The World's Forum for Aerospace Leadership

  • Donate
  • Press Room
  • Renew
  • View Cart
American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics

    AIAA Mourns the Death of Neil A. Armstrong



    AIAA Mourns the Death of Neil A. Armstrong
    First Person to Set Foot on the Moon, American Hero and AIAA Honorary Fellow

    August 25, 2012 – Reston, Va. – The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) mourns the death of Neil A. Armstrong, first person to set foot on the Moon, AIAA Honorary Fellow, former test pilot, U.S. Naval aviator, university professor, and American hero. Armstrong passed away on August 25, 2012, in Cincinnati, Ohio. He was 82 years old.

    AIAA President Mike Griffin stated: “Neil Armstrong showed us many things. He showed us how a consummately professional pilot handles the first emergency in space, how he carries out an historic first landing on another world. But the real lessons from his life lie in how he behaved in the forty-three years after Apollo 11. He showed us how to be famous with dignity, how to be celebrated without becoming a celebrity, and how to do it with a gracious modesty and the unyielding courage to do right thing as he saw it. We will miss him dearly, not so much for what he did, but for what he was.”

    Armstrong made history on July 21, 1969, when, as part of NASA’s Apollo 11 mission, he became the first person to set foot on the Moon’s surface, uttering the iconic phrase: “That was one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.”

    A member of the U.S. Air Force's “Man In Space Soonest” and X-20 Dyna-Soar human spaceflight programs, Armstrong joined the NASA Astronaut Corps in 1962. His first spaceflight was NASA’s Gemini 8 mission in 1966, for which he was the command pilot, becoming one of the first U.S. civilians to fly in space.

    After his tenure as an astronaut, Armstrong served as the deputy associate administrator for aeronautics at NASA, responsible for the coordination and management of overall NASA research and technology work related to aeronautics. He was also a professor of Aerospace Engineering at the University of Cincinnati between 1971 and 1979, and from 1982 to 1992 Armstrong was the chairman of Computing Technologies for Aviation, Inc., Charlottesville, Va.

    Before joining NASA, Armstrong was an U.S. Naval aviator, flying 78 combat missions in the Korean Conflict. After the Korean Conflict, Armstrong served as a test pilot at the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) High-Speed Flight Station, now known as the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center, where he flew over 900 flights in a variety of aircraft.

    In recognition of his contributions to spaceflight Armstrong was the recipient of many special honors, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom; the Congressional Space Medal of Honor; the Explorers Club Medal; the Robert H. Goddard Memorial Trophy; the NASA Distinguished Service Medal; the Harmon International Aviation Trophy; the Royal Geographic Society's Gold Medal; the Robert J. Collier Trophy; the AIAA Astronautics Award; the Octave Chanute Award. For Armstrong’s complete biography, visit


    AIAA is the world’s largest technical society dedicated to the global aerospace profession. With more than 35,000 individual members worldwide, and nearly 100 corporate members, AIAA brings together industry, academia, and government to advance engineering and science in aviation, space, and defense. For more information, visit



    American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics
    1801 Alexander Bell Drive, Suite 500, Reston, VA 20191-4344
    Phone: 703.264.7558 Fax: 703.264.7551