
James Hansen, author of “First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong” said, “His life was about flying. His life was about piloting.” After leaving Nasa, Armstrong became a professor of engineering at the University of Cincinnati. The former astronaut was survived by his wife, Carol in the Cincinnati area.