Before becoming an astronaut, Armstrong was an officer in the United States Navy and participated in the Korean War . After the war, he earned a bachelor's degree from Purdue University and served as a test pilot at the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics , where he made more than 900 flights. He later completed his studies at the University of Southern California .
Participant of the Man In Space Soonest programs of the US Air Force , with which the Americans intended to win the space race against the Soviets , and of the Boeing X-20 Dyna-Soar , for the development of a space plane , Armstrong entered to join the NASA Astronaut Corps in 1962 . His first space flight was as commander of the Gemini 8 mission : one of the first civilians to become an astronaut. During this mission, Armstrong and pilot David Scott made the first connection between two space ships in orbit .
His second and last space mission saw him commander, in July 1969, of Apollo 11 , which carried out the first landing with men from the Apollo Program . In the mission, together with Buzz Aldrin , Armstrong carried out extravehicular activity on lunar soil for two and a half hours, while the third crew member, Michael Collins , had been waiting on the command module in orbit around the Moon. Upon returning to Earth, to Armstrong, as well as to his two fellow missionaries Collins and Aldrin, the Presidential Medal of Freedom was granted by President Richard Nixon. He also received the Congressional Space Medal of Honor in 1978 from Jimmy Carter and the Congressional Gold Medal in 2009 .
Neil Armstrong was born on 5 August 1930 in Wapakoneta , Ohio , by Stephen Koenig Armstrong ( 1907 - 1990 ) and Viola Louise Engel (1907-1990),with German and Scottish ancestors . He had two younger brothers, June and Dean. His father Stephen worked as an auditor for the Ohio State government (his mother Viola was a housewife), and in the 15 years following Neil's birth the family had to be repeatedly transferred to the state in 20 different cities. His passion for flying arose and developed in those years: at just two years his father took him to the National Air Races ofCleveland and had his first flying experience at just 6 years on a Ford Trimotor in Warren . In 1944, Armstrong and his family returned permanently to Wapakoneta, where Neil attended Blume High School and took the first flying lessons at the county airport. He received his first flight license at the age of 15, even before he was of legal age for a driving license. Neil Armstrong was a scout (as well as Buzz Aldrin ) and remembered his experience from the Columbia module on his way to the Moon, when he greeted the scouts who at that time were participating in the Jamboree by sending them at 8:15 am on 18 July 1969 , the message: "I would like to greet all my fellow Scouts and Chief Scouts at Farragut State Park in Idahowhere the National Jamboree is taking place this week; and Apollo 11 wishes to send them his best wishes. "to which the Houston Control Center replied:" Thank you, Apollo 11. I am sure that if they have not heard it, they will learn it from the news. They will surely appreciate it ». Furthermore, among the few personal items that Armstrong chose to take with him on his journey to the Moon and back there was a distinctive scout.