Neil Armstrong, from fighter pilot to astronaut

Neil Armstrong smiles in the lunar module after his historic moonwalk
Neil Armstrong smiles in the lunar module after his historic moonwalk Photo: Credit: Handout . / Reuters

Neil Armstrong was born in Wapakoneta in Ohio on August 5, 1930.

He flew Naval fighter jets from 1949 to 1952. During one flight over North Korea in 1951, the right wing of his jet clipped a cable wire. He managed to fly to friendly territory before ejecting.

Armstrong joined the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) - the precessor of NASA - in 1955 where he served as an engineer, test pilot, astronaut and administrator for the next 17 years.

Transferring to astronaut status in 1962, he was assigned as command pilot for the Gemini 8 mission in 1966, which led to the first successful docking of two vehicles in space.

As spacecraft commander for Apollo 11, he headed the first manned lunar landing mission.

The Apollo 11 moon mission turned out to be Armstrong's last space flight.

The following year he was appointed to a desk job, being named NASA's deputy associate administrator for aeronautics in the office of advanced research and technology.

In this position, he was responsible for the coordination and management of overall NASA research and technology work related to aeronautics.

He left NASA a year later to become professor of aerospace engineering at the University of Cincinnati - a post be held from 1971 to 1979.

During the years 1982 to 1992, Armstrong was chairman of a company called Computing Technologies for Aviation.

He is survived by his wife, his two sons, a step son and step daughter, 10 grandchildren and a brother and a sister.