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Neil Armstrong, first man on the moon, dies aged 82

The former NASA research pilot and engineer served as spacecraft commander on the landmark Apollo 11 mission in 1969.

Neil Armstrong at a press conference in 1999.
Neil Armstrong at a press conference in 1999.
Image: AP Photo/Peter Cosgrove

THE FIRST MAN to walk on the Moon has died aged 82.

Neil Armstrong made the historic “one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind” speech as he set foot on the moon’s surface on 20 July 1969 during the Apollo 11 mission.

According to NASA’s biography for Armstrong, he served as a naval aviator before joining the space agency, for which he worked as an engineer, test pilot, astronaut and administrator.  He was the command pilot for the 1966 Gemini 8 space mission and carried out the first successful docking of two vehicles in space.

Following the success of the Gemini mission, Armstrong was the spacecraft commander on Apollo 11.

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After his successful lunar landing, Armstrong worked as the Deputy Associate Administrator for Aeronautics at NASA and was vice-chairman of the investigation into the Challenger shuttle disaster.

In a statement, Armstrong’s family said he had died as a result of complications from cardiovascular surgical procedures. He had recently undergone heart by-pass surgery.

“While we mourn the loss of a very good man, we also celebrate his remarkable life and hope that it serves as an example to young people around the world to work hard to make their dreams come true, to be willing to explore and push the limits, and to selflessly serve a cause greater than themselves,” the family said.

For those who may ask what they can do to honour Neil, we have a simple request. Honour his example of service, accomplishment and modesty, and the next time you walk outside on a clear night and see the moon smiling down at you, think of Neil Armstrong and give him a wink.

In pictures: the Apollo 11 moon landing in 1969 >

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