He took "One small step for man ... one giant leap for mankind." On July 20, 1969, American Astronaut Neil Armstrong became the first person ever to step foot on the surface of another heavenly body.
On Thursday, Dec. 1, the only authorized biographer of the very private Armstrong will speak at NASA's Langley Research Center, Hampton, Va. In his latest book "First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong," Dr. James R. Hansen takes a candid look at Armstrong's accomplishments as an engineer, a test pilot, an astronaut and an individual.
Media who wish to interview Hansen are invited to participate in a news briefing at 1:15 p.m. in the H.J. E. Reid Conference Center. Reporters should contact Marny Skora at 864-3315 or 344-6111 (mobile) by 10 a.m. Thursday to make arrangements for credentials and entry on to the Center.
Hansen specializes in the history of science and technology and the impact of each on society. In "First Man" he blends the personal, technological, epic and iconic to form the portrait of a great but reluctant hero regarded as history's most famous space traveler.
The author of Langley's "Engineer in Charge," Hansen currently has seven books in print, including a six-volume series on the history of aerodynamics and a monograph analyzing the technological design of the airplane in America.
Hansen is professor of history at Auburn University in Auburn, Ala. From 1992 to 1996, he served as chairman of the history department. He teaches courses on the history of flight, the history of science, space history and the history of technological failure.
He earned a bachelor's degree from Indiana University and master's and doctoral degrees from Ohio State University. He served as historian for NASA Langley Research Center from 1981 to 1993.
- end -