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In Memorium: Neil Armstrong

In Memorium: Neil Armstrong

America lost one of her legends yesterday.  Apollo 11 commander Neil Armstrong, the first man to set foot on the moon, died at the age of 82.  Armstrong landed on the moon on July 21, 1969 and cemented his place in the history books. 
For the first time a human from Earth stepped on another celestial body.
A lot has been made over the last 48 hours about Armstrong; his accomplishments, his humility, his general good nature.  Seems like everyone thought he was genuine “salt of the earth”.  After his history making adventure he chose not to cash in on celebrity, or even leverage his status for political purposes.  (Although the offers were many)  Instead he retreated to his home state of Ohio and taught at a local university.  He rarely gave interviews and chose to stay out of the limelight.
That is until President Obama decided to cut the future Constellation Moon Landing program and development of the Ares launch vehicle.  That was enough to call the legendary space pioneer out of retirement.  In an open letter to the President he said that Obama’s cutting of the program was “devastating” and that,
“For The United States, the leading space faring nation for nearly half a century, to be without carriage to low Earth orbit and with no human exploration capability to go beyond Earth orbit for an indeterminate time into the future, destines our nation to become one of second or even third rate stature…”
and 

“Without the skill and experience that actual spacecraft operation provides, the USA is far too likely to be on a long downhill slide to mediocrity.  America must decide if it wishes to remain a leader in space.”

America used to be a leader in “reaching for the stars.”  My hope is that the renewed focus on Armstrong with his passing will allow Americans to remember when we dared to reach into the void and “make one small step for man, one giant leap for Mankind.”

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