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Neil Armstrong needs no introduction. He is a genuine American hero whose pathfinding aerospace endeavors extended well beyond his command of the epic Apollo 11 lunar landing mission in 1969. Few appreciate that he was involved in not one, but two life-or-death piloting situations prior to the moon landing that necessitated lightning-fast reactions: the stuck spacecraft thruster on the Gemini VIII earth orbital flight, and the sudden failure of a lunar landing test vehicle during Apollo training. In both cases, Neil's swift action saved his life (and in the case of the Gemini flight, his co-pilot David Scott). In doing so, he also saved both the Gemini and Apollo programs from serious setbacks that might have jeopardized the American space program. Then, flying the Apollo 11 lunar module on that historic day, his calm professionalism once again was critical to mission success, as he flew the lander over a boulder-filled crater to a safe landing on the surface of the moon. Not merely a bystander during historic events, Armstrong's skill and determination were directly responsible for the triumphs for which he is associated.
Perhaps fellow moonwalker Gene Cernan said it best about Armstrong's post-Apollo legacy:
"I don't think any one of us who would have had that opportunity [to be the first man on the moon] could have handled it with as great and as honorable dignity as Neil Armstrong has handled the responsibility of being the first human being to step foot on the surface of the moon."
With extensive and informative excerpts gathered from over fifty official technical and historical publications, this unique compilation provides unprecedented insight into the life and work of Armstrong, from his early test pilot work on the X-15 rocket plane, to the Gemini manned orbital capsule program, and finally the Apollo 11 lunar landing. It includes comprehensive biographies, compelling histories, and many illuminating tales and amusing anecdotes told by NASA associates - astronauts, managers, and engineers - who worked with him during those challenging times. Armstrong's own oral history and other interviews from the NASA archives recount little-known facts. There is extensive discussion of the controversy about NASA's decision to have Armstrong, rather than Aldrin, make the first lunar footprints. This compilation contains 113 sections in seven parts, and reproduces over 150 photographs.
Did you know, for example: Armstrong played a key role in the development of fly-by-wire electronic computer digital controls used by modern aircraft, and now incorporated in average automobiles. * Armstrong was an enthusiastic recreational glider pilot * He enjoyed playing pranks during pre-flight mission simulations at the Manned Spacecraft Center. * And much more!
Contents: PART ONE - LIFE AND CAREER OF NEIL ARMSTRONG: THE BASICS * PART TWO - THE EARLY YEARS: TEST PILOTING AND THE X-15 * PART THREE - NASA ASTRONAUT AND COMMANDER OF GEMINI VIII * PART FOUR - PREPARING FOR APOLLO - THE LUNAR LANDING RESEARCH VEHICLE * PART FIVE - THE APOLLO ERA: APOLLO 11 LUNAR LANDING * PART SIX - COMMEMORATIONS OF THE APOLLO 11 MISSION * PART SEVEN - NEIL ARMSTRONG: AN AMAZING AND WONDROUS CAREER IN PICTURES