Campaign '12, Congress, Other

Obama, Romney, others react to Armstrong’s passing

On Saturday afternoon, the family of Neil Armstrong announced that the famous astronaut had passed away at the age of 82 after complications from heart surgery he had earlier this month. Within a few hours there was an outpouring of reaction to the death of the first man to walk on the Moon, including official statements from President Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

“Neil was among the greatest of American heroes – not just of his time, but of all time,” said President Obama in a White House statement. “Today, Neil’s spirit of discovery lives on in all the men and women who have devoted their lives to exploring the unknown – including those who are ensuring that we reach higher and go further in space. That legacy will endure – sparked by a man who taught us the enormous power of one small step.”

Obama summarized that sentiment in a tweet from his campaign account, @BarackObama; the “-bo” indicates the tweet was written by Obama himself:

Gov. Romney also issued a statement from his campaign mourning Armstrong’s passing. “Neil Armstrong today takes his place in the hall of heroes. With courage unmeasured and unbounded love for his country, he walked where man had never walked before. The moon will miss its first son of earth.” Romney added that he “met and spoke” with Armstrong just a few weeks ago, although he does not mention the subject of that conversation.

Romney also provided a brief summary of his statement via Twitter:

In Congress, Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) issued a brief statement. “A true hero has returned to the Heavens to which he once flew,” he said. “Ohio has lost one of her proudest sons. Humanity has gained a legend.”

On Facebook, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) posted a brief note about the death of Armstrong. “He will always be remembered as one of the most iconic pioneers of the NASA community – dedicated to the team that helped him achieve glory for us all,” she wrote.

Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) also provided a brief comment in a statement via the Miami Herald. “Neil Armstrong understood that we should reach beyond the stars. His ‘one giant leap for mankind’ was taken by a giant of a man.”

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) also expressed his condolences in a statement while taking a bigger-picture view. “America, the space community and the entire world have lost a courageous pioneer. One needs to look no further than the various foreign currencies in the donation box at Washington’s National Air and Space Museum to understand what our space program means not only for our country but for all of humanity.”

63 comments to Obama, Romney, others react to Armstrong’s passing

  • MrEarl

    Godspeed Neil Armstrong .

  • DCSCA

    It is quite rare in the course of human events- and the brief life spans granted our species- to say we’ve all shared time and space with an individual who will truly be remembered centuries after all the trials and tribulations of our times have long faded into footnoted oblivion. Neil Alden Armstrong was one of those individuals.

    Armstrong was first and foremost an aviator-engineer; a test pilot, in the best sense of the terms. And he was articulate. When Armstrong spoke, particularly on aviation and space matters, people listened. Whether they heard is another matter. He always placed his Apollo flight in the context of the evolution of aviation and much of his professional history with the Navy, the X-15, the NACA, NASA and post Apollo accomplishments can be easily researched. His authorized biography, “First Man” is an absorbing read as well.

    It’s common knowledge that Armstrong shunned the glare of the public spotlight. And has always said he didn’t deserve the celebrity status today’s modern media tried to press upon him. Rather, he credited circumstances as affording him the opportunity to command Apollo 11 and carry the responsibility of being the first man on the moon. A ‘reluctant hero’ to be sure. (Although recent memoirs by Apollo era brass note he was essentially chosen to be first out by crew assignment managers.) Nevertheless, the burden was real and the Lindbergh experience was a loose model for managing it.

    Whenever asked, Armstrong always credited the general support of the American people as well as the 400,000 dedicated employees in government, industry and academia with making Apollo a success. And although it was spawned as another battlefront of the Cold War, Apollo remains one of the rare occurrences where a government project was accomplished ahead of schedule and under budget- albeit a big budget- roughly $25 billion in 1970 dollars– all of it spent right here on Earth. And it was not by accident that their Apollo 11 flight patch did not carry the names of the crew. Apollo 11 was, in part, for all mankind.

    Most everyone has heard audio fragments of Eagle’s final descent to the moon from July 20, 1969. It’s a taut, tense stream of real time data relayed in a staccato style by Buzz Aldrin as Neil busied himself taking control away from an overloaded computer and manually steering the Lunar Module past craters and boulder fields to a safe landing. Fewer have heard the onboard audio loop, which is similar to an aircraft cockpit voice recorder. On that tape, Armstrong calmly describes his actions, flying past the danger, stating he sees a good looking area and with just seconds of fuel to spare, cooly guides the Eagle to touchdown. It is the quintessential Right Stuff at work. And it was the challenge of this descent to the lunar surface, as Armstrong said repeatedly over the years, which was the high point of the flight for him. The moonwalk itself- not much more than two and a half hours long- televised by a simple b/w TV camera, may seem primitive by today’s standards- but it is still a wonder to watch, particularly to those who remember a time when a voyage to the moon was thought impossible.

    Myself and family were quite fortunate to have met the Apollo 11 crew at a reception in the United States Embassy in London back in October, 1969, less than 90 days after Apollo 11′s moon landing, when the crew was in the midst of their world tour. An affable and reserved Armstrong, dressed in a classic, ‘Mad Men-era’ business suit and narrow tie, had just arrived along with fellow crewmen Buzz Aldrin, Michael Collins and their wives, from a meet and greet w/Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace. It remains a high point of my life. Armstrong dutifully shook hands with all, accepted a plaque, chatted, presented a short NASA film about the flight to the assembled group and took the time to sign a photo for us. That photo still hangs in my home today. And I am sadden by Neil’s passing, but so very, very proud of his legacy for our country and how he managed the burden of being the first human being in the history of everything to set foot on another world. To date, twelve men have walked on the moon. All Americans. Yesterday there were nine left alive. Today, that number drops to eight; the first charter member of the world’s most exclusive, out-of-this world club to walk there has left us.

    Condolences to the Armstrong family, of course. And to the broader NASA family as well. The Armstrong’s have asked that to honor Neil’s memory, go outside, take a look at the moon, and give it a wink. But before hand, take a look at this below:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Apollo11-LRO-March2012.jpg

    Those trails in that image are full of Neil’s footprints. And Buzz’s footprints. And they will be there for millions of years. Representing all our footprints, from generations past and for generations to come who have and will look up at Luna, and wonder, if only for a moment, what it’s like to go there.

    Ad Astra, Neil. Ad Astra.

