Author Topic: Neil Armstrong (1930-2012)  (Read 32816 times)

Offline JayUtah

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Re: Neil Armstrong (1930-2012)
« Reply #30 on: August 27, 2012, 12:32:00 PM »
Contrary to my characteristic verbosity, I find it difficult to add to anything said by The Economisthttp://www.economist.com/blogs/babbage/2012/08/obituary
"Facts are stubborn things." --John Adams

Offline Laurel

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Re: Neil Armstrong (1930-2012)
« Reply #31 on: August 27, 2012, 12:53:09 PM »
I'm late to the thread (I've been out of town since Thursday), but I thought this picture should be included here because Neil Armstrong considered his X-15 flights to be the high point of his career.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Pilot_Neil_Armstrong_and_X-15_-1_-_GPN-2000-000121.jpg

Rest in peace.
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Offline bobdude11

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Re: Neil Armstrong (1930-2012)
« Reply #32 on: August 28, 2012, 01:34:12 PM »
 Why do I feel like I lost a family member ...  :'(
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Offline ipearse

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Re: Neil Armstrong (1930-2012)
« Reply #33 on: August 28, 2012, 03:29:24 PM »
He saw himself as just one person out of the thousands that made it possible to go to the Moon.

It strikes me that that attitude is a spin-off of his engineering background - engineers work in groups/teams to achieve the things they do, and I guess he saw the Apollo Project as another, albeit much larger, engineering project, with him being just one of the team. I very much admire that idea.

The world would be a far worse place without such people.
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Offline Obviousman

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Re: Neil Armstrong (1930-2012)
« Reply #34 on: August 29, 2012, 04:28:15 AM »
With his death, the myth that he was chosen to be the first man to walk on the lunar surface because he was a civilian has once more come about. I have to point out what an insult to uniformed astronauts that would be, explain crew rotation and Apollo 8, and the facts about the LM hatch design.

Offline Inanimate Carbon Rod

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Re: Neil Armstrong (1930-2012)
« Reply #35 on: August 29, 2012, 02:10:42 PM »
With his death, the myth that he was chosen to be the first man to walk on the lunar surface because he was a civilian has once more come about. I have to point out what an insult to uniformed astronauts that would be, explain crew rotation and Apollo 8, and the facts about the LM hatch design.

Not to mention, he was arguably one of the best astronauts for the job as evidenced by his handling of Gemini 8.
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Offline ka9q

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Re: Neil Armstrong (1930-2012)
« Reply #36 on: August 29, 2012, 03:20:57 PM »
Regarding crew rotation, the backup crew for Apollo 8 is listed as Armstrong (CDR), Aldrin (CMP, sic) and Haise (LMP). Given the standard crew rotation schedule that would seem to settle the issue of how Armstrong became CDR of Apollo 11, but I know occasional changes were made as missions (including Apollo 8 ) were shuffled and repurposed and individual crew members (e.g., Collins) were taken out and reinstated for medical reasons. So can it still be said that Armstrong's position as backup CDR for Apollo 8 definitely put him in position to be CDR of Apollo 11?

Another argument that Armstrong could not have been picked very far in advance to be the first man on the moon is that he was assigned to command Apollo 11 well before Apollo 10 (and probably Apollo 9, if not 8 ) had been successful. If an earlier flight had failed a major objective, Apollo 11 would probably have been another test flight and Pete Conrad or even Jim Lovell would have become the first man on the moon.

It's interesting that Aldrin was backup CMP on Apollo 8 but became prime LMP on Apollo 11. I wonder why. All the astronauts were given an area of Apollo systems in which to specialize, and Collins' was pressure suits. That would seem to make him a candidate for LMP. On the other hand, Aldrin had done an exceptional job in preparing for his EVA on Gemini XII, and as Dr. Rendezvous he was an obvious choice for a LM crew. Does anyone know for sure how Aldrin moved from the CMP role to LMP? And does his earlier position as backup Apollo 8 CMP explain why he rode in the center seat during the Apollo 11 launch?


Offline ka9q

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Re: Neil Armstrong (1930-2012)
« Reply #37 on: August 29, 2012, 03:37:19 PM »
Not to mention, he was arguably one of the best astronauts for the job as evidenced by his handling of Gemini 8.
As good a pilot as Armstrong was, and as deserved as his place in history may be, in fairness to the other commanders I think any of them could have successfully commanded Apollo 11.

