(CBS News) Neil Armstrong, the Apollo 11 astronaut who became the first human being to set foot on another world, has died. He was 82. “That’s one small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind.” When Armstrong set foot on the moon on July 20, 1969, he fulfilled the goal that had been set by President John F. Kennedy just eight years earlier.
It was a long, long way from Armstrong’s birthplace near tiny Wapakoneta, Ohio in 1930.
Armstrong’s fascination with airplanes began with his first flight at age six, and that fascination never abandoned him. He left Purdue University in 1950 when the Korean War broke out, and flew 78 combat missions as a naval aviator.
After the war, he became a test pilot and flew the hottest aircraft around, including the sleek X-15 rocket plane. He took the powerful craft to 207,000 feet – almost 38 miles – and the edge of space.
He was in the first group of civilian astronauts, and made his initial flight in 1966, aboard Gemini eight.