    =wink=

  • William Mellberg

    I’ll be winking at the Moon tonight … and thinking of a true gentleman who will be remembered long after the rest of us have been forgotten.

  • Robert G. Oler

    of all the ones quoted here the best was Rubio followed by Obama’s…but Rubio’s was really well written.

    the best tribute however was in the movie “The Dish”…

    I got to ask Armstrong a question in public once…it was at EAA and the blue folks got to be on stage with him…I asked him what testing the B-32 Dominator was like…he grinned and said “Havent been asked that in a long long time, but its an entertaining question”…he went on to explain that it was a turkey…with some modestly good qualities (grin)

    Fair skies and calm seas Sir

    RGO

  • Heinrich Monroe

    “The moon will miss its first son of earth.”

    Huh? What does Romney mean by that? Is that like a celestial holy trinity, with the father, son, and ghostly holes in the Moon? Wasn’t there a Superman comic where he was the “son of Earth”? Somewhat bizarre.

  • Although never officially acknowledged, the reason Armstrong was the first to walk on the Moon was always assumed to be his civilian status. But he had a military career.

    Armstrong was a naval aviator during the Korean War. He then joined the Naval Reserve, where he served until 1960.

    Meanwhile, he went to work for NASA’s predecessor, the National Advisory Committee on Aeronautics, as a test pilot. Among the vehicles he flew was the X-15.

    Armstrong flew once with Chuck Yeager. To quote from Wikipedia:

    Their job, flying a Lockheed T-33 Shooting Star, was to evaluate Smith Ranch Dry Lake for use as an emergency landing site for the X-15. In his autobiography, Yeager wrote that he knew the lake bed was unsuitable for landings after recent rains, but Armstrong insisted on flying out anyway. As they attempted a touch-and-go, the wheels became stuck and they had to wait for rescue. Armstrong tells a different version of events, where Yeager never tried to talk him out of it and they made a first successful landing on the east side of the lake. Then Yeager told him to try again, this time a bit slower. On the second landing, they became stuck and according to Armstrong, Yeager was in fits of laughter.

    Armstrong took a different career path than the other Apollo astronauts, but he’ll always be remembed for that first small step.

  • amightywind

    Farewell to the intrepid explorer.

  • Frank Glover

    @ Heinrich: It’s just an attempt at a poetic acknowledgement from Romney, just take it as it is, don’t overthink it.

    (And Superman is often described as ‘The last son of Krypton,’ though subsequent events have shown that he was not its only survivor.)

  • E.P. Grondine

    Pretty good writing, Rand. In my opinion, you came pretty close in a few words. But I think that perhaps Dr. Armstrong’s daughter’s passing allowed him to move on to where he wanted to go.

    Steve – I don’t think that PR played a role in that decision. Fundamentally, Armstrong was the best pilot NASA had. Thanks for sharing the Yeager story with us.

  • Coastal Ron

    Frank Glover wrote @ August 26th, 2012 at 11:25 am

    It’s just an attempt at a poetic acknowledgement from Romney, just take it as it is, don’t overthink it.

    Yes, because it doesn’t quite make sense when you think about it.

    I hope that’s not foreshadowing how a Romney administration will be thought of (i.e. what they say doesn’t make sense when you think about it), especially in regards to our efforts in space.

    Let’s just hope that this was a speechwriters too-poetic effort at trying to make Romney sound like Reagan…

  • Heinrich Monroe

    It’s just an attempt at a poetic acknowledgement from Romney, just take it as it is, don’t overthink it.

    Poetic acknowledgments to national heroes that don’t make sense to the nation, and don’t tolerate thinking aren’t very flattering to the subject. Would Neil Armstrong have known what this meant?

    It deserves some thought, as it may be more indicative of Romney’s world view of space than he’s ever let on. FWIW, I believe the words “son of Earth” appear in the Book of Mormon. That’s not a criticism, but perhaps someone familiar with the faith can provide context and translate.

  • Mark R. Whittington

    I will salute the moon the next chance I get, rather than merely wink. I also note that Romney stated how he and Armstrong had a nice chin wag about space recently. I am willing to bet that Mitt got an earful about “zany” moon bases. Perhaps Armstrong has rendered his country one last service, if Romney takes what he heard to heart.

  • joe

    Coastal Ron wrote @ August 26th, 2012 at 12:57 pm
    Heinrich Monroe wrote @ August 26th, 2012 at 2:23 pm

    Good grief. I am not a Romney supporter, but the guy tries to say something nice in eulogy to a deceased national hero – and it is bring on the conspiracy theories.

  • MrEarl

    Jeff:
    I think the passing of Neil Armstrong transcends politics and would hate to see this turned into cheap, petty political shots like what happened with Sally Ride’s passing earlier this summer.

  • William Mellberg

    Mr. Earl wrote:

    “Jeff, I think the passing of Neil Armstrong transcends politics and would hate to see this turned into cheap, petty political shots like what happened with Sally Ride’s passing earlier this summer.”

    Amen! And well said.

  • Robert G. Oler

    Mark R. Whittington wrote @ August 26th, 2012 at 2:54 pm

    I will salute the moon the next chance I get, rather than merely wink. I also note that Romney stated how he and Armstrong had a nice chin wag about space recently. I am willing to bet that Mitt got an earful about “zany” moon bases. Perhaps Armstrong has rendered his country one last service, if Romney takes what he heard to heart.”

    What BS. Really Mark can you not even let a great hero pass and not try and shill for that lying sack of horse excrement that you support? How would we bet? Would we take “Mitts” word for what was said? Sure…what happened to you?

    “a chin wag”…?

    F minus RGO

  • DCSCA

    @E.P. Grondine wrote @ August 26th, 2012 at 12:43 pm

    PR? Review Kraft’s memoirs, particularly referencing the long held secret “meeting” by NASA brass- Low/Kraft/Slayton, etc., on the matter. Armstrong may have had ‘zero input’ on the decision, as he said, but Neil was essentially selected for the Lindberghesque role based on Kraft’s comments about that meeting. More ineresting is when Slayton offered command of 11 to Neil very early in ’69, he presented the option of dropping Aldrin from the crew and replacing him with Jim Lovell, as Buzz had a reputation for being some what difficult to work with. Armstrong reasoned Lovell had earned the right to command his own flight, and kept Buzz. But consider how different- or not different– history might have been if it was an Armstrong, Lovell and Collins crew on 11. =yawn= In fact, Simberg’s lengthy post is little more than a rehash synopsis of ‘First Man’ BTW.

