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Who Was Neil Armstrong? (Grades K-4)

This article is for students grades K-4.

Neil Armstrong was the first person to walk on the moon. He was an astronaut. He flew on two space missions. One was Apollo 11. That mission landed on the moon. He was also an engineer, a pilot and a college professor.

Neil Armstrong in his spacesuit

What Was Neil Armstrong’s Life Like Growing Up?

Neil Armstrong was born on Aug. 5, 1930. He was born in Ohio. He had a brother and a sister. He was in the Boy Scouts of America. Armstrong flew in an airplane when he was 6. That flight made him love airplanes. He attended Blume High School in Ohio.

Armstrong went to college at Purdue University. While he was in college, he left to serve in the U.S. Navy. He flew planes during the Korean War. Then he came back to college and finished the degree he had started. He later earned a master’s degree too.

What Did Neil Armstrong Do Before He Became an Astronaut?

Before he was an astronaut, Armstrong worked for a group that studied airplanes. That group later became part of NASA. He flew several planes for them. He also helped design planes. One of the aircraft he flew was the X-15 rocket plane. This plane flew very high and very fast. It set records.

Neil Armstrong standing on the lunar surface

What Did Neil Armstrong Do as an Astronaut?

Armstrong became an astronaut in 1962. He was in the second group of astronauts ever chosen. He was the commander of Gemini 8 in 1966. He flew on that mission with David Scott. They were the first astronauts to dock, or connect, two vehicles in space.

What Happened On the Apollo 11 Mission?

Armstrong’s second flight was Apollo 11 in 1969. He was the mission commander. He flew with Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins. Armstrong and Aldrin landed on the moon in a lander named “Eagle.” They were the first people to land on the moon. Collins did not land. He circled the moon in the Apollo capsule. After they landed, Armstrong and Aldrin walked on the moon. Armstrong took the first step on the moon. He said, “That’s one small step for (a) man; one giant leap for mankind.”

Armstrong and Aldrin spent more than two hours outside their spacecraft on the moon. They studied the surface. They collected rocks. After almost a day, they blasted off. They docked with Collins in orbit around the moon. All three then flew back to Earth.

One of the first steps taken on the Moon, this is an image of Buzz Aldrin's bootprint from the Apollo 11 mission.

What Did Neil Armstrong Do After Apollo 11?

Neil Armstrong retired from NASA after Apollo 11. In 1971, Armstrong became a college professor. He taught until 1979. Later, he became a businessman. He stayed active in groups that studied space and aeronautics.

An American Hero and Explorer

Neil Armstrong died on August 25, 2012. He was 82.

More About Neil Armstrong:
What Was the Apollo Program?
What Was the Gemini Program?

Read Who Was Neil Armstrong? (Grades 5-8)