Gemini VIII may have come close to disaster, but so did Apollos 12 and 13. Sometimes I'm still amazed that Pete Conrad didn't abort Apollo 12 during launch; his cool head was a major factor (but not the only reason) he didn't. And while the Apollo 13 emergency didn't require the kind of instant response Armstrong made during Gemini VIII, it certainly pushed all three of the crew past any reasonable endurance limits yet they all remained calm and did their jobs well.


Offline Echnaton

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Re: Neil Armstrong (1930-2012)
« Reply #38 on: August 29, 2012, 07:24:53 PM »
Armstrong and Aldrin were great choices for their respective positions.   Mr. Cool and Dr. Rendezvous.  It is certainly easy to see in them the characteristics that made Armstrong and Aldrin the best choice, but it is mostly just reading our respect for the men into a situation where they were selected for multiple reasons and had a bit of luck.

OTOH imagine if flamboyant and foul mouthed Conrad had been the first to step on the moon, as almost was the case, what an embarrassment for the NASA brass. 
The sun shone, having no alternative, on the nothing new. —Samuel Beckett

Offline Glom

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Re: Neil Armstrong (1930-2012)
« Reply #39 on: August 29, 2012, 08:54:35 PM »
He behaved himself when he got there. And of course he had the cool line, "That may have been a small one for Neil but that's a long one for me."

Offline Echnaton

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Re: Neil Armstrong (1930-2012)
« Reply #40 on: August 29, 2012, 09:50:59 PM »
But could he have kept it together for the whirlwind tour to follow and all the other times he would have been called upon to represent all mankind?   The PR guys must have been nervous sending Conrad out.  But he had nerves of steel.
The sun shone, having no alternative, on the nothing new. —Samuel Beckett

Offline Peter B

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Re: Neil Armstrong (1930-2012)
« Reply #41 on: August 29, 2012, 10:55:06 PM »
Contrary to my characteristic verbosity, I find it difficult to add to anything said by The Economisthttp://www.economist.com/blogs/babbage/2012/08/obituary

Sadly, the most recent comment on that article is from a conspiratard. Almost as sadly, further down, one of the commenters wishes that The Economist had published the photo they described in the last paragraph of the article, apparently not realising it's the photo at the top of the article...

I heard the news by chance, turning the radio on in the car for less than 10 seconds before my older son grumbled about wanting music instead. I was choked up for a couple of minutes, and had to turn my mind to other thoughts to regain my composure.

Yes, he was an old man and such things should not be unexpected. And yes, his achievement was merely the tip of the iceberg of the work of hundreds of thousands of others. But he was the person who was first to walk in a place that wasn't humanity's cradle, and he handled the resulting fame with absolute class.

Offline ka9q

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Re: Neil Armstrong (1930-2012)
« Reply #42 on: August 30, 2012, 09:37:42 PM »
OTOH imagine if flamboyant and foul mouthed Conrad had been the first to step on the moon, as almost was the case, what an embarrassment for the NASA brass.
Conrad lobbied long and hard for some sort of tape delay to edit out any salty language that he might let slip. NASA PR was adamant that there would be no such thing, and Conrad would simply have to watch himself.

And watch himself he did, even when they got more caution and warning alarms during launch than they'd ever seen in the simulator. It's not like he'd forgotten his Navy vocabulary; there's plenty of colorful language on the Apollo 12 intercom recordings, but none of it went over the air to a listening world.

I don't know about anyone else, but all the astronauts seem far more human after you read those intercom logs. There's a lot of good stuff in there.

Offline Laurel

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Re: Neil Armstrong (1930-2012)
« Reply #43 on: August 31, 2012, 09:44:08 AM »
A children's health fund is being launched in Armstrong's memory. That seems fitting since he sadly lost his daughter Karen to brain cancer.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/private-service-planned-for-hero-astronaut-armstrong-in-ohio-memorial-fund-to-be-launched/2012/08/31/009ecc36-f337-11e1-b74c-84ed55e0300b_story.html
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Offline Count Zero

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Re: Neil Armstrong (1930-2012)
« Reply #44 on: August 31, 2012, 01:56:43 PM »
...and the facts about the LM hatch design.

Who went out the door on Apollo 9 - CMP or LMP?
"What makes one step a giant leap is all the steps before."