    @MrEarl wrote @ August 26th, 2012 at 4:50 pm

    There nothing really political about this, of course, however, it could be a motivation for Cernan to accept and take the opportunity to speak at the RNC if weather factors permit. Although his telephoned comments on Neil’s passing, aired on Fox News, were rather disjointed, perhaps due to grief over the loss of his friend.

  • Robert G. Oler

    Heinrich Monroe wrote @ August 26th, 2012 at 2:23 pm

    It’s just an attempt at a poetic acknowledgement from Romney, just take it as it is, don’t overthink it.

    Poetic acknowledgments to national heroes that don’t make sense to the nation, and don’t tolerate thinking aren’t very flattering to the subject. Would Neil Armstrong have known what this meant?”

    No, no one knows what this means…

    the entire thing is incoherent

    “Neil Armstrong today takes his place in the hall of heroes.”

    Death made Armstrong a hero? Dead Hero’s go to a hall?

    ” The moon will miss its first son of earth.” ?????????????? this one mocks itself…

    It is Romney speak at its best…lying incoherent, just wow maybe something to get the Whittington’s of the world excited.

    RGO

  • Robert G. Oler

    MrEarl wrote @ August 26th, 2012 at 4:50 pm

    its not petty! its politics. space politics…enjoy the moment we only get national elections every 4 years and only so often do we get something like the pair running now. RGO

  • Coastal Ron

    joe wrote @ August 26th, 2012 at 3:35 pm

    Good grief. I am not a Romney supporter…

    Yes Joe, we all know what a big Obama supporter you are – especially his space policies… ;-)

  • E.P. Grondine

    MrEarl –

    Everyone here is pretty shocked by this event. Obama and Romney are likely pretty shocked as well. Thus their immediate comments are open for analysis for insights as to their fundamental thinking and beliefs.

    (I don’t know if either of them will ever truly understand Dr. Armstrong’s Deism and existentialism.)

    I also don’t know if anyone here can stand what’s left of my reporter’s cynicism, but if you don’t think that the ATK PR machine will make use of Dr. Armstrong’s passing and his earlier comments, you are naive, in my opinion. As this is the weekend, that should start about Monday or Tuesday.

  • Coastal Ron

    MrEarl wrote @ August 26th, 2012 at 4:50 pm

    I think the passing of Neil Armstrong transcends politics…

    If you haven’t noticed over the decades you’ve been alive, nothing transcends politics.

    …and would hate to see this turned into cheap, petty political shots like what happened with Sally Ride’s passing earlier this summer.

    I have not seen anything about Armstrong that could be described in this way, and I agree that the negative things said about Sally Ride were uncalled for and disrespectful.

    However, what politicians say about celebrity deaths is another matter. In the case of Romney’s statement about Armstrong’s passing, here he had a national forum to act presidential and I think he missed the mark. Certainly what he said was respectful, but it kind of shows how he struggles with “inspiration” (however you interpret that).

  • Mark R. Whittington

    I see it took a whole day this time for Oler to go berserk. Pity that it had to happen, but it was inevitable. For the record, I wasn’t “shilling” for anyone. As anyone who has followed by writing knows, I’ve been a critic of Romney’s (non)approach to space matters. I was just expressing the hope that Mr. Armstrong was able to help set him straight.

  • Here are some photos I shot around the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex today of Neil Armstrong memories — the service arm he crossed to Apollo 11, and newspapers from around the world reporting the Moon landing.

  • Heinrich Monroe

    but the guy tries to say something nice in eulogy to a deceased national hero – and it is bring on the conspiracy theories.

    That’s just a baldfaced lie. There was no “conspiracy” even slightly suggested. I wasn’t even questioning Romney’s intent. I was just curious about his phraseology. I merely pointed out that if you want to say something nice about someone, at least do it with words that clearly mean something. Maybe those words do, in fact, mean something to Romney that I just don’t understand. Was what he said “nice”? Well, why don’t we agree that “Neil Armstrong represented the love and passions of all that we hold dear in the success and conquest of beautiful and highly valued things”. Hey, that doesn’t mean anything, but I strung together some nice words. That makes it “nice”, right?

    Space politics is about words about space. Words count. Especially the way they attach to each other.

    Sheesh. Get a grip.

    By the way, E.P., the man was very smart and skilled, but his doctorates were honorary, not substantive. I doubt that Armstrong would ever have called himself “Dr.” Do you know that he did? He did not do so in formal written testimony to Congress. The universities that he received it from would probably not have encouraged him to do so. Although some recipients of honorary doctorates do adopt that title, I’m not aware of any contemporary scientist or engineer who does. I have no doubt that he could have achieved that degree through a real degree program, but he didn’t. That was his decision.

  • joe

    Coastal Ron wrote @ August 26th, 2012 at 5:52 pm
    “Yes Joe, we all know what a big Obama supporter you are – especially his space policies… ”

    Only a political hack would believe that because someone is not an Obama supporter (which I am not), that makes me a Romney supporter (which I am not).

    The fact that you are incapable of understanding such distinctions, is the reason it is impossible to hold a useful conversation with you. And oh yeah, since you like smiley faces so much :).

  • James

    The moon is a lifeless rock. I for one will not wave, salute, or wink at it.

    The moon is however a reminder of Mr. Armstrong and his first step, empowered by a young and enthusiastic and risk taking Agency; NASA.

    When I see the moon, I will always think of Apollo 11, and Mr. Armstrong’s first small steps.

    Mr. Armstrong’s passing may generate some conversation in the press in which comparisons are made to where we are today with where we were 43 years ago, in the evolution of our capacity to launch these types of missions.

    That might be a useful conversation, only for the masses who haven’t been paying attention these past 43 years, but for those who have, it will not bear new light on the subject.

    More than likely, folks who are running agenda’s, will try to use his passing to move their agenda along. To wit, I see the RNC has numerous large banners honoring Mr. Armstrong, and Apollo 11 mission, in their convention hall in Tampa. I wonder who might speak of his life, legacy and contribution to the nation.

    Any guesses out there?

