Text Size
Statements on the Passing of Neil Armstrong
August 26, 2012

Statement from Neil Armstrong's Family

Statement from the Armstrong Family about Memorials

Statement by President Barack Obama

Statement by NASA Administrator Charles Bolden

Statement from Buzz Aldrin, Apollo 11 lunar module pilot:

"I am very saddened to learn of the passing of Neil Armstrong today. Neil and I trained together as technical partners but were also good friends who will always be connected through our participation in the Apollo 11 mission. Whenever I look at the moon it reminds me of the moment over four decades ago when I realized that even though we were farther away from earth than two humans had ever been, we were not alone. Virtually the entire world took that memorable journey with us. I know I am joined by millions of others in mourning the passing of a true American hero and the best pilot I ever knew. My friend Neil took the small step but giant leap that changed the world and will forever be remembered as a landmark moment in human history. I had truly hoped that in 2019, we would be standing together along with our colleague Mike Collins to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of our moon landing. Regrettably, this is not to be. Neil will most certainly be there with us in spirit.

"On behalf of the Aldrin family, we extend our deepest condolences to Carol and the entire Armstrong family. I will miss my friend Neil as I know our fellow citizens and people around world will miss this foremost aviation and space pioneer."

Statement from Harrison H. Schmitt, Apollo 17 astronaut:

Neil Armstrong is a true national and international hero in the classic sense. His intellect, dedication and skills made him absolutely the best choice to be the first American and first human to step foot on the Moon in 1969 as Commander of Apollo 11. Quiet, thoughtful celebration of his life honors the man and his achievements.

Armstrong conducted himself at the highest levels of professionalism – quick to make good decisions in service to his country, as a test pilot, and as an explorer in the best traditions of Lewis and Clark. He often stated, however, that our successes in these difficult arenas only come from the magnificent efforts of hundreds of thousands of others.

One of my many favorite Armstrong memories from Apollo relates to a spur of the moment decision he made late in his walk on the Moon. We all trained to focus on collecting the greatest variety of Moon rocks possible in the time available. But, having already quickly collected one of the finest sets of lunar samples, Neil thought the partially filled rock box needed something more. He rapidly filled the box with a large amount of the Moon's soil. This soil became one of the most important samples ever returned from the Moon. Neil's 30 minutes of sampling decisions at Tranquillity Base remain the most productive half hour in lunar exploration.

Neil was a gifted speaker, historian and professor. He did not give a large number of speeches or interviews, but all had been extensively researched and delivered with remarkable clarity and insight. Neil fascinated audiences with his clear articulation of historical events and the relation of technology, aeronautics and space to human activities in the past and future.

I had the great privilege to have known Neil as both a colleague and friend. Teresa and I give our heartfelt condolences to the extended Armstrong family and to his legion of friends, colleagues, and others so profoundly influenced by the life of Neil Armstrong. His historical insights, good nature and extraordinary professionalism will be missed more than my words can convey.

Statement from Joe Engle, former X-15 pilot and NASA astronaut:

"Neil was indeed the greatest. His humility and reluctance to stand in the spotlight as the first human to set foot on the moon are well known and respected. But mention flying airplanes, and in particular flying the X-15, and he would light up, his eyes would twinkle, and you could barely get a word in edgewise – nor would you want to. Neil was a great American, a great test pilot, a great engineer, but most importantly, a great friend. We'll miss him, but we're so thankful we had the opportunity to know and fly with him. Our thoughts and prayers are with Carol and his family."

Statement from Glenn Research Center Director Ray Lugo:

"Our condolences reach out to his wife Carol and surround the entire Armstrong Family. The loss of Neil is felt by the entire NASA community and especially by his Ohio-based NASA family at the Glenn Research Center. Neil remains a national treasure; a pioneering astronaut, test pilot, aerospace engineer and professor; the first man to set foot on the moon. He has helped turn the complexities, challenges and stumbling blocks of space exploration into stepping stones that others have followed and a brilliant trail for the future explorers. His legacy will inspire those who will follow in his footsteps to Dream Big."

Statement from Kennedy Space Center Director Bob Cabana:

"Neil Armstrong was a true American hero, and one of the nicest gentlemen around. He was the epitome of what an engineering test pilot should be, and a role model for everyone who aspired to be an astronaut.

"He always took the time to share his thoughts on technical issues and his experiences from the past.

"I feel very privileged to have known him. He will be missed."

Statement from Apollo Flight Director Glynn Lunney

"Neil loved his country and he loved the adventure of flight, first in aviation and then in space travel. He excelled in a very elite group of test pilots and astronauts. In his calling, he was universally respected and admired - as a pilot and as a man. For the challenges of his time (and all time), this soft-spoken, modest human being was the right man in the right place. He gave us a role model for all of our endeavors. Thank you, Neil."

Image Token: 
Image Token: 
Page Last Updated: August 23rd, 2013
Page Editor: NASA Administrator