Neil Armstrong. First Man On The Moon.

Neil Armstrong

“One small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.”

With these immortal words Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon, the first human being to walk on another celestial body. Armstrong’s extraordinary skills as a test pilot made him absolutely the best person to be the first to land on the moon, but the notariety that has come with his first have been a difficult yoke for him to bear. Having removed himself from public glare he has chosen to keep his own council, only occasionally speaking in public.

All the fuss of his lunar exploits have overshadowed his many remarkable qualities. A staggering test pilot, he was the first civilian NASA astronaut, with all the previous selections having been from the US military.

Armstrong only flew in space on one previous occasion, aboard Gemini 8, a flight that was critical to the later success of the Apollo missions as it was to be the first ever rendezvous and docking procedure tried in orbit. It nearly went disasterously wrong when a stuck thruster sent the docked vehicles into a roll that acclerated once they undocked, but Armstrong’s cool and clear thinking averted a diaster-in-the-making and brought him and fellow crew member Dave Scott safely back home.

This photograph was taken at the Royal Society, London, March 2010.