  • joe

    Heinrich Monroe wrote @ August 26th, 2012 at 6:42 pm
    “That’s just a baldfaced lie. There was no “conspiracy” even slightly suggested. I wasn’t even questioning Romney’s intent. I was just curious about his phraseology.”

    Heinrich Monroe wrote @ August 25th, 2012 at 11:10 pm
    “Huh? What does Romney mean by that? Is that like a celestial holy trinity, with the father, son, and ghostly holes in the Moon? Wasn’t there a Superman comic where he was the “son of Earth”? Somewhat bizarre.”

    Heinrich Monroe wrote @ August 26th, 2012 at 2:23 pm
    “I believe the words “son of Earth” appear in the Book of Mormon.”

    No, of course not, no attempts there to imply that Romney is some kind of strange other not to be trusted. None at all. What could I have been thinking? Please forgive for having doubted your good intentions.

  • Heinrich Monroe

    No, of course not, no attempts there to imply that Romney is some kind of strange other not to be trusted.

    Apology appreciated.

    But I have to ask. Surely no one believes that pointing out that those words appear in the Book of Mormon was intended to “imply that Romney is a strange other not to be trusted”? I respect his religion, and I’d like to understand the meaning of those words in it. I’m glad you don’t believe that.

  • I guess we really shouldn’t be surprised that the usual suspects hijacked a tribute thread to turn it into yet another partisan mudslinging.

    Walking about the KSC Apollo Saturn V Center today, I looked up at the Apollo 11 logo hanging from the ceiling and was reminded that no names were on it. The crew felt the mission should be not about them, but about humanity reaching the Moon.

    That really was a reflection of Armstrong’s humility, as evidenced by his seclusion in later life.

    I thought about that, and how the next chapter of human spaceflight should be about what’s best for humanity, and not just an Apollo rerun. We’re already seeing some in cyberspace calling for another Moon mission as a tribute to Armstrong’s legacy, which really misses the point. It’s not about Neil. It’s about what’s best for humanity.

    And in my opinion, the best next step for humanity is to expand on our permanent human foothold in space by growing our presence in Low Earth Orbit. Once we’ve established a viable commercial reason for humanity in LEO, then the political impetus will arise to take the next logical step, which is a lunar colony.

    Armstrong himself never seemed to buy into that, rejecting invitations from SpaceX and blasting NewSpace before Congress. But if we accept Neil’s philosophy that it shouldn’t be about him, it should be about humanity, then we don’t deify him but make a communal decision about the next logical step. It’s just not a step that Neil personally wanted.

  • joe

    Heinrich Monroe wrote @ August 26th, 2012 at 8:11 pm

    “No, of course not, no attempts there to imply that Romney is some kind of strange other not to be trusted.”

    “Apology appreciated.”

    Sarcasm – “a sharp, bitter, or cutting expression or remark; a bitter jibe or taunt” usually conveyed through irony or understatement.

    Good night all.

  • Heinrich Monroe

    I guess we really shouldn’t be surprised that the usual suspects hijacked a tribute thread to turn it into yet another partisan mudslinging.

    With all due respect, this isn’t a “tribute thread”. The title of the thread is “Obama, Romney, others react to Armstrong’s passing” in a forum called “Space Politics”, and much of the discussion is about those reactions and their political import. To be honest, mudslinging is just what partisans often do. There are many many tribute threads for Neil Armstrong, as there certainly should be, and I have no problem with tributes being expressed here. But let’s call it like it is.

  • NeilShipley

    While I admire Armstrong the risks he (along with others) took and the realisation of the goal of walking on the Moon, the sad fact is that he did nothing to promote the continued HSF effort wrt exploration and for that, I am disappointed.
    Having watched his steps onto the Moon, and now, decades later, have seen his passing without any serious progress in the HSF sphere, one wonders why those who took the steps forward, then proceeded to fade into history. Guess it gets down to the fact that none of those doers where actually leaders. Is that really what’s missing from the HSF effort today? And is that why so many seem to be hanging their hats on one Elon Musk? Just a thought.

  • DCSCA

    @Stephen C. Smith wrote @ August 26th, 2012 at 8:36 pm

    “I guess we really shouldn’t be surprised that the usual suspects hijacked a tribute thread to turn it into yet another partisan mudslinging.”

    =yawn= Hmmmm. Pot. Kettle. Black. Apparently you forget your own NewSpacer mudslinging at Gene Cernan just a day or so ago on another thread, comparing him to a “buffoon” if he spoke at the RNC. And if you knew your Apollo, you’d know who designed the crew patch- and it wasn’t Neil BTW, although he had input– but approval came from NASA HQ. =eyeroll=

    “That really was a reflection of Armstrong’s humility, as evidenced by his seclusion in later life.”

    This is more or less a myth. Of course Armstrong was guarded with his media availabilities but in general, outside of his business concerns, he made himself available for many aviation industry and aerospace functions- usually group gatherings or select panel discussions, for academia, including Purdue; for Naval and aerospace interests as well as giving lectures and talks at and for several air and space museums and causes over the years, not to mention Apollo anniversaries, including 11′s, w/group press conferences. (Obit reports noted he was a visitor to the San Diego Aerospace Museum at least twice a year.) And when his nation called, he participated in the Challenger investigation. He also narrated some PBS programming on the Wrights and hosted some History Channel projects on aviation as well as the recent Discoery Channel project, ‘When We Left The Earth.’ . What he did avoid- and rightly so- was attempts by gotcha journalists to get that ever elusive, ‘one-on-one; in-depth interview’ save the famed ’60 Minutes’ television profile he did w/t late Ed Bradley and the late Walter Cronkite, in conjunction the release of his authorized bio, ‘First Man.’

  • Coastal Ron

    joe wrote @ August 26th, 2012 at 6:54 pm

    Only a political hack would believe that because someone is not an Obama supporter (which I am not), that makes me a Romney supporter (which I am not).

    Only a political neophyte would believe that this election doesn’t boil down to a binary choice – Romney or Obama. Sure you can vote for one of the minority candidates, but depending on where you live and who they are, that just takes away a vote from Romney or Obama.

    As to my use of smiley faces, it was for the comment I made on Obama’s space policies – and specifically his support of Commercial Cargo and Crew – that I used it. Since you have shown distain for “NewSpace” in the past, I thought you would get the sarcasm. I guess I over-estimated your capacity for humor.

