One small step for man – one giant leap for mankind.

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I had just turned 9 years old when we sat as a family transfixed watching the first man to step onto the moon on 20th July 1969.

Neil was the product of an era that dreamed of reaching for the stars and inspired the generations of astronauts that followed him.

He was a modest man and felt that he was just doing his duty but actually the success of the Apollo 11 mission owed much to Armstrong’s clarity of thought and split – second ability to make life-saving decisions, as during the spacecraft’s final  descent he encountered a series of computer failures that could have led him to abort the landing. He took over manual controls and with less than 30 seconds of fuel remaining, steered the Eagle to a safe landing on the rocky, dusty surface of the so – called, “Sea of Tranquillity” where he confidently announced the infamous words,”the Eagle has landed”    

I think his family’s words are a very fitting tribute to a remarkable man – and I for one will be winking up at the moon tonight.

 “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.

“For those who may ask what they can do to honor Neil, we have a simple request. Honor 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.”

Reg Turnill, who was the BBC’s aerospace correspondent when Armstrong became the first man to walk on the Moon, remembers the man and the mission.


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