    I hope I’m not keeping you from “The Best of Curmudgeon TV”… ;-)

  • Robert G. Oler

    Mark R. Whittington wrote @ August 26th, 2012 at 6:31 pm
    ” I was just expressing the hope that Mr. Armstrong was able to help set him straight.”

    You dont even know Armstrong tried, you have no idea what the conversation was about and yet in typical Whittington fashion you jumped to a conclusion and then proceeded on as if it were fact.

    the foundation of modern Republicanism. RGO

  • Robert G. Oler

    James wrote @ August 26th, 2012 at 7:22 pm

    More than likely, folks who are running agenda’s, will try to use his passing to move their agenda along. To wit, I see the RNC has numerous large banners honoring Mr. Armstrong, and Apollo 11 mission, in their convention hall in Tampa. I wonder who might speak of his life, legacy and contribution to the nation.

    Any guesses out there?>>

    Maybe Geno Cernan will give it a try…

    “My fellow Kolandians opps members of the GOP..we come here not to bury Neil but to praise him. We come here to lament the fact that the person not of this country who is President has decided to turn NASA into a Muslim outreach organization (see Monica Crowley of Fox News) instead of keeping going St. George Bush’s wonderful Cx program which really only needed more money to keep the mission on track. Then we would be on the road to another glorious techno program from the government which would create jobs for real Americans and keep us strong in our purity of essence, Lets return to the Moon to honor Neil”

    with that the podium disappears under the stage and someone comes out and says “remember anyone who advocates returning to the Moon will be fired”…

    RGO

  • r

    Neil Armstrong is a great American hero. His served his country on Earth and in space. He and Buzz Aldrin were the first to land a spacecraft on the moon. He was one of my heroes growing up, he and the other Apollo astronauts. He brought humanity to a different plane of existence. If any human is remembered in 1000 years, he certainly will be one. He was the first to walk on the moon. He was 100% pro NASA until his death like other Apollo astronauts. He was a true patriot, and not only for America but for all of humanity. He showed us that humans could live off Earth. Today, we live at a time where traitorous, anti government pigs in America want to get rid of NASA, but they will never win or get their way because the house, senate and executive branch are 100% pro NASA. Some of these traitors post to this website and other space websites on the internet. RIP Neil Armstrong.

  • Robert G. Oler

    It is with all seriousness not at all certain what “role” Apollo 11 (and indeed the entire Apollo program) plays in history or how long it remains a moment of serious historical note.

    I marvel with some amusement at the folks on Fox News who babble on about “remembering this or that anniversary” (mostly connected with Bush the lasts presidency) and they are babbling this on a date of historical note from history…just a history farther bacfk then most of the bleached blondes and starched hair people read. Most people today would sort of stammer when one ask about Lindbergh, I bet you neither Romney and to be fair Obama (or really any of the major political figures of the day) could tell you which shuttles went into pieces and when…

    The entire effort of the human spaceside of NASA in the 60′s is more or less disconnected with the trend line in current events. Look carefully and one can for instance trace the line from Osama Son of Ladin being a hero of American politicans to Obama risking his Presidency on killing him. The time line just about stops on Apollo with 17…

    The only thing that is left is the legacy of a big government agency that is doing more and more worse and worse…

    I firmly believe that one day people, probably Americans will go back to the Moon and “this time to stay” BUT when they do it will be more then half a century after 11 and it will be done so differently that in the end it will more or less be “the first”…ie the timeline of current events will not only pass through the effort but be altered by it.

    The trick about history is that you can really never play out the “alternate scenarios”…ie if Lee wins at Gettysburg, the South probably still loses the war…but you dont know who “dies” in the real course of history that lives in the other and changes things…it is the S. Jeffery Christopher issue from Star Trek.

    whatever happenswith the Moon will most likely start from another place in our future and be disconnected with our history.

    BUT that will not for those of us who knew the effort detract from the individual effort and courage that the effort took…and the tip of that lance was three guys who on July 20, 1969…did something very very special…at least for the generations alive at the time.

    RGO

  • DCSCA

    @James wrote @ August 26th, 2012 at 7:22 pm

    “More than likely, folks who are running agenda’s, will try to use his passing to move their agenda along. To wit, I see the RNC has numerous large banners honoring Mr. Armstrong, and Apollo 11 mission, in their convention hall in Tampa.”

    Noticed that, too. And the irony of today’s GOP doingg that is simply hilarious, if not despicable, as C-SPAN is airing the GOP acceptance speeches and 48 years ago, their ultra-right wing candidate, Barry Goldwater, the ‘father’ of the modern conservative movement – the core of today’s GOP- specifically voiced skepticism in opposition to financing a ‘moonshot’ as he called it, in one of his talking points during his famous 1964 “extremism is no vice’ Cow Palace address. If you catch it, it’ll give you a laugh. Decades later, Reagan embraced the glory of ‘meeting men who have walked on the moon’ in his final convention address yet he actively campaigned for Barry G. Oh the ‘guffaw’ as Romney would say.

    Given Neil’s history of protecting his persona and image from being misused (recall his lawsuit w/Hallmark and w/his own barber,) if he was still with us, perhaps he’d take the Republican Party to court w/cease and desist litigation over it. In any event, it does seem absurd for the Republican Party to try to lay claim to anything related to the JFK/LBJ initiated Apollo project. Unlike Apollo, it’ll never fly.

    @E.P. Grondine wrote @ August 26th, 2012 at 12:43 pm

    “Thanks for sharing the Yeager story with us”.

    =eyeroll= You do realize that Yeager story is lifted right out of Chuck’s highly popular biography published a quarter century ago– pretty much everybody has read it, except, it appears, you.

  • Regardless of whether you agreed with him on every issue, Neil Armstrong was a great American hero. What he and Buzz did on that July day in 1969 should inspire us on to greater things, even if continuing their legacy requires the adoption of new methods of which Neil would not have approved. Methods which make use of advances that have occurred in the decades since.

    When Americans next return to the Moon (and it will happen sooner than most people think and without SLS) I hope that one of the first things they will do is speak a respectful memoriam for him. We will return to the Moon by whatever means are practical in a way that will allow us to continue returning indefinitely. To attempt to do it any other way would be a dishonor to the Apollo legacy.

  • So many fools out there, who want to trivialize a possible manned Lunar Return as an “Apollo rerun”, yet have no trouble facing the glaringness of ISS reruns & Mir reruns & Space Shuttle reruns. Look at our modern day Antarctic research base personnel: are they just engaged in the activity of planting flagpoles & stealing decades-old relics from olden-days Antarctic expeditions?? Is THAT all that they are doing in Antarctica nowadays?! Come on, people! Sure the seventh successful human mission to the Lunar surface might re-try a few things from the Apollo book, and the thirteenth astronaut to step out & walk on the Moon might put up the national flag; but beyond those superficial similarities at the beginning of the new landing series, will commense a host of astronautic work activities that’ll go beyond & further what the olden-days spacemen were able to accomplish. Astronaut activities at an actual base will closely resemble the scientific research work being done at the McMurdo Sound. And I hardly think that Antarctic base personnel are spending ANY large sums of time robbing relic articles & remnant items from old expeditions from the likes of Richard E. Byrd, Ernest Shackleton, & Roald Amundsen. THOSE thoughts never even enter their minds. So trust me, spacemen are NOT going to be returning Moonward just to raid equipment leftover by the Apollo project!

  • Heinrich Monroe

    The moon is however a reminder of Mr. Armstrong and his first step, empowered by a young and enthusiastic and risk taking Agency; NASA.

    Let’s not forget that it was also empowered by an agency with at least twice as much funding as the one now has. Youth and enthusiasm are nice, but greenbacks are better.

    Who’s responsible for what could be considered present underfunding? Hey, it must be the traitorous, anti government pigs in the House, Senate and executive branch! Yes, they are 100% for an underfunded NASA!

    He showed us that humans could live off Earth.

    Which probably surprised the Vostok/Soyuz, Mercury, Gemini, and previous Apollo astronauts. Who would have guessed? But yes, putting your boots in lunar soil doesn’t kill you. That’s a fact.

  • E.P. Grondine

    DCSCA –

    See all of that meetings participants’ comments about Armstrong’s exceptional piloting skills.

    As for General Yeager’s biography, no I have not read it. I had and have a lot of reading to do.

  • E.P. Grondine

    Heinrich –

    It’s a personal thing. I thought Astronaut Armstrong and Professor Armstrong’s thesis work was fairly impressive. So when I spoke of Dr. Aldrin’s views, I accorded equal title to Dr. Armstrong. It was and will continue as a courtesy on my part, in part as repayment for courtesies shown.

    RGO – Your comparison with Lindbergh is apt, and likely largely explains a large part of Dr. Armstrong’s behavior. Consider what happened to “Lucky Lindy”…

    One of the interesting things about Lindbergh is his keeping another family in Germany for many years… while at the same time on the big screen Jimmy Stweart protrayed his flight as a religious conversion. It is hagiography, as googaw continuously points out.

    I suppose for Dr. Armstrong the only item of note in this regard is that he met his second wife two years before his first wife divorced him. However, I do not play a psychologist on TV, nor am I one in real life, and frankly it does not matter to me, though it will to 50% of the population.

  • E.P. Grondine

    DCSCA –

    “(Obit reports noted he was a visitor to the San Diego Aerospace Museum at least twice a year.)”

    While Ohio is cold in winter, that is interesting. Any idea why?
    Thomas Scott Baldwin or Montgomery?

  • William Mellberg

    DCSCA wrote:

    “What he did avoid- and rightly so- was attempts by gotcha journalists to get that ever elusive, ‘one-on-one; in-depth interview’ save the famed ’60 Minutes’ television profile he did w/t late Ed Bradley and the late Walter Cronkite, in conjunction the release of his authorized bio, ‘First Man.’”

    Neil Armstrong did an extended, four-part interview with Alex Malley in Sydney one year ago. It was an excellent, in-depth discussion covering a wide range of topics — including the current status of America’s space program (starting around the 8-minute mark of Part 4):

    http://thebottomline.cpaaustralia.com.au/

    As I recall, CPA Australia has the exclusive rights to the interview for two years, after which it will go to Purdue University where the rest of Armstrong’s papers have been archived:

    http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/releases/2012/Q3/purdue-mourns-alumnus-neil-armstrong.html

    Neil Armstrong embodied professionalism, decency, civility and humility.

    He was truly a gentleman and a scholar.

    Will Rogers said, “No man is great if he thinks he is.”

    That’s why Mr. Armstrong was such a great man … because he didn’t think of himself that way. From Neil’s point of view, he was just doing his job, although he did take pride in doing it well.

    “There are no great men … only great challenges that ordinary men are forced by circumstances to meet.” — Fleet Admiral William F. “Bull” Halsey, Jr. (USN)

  • E.P. Grondine

    I wonder if retired Senator John Glenn will speak at the Democratic Convention?

  • Coastal Ron

    NeilShipley wrote @ August 26th, 2012 at 9:39 pm

    While I admire Armstrong the risks he (along with others) took and the realisation of the goal of walking on the Moon, the sad fact is that he did nothing to promote the continued HSF effort wrt exploration and for that, I am disappointed.

    It is interesting that for 30 years after Apollo people were OK with not leaving LEO, but once the unaffordable Constellation program was dangled in front of them, suddenly everyone gets upset that we haven’t left LEO.

    This feeds into the perception that space is a “program” requiring Apollo-like funding and commitment. Well that’s not going to happen (especially under Romney/Ryan), not unless we can find a new bogeyman to use as justification for another political stunt like Apollo. I see none.

    In the meantime we need to be finding ways to access space and stay there (for science, exploration, etc.) in an affordable fashion. We’re not in a race, so we can afford to do this in a smart way.

    So while Armstrong and his Apollo brethren risked their lives for America’s greater good, we didn’t leverage the lessons we learned from Apollo into a sustainable way of staying in space. The seeds of our frustration in not leaving LEO were planted 40 years ago, not two. Apparently people fail to recognize that too.

    BTW, our host contributed to an article in USA Today about Armstrong:

    Armstrong spent last years fighting for human spaceflight

  • Robert G. Oler

    NeilShipley wrote @ August 26th, 2012 at 9:39 pm

    Guess it gets down to the fact that none of those doers where actually leaders. Is that really what’s missing from the HSF effort today? And is that why so many seem to be hanging their hats on one Elon Musk? Just a thought.”

    thats not bad…

    The problem facing all the “moon walkers” was that none of them could do what almost no one else had been able to do is articulate a “vision” of what the Apollo hardware could do…that was worth the cost in value. Thats probably a task to far actually.

    DCSA brought up an interesting point that I vaguely remembered from previous study of the AuH2O speech and campaign…so thanks to the “internets” I went back and he was correct…AuH2O had along with others of the GOP pretty much balked at the cost of the Apollo effort…

    By the time of the end of the program no one was supporting the cost (outside of NASA) because the results had never quite lived up to that…

    Musk is a visionary, and a bit of a showman and he is able to articulate a vision that “a lot of us” (me included) seem to be drawn to and hope (at least I do) that it is affordable.

    In the end I suspect Apollo is going to be viewed by history (which is probably not a bunch of space groupies) as the first of the nation going off and doing things because in reality…it had to much money RGO

  • Robert G. Oler

    http://spaceports.blogspot.com/2012/08/clamour-for-armstrong-state-funeral.html

    IN my view no.

    I am OK with the flags flying at half, but a state funeral…no.

    In the end had Apollo 11 failed at some point and all or part of the crew been lost “in action” then we would have an argument here (and doubtless would have a state funeral) but…

    we dont have state funerals for Marines killed in combat; and Armstrong has long been off the national stage…He died of old age…that is how people should go out. As the testament says it is appointed to a man to die…we all do that…if we have one for Neil we will need to have one for Mike and Buzz (if Buzz ever goes on…I can see 100 years from now Buzz is still punching people out at space conventions)…

    This is just space stuff run amock. I got this off of Rick T’s facebook page.

    RGO

  • Max

    I too was struck by the awkward choice of words Romney used. The lack of logic, mixed metaphor and imagery was … well … dissonant, for lack of a better term.

  • Heinrich Monroe

    I thought Astronaut Armstrong and Professor Armstrong’s thesis work was fairly impressive. So when I spoke of Dr. Aldrin’s views, I accorded equal title to Dr. Armstrong. It was and will continue as a courtesy on my part, in part as repayment for courtesies shown.

    I guess then I can feel free to call him Saint Neil, or Count Neil Armstrong Esq., or even Admiral Neil Armstrong. No, it’s not up to us to entitle people. For a PhD, it’s up to the awarding institution to do that. Having individuals making up titles in no way honors him. Just want to point out (again) that especially in science and technology, and for most everyone else, honorary doctorates are not considered real PhDs, at least by reputable institutions. Neil Armstrong would have liked to be addressed with a real title. I’m confident of that.

    As to Neil Armstrong not actively promoting human spaceflight, yes he did not do so with words, but did so by being a compelling icon. His role in life, which he thankfully adopted, was to represent an astonishing accomplishment, and not to set policy. There are other Moon-walking astronauts who have been more vocal and who, I believe, have therein sacrificed some of their iconic status. Armstrong knew that where he had been didn’t convey space policy expertise, but instead symbolized great things.

  • Coastal Ron

    Chris Castro wrote @ August 27th, 2012 at 9:03 am

    Look at our modern day Antarctic research base personnel: are they just engaged in the activity of planting flagpoles & stealing decades-old relics from olden-days Antarctic expeditions?? Is THAT all that they are doing in Antarctica nowadays?!

    What would be the goal of going to the Moon?

    The goal of the ISS is to learn how to live and work in space, which would include living and working on the Moon. However since Low-Earth Orbit (LEO) is 1,000 times closer than the surface of the Moon, it’s a whole lot less expensive to do that science in LEO than on the surface of the Moon.

    If you look at what the scientists that are involved with solving the problems associated with humans living and working in space are focused on, none of them are clamoring to go to the Moon. Certainly it will be a future destination, but it’s not on the critical path for any of the near-term issues we need to solve if we’re going to leave LEO and stay out there.

    For instance, just recently scientists have discovered techniques that could prevent bone loss during long-duration space trips, and those same techniques could be used for people staying on the Moon. We learned that in LEO, at a far smaller cost than if we were doing the same science on the Moon.

    So Chris, you have to more of a reason than “it would be neat” if you want Congress to pony up $100-200B. You have to have ironclad, compelling reasons why going to the Moon will not only solve some recognized problem (science, national interests, etc.), but that the Moon is the best place to solve that recognized problem. And keep in mind that there are always tradeoffs, so “best place” has to be a combination of relevance and money.

    The compelling problem that Apollo (and Armstrong) solved was political – how to show that we were better than the Soviet Union at a time when our two nations were competing against each other around the globe. Even our presence in the Antarctic is partly based on political need, not pure science.

    So what are the reasons for going to the Moon today, and why can they only be done on the Moon? And what are the pro’s & con’s for the alternatives?

  • @Chris Castro
    “So many fools out there, who want to trivialize a possible manned Lunar Return as an “Apollo rerun”, yet have no trouble facing the glaringness of ISS reruns & Mir reruns & Space Shuttle reruns.”
    A much more foolish notion is the idea that SLS is needed for lunar return, that it will get us there faster than using launch vehicles we already have and be affordable.

    A serious question, Chris. When Americans return to the Moon without SLS, will you be as happy as you would be if it was done with SLS? Somehow I doubt it, because I get the impression that SLS is more important to you than actually going back to the Moon.

  • Frank Glover

    @ Heinrich Monroe and Costal Ron:

    Okay, a *poor* attempt at poetic, I’ll definitely give you both that…

  • E.P. Grondine

    Hi Max, Herman –

    This will probably clear it all up for both of you:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mormon_cosmology

    Apparently commenting on the strangeness of these concepts has now been declared to be religious intolerance. Just as wanting to look at tax returns has become taboo because it would reveal “embarrassing donations”.

    In any case, If Romney/Ryan wins the electoral college, I think we can expect NASA to be “returned to greatness”, in other words ATK gets more money, and the NGST, with its ET planet detection capabilities, will face no threat of cancellation.

  • DCSCA

    @E.P. Grondine wrote @ August 27th, 2012 at 10:45 am

    Amstrong was a Naval aviator and he, along with Cernan, tended to devote a lot time – mostly out of the spotlight- to navial aviation causes. He was part of a panel discussion at Pensicola several years ago along with other astronatuts who were Navy who could attend. Most of the ‘self-centered ‘stars’ in the American press seem irked that Armstrong wasn’t seduced by the alure of their limelight and did a sitdown, one-on-one. He was pretty wise on that front. Haven’t check on it for years, but there’s probably a great deal of printed and daudio devriefing matrerials in the NASA or Nat’l Archives from 11– or it’s in the bowels of the NASM or at Perdue. He managed the burdens associated w/being ‘First Man’ admirably. No doubt he’s exchanging views with Lindy and the Wrights right now.

    @William Mellberg wrote @ August 27th, 2012 at 11:11 am

    RE AM- Yes, and it’s interesting how few fragments of that have made their way into the U.S. media covreage over the past 72 hours. Which only goes to show the tale about his reclusiveness are more media myth than fact. As with most men in the autumn of their time, he may also have simply begun to open up a bit more about the experiences of his life– certainly his friend and fellow aviator, Gene Cernan, urged him to do so as the HSF program begn stalling. Aviators tend to frown over stalls. ;-). .

    @NeilShipley wrote @ August 26th, 2012 at 9:39 pm

    Guess it gets down to the fact that none of those doers where actually leaders. Is that really what’s missing from the HSF effort today? And is that why so many seem to be hanging their hats on one Elon Musk? Just a thought.”

    More fantasy from the dapper dressers in Magnified Importance of Diministed Vision crowd. Nobody wears hats anymore.

    @Robert G. Oler wrote @ August 27th, 2012 at 12:16 pm

    “DCSA brought up an interesting point that I vaguely remembered from previous study of the AuH2O speech and campaign…so thanks to the “internets” I went back and he was correct…AuH2O had along with others of the GOP pretty much balked at the cost of the Apollo effort.”

    Indeed. And Goldwater’s speech was in the summer of ’64. GOP opposition was there from the Apollo get-go. And it’s all in the Congressional Record as well.

    “By the time of the end of the program no one was supporting the cost (outside of NASA) because the results had never quite lived up to that..”

    Except it did- the national goal was achieved- ahead of schedule and at/under budget. Apollo was finite as well– all the participants knew. Cancelling the last three flights by denying operations funding, after the hardware was purchased, and directing HSF to a policy of LEO ops was a political, not an engineering decision, and the nation has been stuck going in circles, no place fast, ever since.

    “Musk is a visionary.”

    LOL Except he’s not. You need glasses. Unless you ascribe to the Magnified Importance of Diminished Vision. But rest easy, eye care is covered by Obamacare. ;-)

    @Robert G. Oler wrote @ August 27th, 2012 at 3:21 pm

    My God. Armstrong would recoil at the idea of a ‘state fuineral’ for himself.

    He’d likely be ‘most appreciative,’ –to borrow his words from THE 7/20/1989 20th anniversary celebrations in Washington– if the nation rekindled a more visible public discourse on BEO HSF. And h’e likely feel honored when the USPS issues a first class postage stamp- as it did for Lindbergh- bearing his likeness. Given Von Braun’s dark history, he’ll never get one. Neil will.

  • William Mellberg

    E.P. Grondine wrote:

    “One of the interesting things about Lindbergh is his keeping another family in Germany for many years … while at the same time on the big screen Jimmy Stewart portrayed his flight as a religious conversion. It is hagiography, as googaw continuously points out. I suppose for Dr. Armstrong the only item of note in this regard is that he met his second wife two years before his first wife divorced him. However, I do not play a psychologist on TV, nor am I one in real life, and frankly it does not matter to me, though it will to 50% of the population.”

    You, sir, should be ashamed of yourself.

    For the record, Neil Armstrong was separated from his first wife, Jan, in mid-1989. It was her choice, not his. In fact, he was deeply depressed about the separation and asked Jan to change her mind. But she filed for divorce. Three years after their separation (1992), Neil met Carol Knight, a widow whose husband had been killed in a 1989 plane crash. Neil was 62 at the time. Carol was 47. The meeting was arranged by mutual friends. Neil and Carol were married two years later (1994), after Neil and Jan’s divorce was final.

    Your reference to Charles Lindbergh in this regard was totally inappropriate and thoroughly contemptible.

    Neil Armstrong was a decent and honorable man … a genuine Eagle Scout.

    Which is more than I can say for you and your despicable remarks.

    The man hasn’t even been buried, and you are attempting to defame him.

    It pains me to respond to such trash. But I felt it was necessary to defend Mr. Armstrong’s reputation against such a scurrilous and ill-timed comment.

    Hopefully, you will offer an apology to the readers of this thread, as well as to the family, colleagues and friends of Neil Armstrong.

  • E.P. Grondine

    Hi RGO –

    “…I can see 100 years from now Buzz is still punching people out”…
    who get in his face and tell him that he is a liar, and that he and his buds did not walk on the Moon, after they put their butts on what could have been the world’s biggest firecracker…

    Hopefully, I’ll have this new set of boxing gloves I’m working on finished by then, and you’ll be tying them on him…

  • NeilShipley

    Coastal Ron wrote @ August 27th, 2012 at 11:45 am
    In case I misconstrue CR apologies.
    I’ve followed NASA since that day in ’69 and waited in vain for something to happen wrt exploration. When the STS and ISS were proposed, I realised that NASA wasn’t going to go beyond leo due to the costs which even at that point, never added up and there was no follow on program. So I’ve been disappointed for several decades.
    Could the lack of inspiration around the Apollo effort boil down to the fact that figher pilots and engineers couldn’t articulate their experiences in everyday language, couldn’t discribe their experiences in poetic language, couldn’t express their experiences on canvas, and therefore couldn’t inspire even if they wanted to?
    As RGO has put it, Musk isn’t your run of the mill engineering type. He is a visionary and really shouldn’t be building rockets and sending them into space. He’s quite an anomoly and doesn’t fit the mould.
    But timing is everything and I believe that Apollo has 2 historical paths open at present. If mankind becomes a space-faring species, then Apollo will be seen as a major event no matter the gap, however should it come to pass the man the species stays Earthbound, then Apollo clearly will have no historical context and simply disappear.

  • Jeff Foust

    Sorry, folks, once again, the conversation has devolved to the point where it’s time to turn comments off.