Advertisement

Archive for Saturday, August 25, 2012

Former astronaut Steve Hawley on Neil Armstrong: He was a ‘model for all astronauts’

August 25, 2012

Advertisement

Former astronaut and Kansas University professor Steve Hawley described Neil Armstrong, who died Saturday at age 82, as a man of exceptional ability and humility and a “model for all astronauts.”

“He was an incredibly gracious individual, particularly considering everything he had done,” Hawley said. “The accomplishment he made was something that hopefully we will all remember forever. He represented the country, and, in fact, humanity in taking the first steps on another world.”

Neil Armstrong in 1966

Neil Armstrong in 1966



FILE - In this July 20, 1969 black-and-white file photo, taken from a television monitor, Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong, right, trudging across the surface of the moon. Edwin E. Aldrin is seen closer to the craft. NASA may not be going to the moon anytime soon and its space shuttles are about to be retired, but it could conceivably increase the number of agency jobs under a new reorganization, NASA's chief said Thursday.

FILE - In this July 20, 1969 black-and-white file photo, taken from a television monitor, Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong, right, trudging across the surface of the moon. Edwin E. Aldrin is seen closer to the craft. NASA may not be going to the moon anytime soon and its space shuttles are about to be retired, but it could conceivably increase the number of agency jobs under a new reorganization, NASA's chief said Thursday.

Armstrong, the first person on the moon, had retired before Hawley, who made five space flights from 1984 to 1999, became an astronaut. But Hawley and Armstrong worked together investigating the Space Shuttle Challenger accident in 1986.

On another occasion, after a ceremony dedicating the Astronaut Memorial at Kennedy Space Center, Hawley attempted to say hello to Armstrong. Armstrong was surrounded by a crowd of people, and Hawley wasn’t even sure Armstrong would remember his name.

“As I got close, I said, ‘Well, I won’t bother him.’ But he looked up and he saw me, and he said ‘Hi, Steve,’ and waved to me. I looked back and said, ‘Hi, Neil’. He didn’t have to do that, but that’s the kind of guy he was.”

Hawley said Armstrong was the kind of person who realized the moon landing wasn’t his achievement, but the achievement of the tens of thousands of other people who labored on the project — that he was a member of the team, not an individual.

“That was always something I looked for when we hired new astronauts,” Hawley said.

Hawley said Armstrong had, in part, inspired him to work at NASA but might have inspired him more on what he did after retirement.

“He left and went back to his alma mater and taught,” Hawley said. “I said, ‘When I retire, I want to do that.’”

Comments

kusp8 2 years, 3 months ago

Rest in Peace Neil. I wasn't more than a distant thought in my parents' eye in 1986, but even I understand the greatness of what he did for humankind. He is a truly universal legend and hero. God Bless.

Liberty275 2 years, 3 months ago

Armstrong was the tip of the spear that will reinvent our society. It's sad to lose a hero. It would be sadder to never have them to lose.

Scott Tuley 2 years, 3 months ago

I remember that night {moon landing} well, a family from Michigan that were camping at our pond came to our house so we could all watch it together.

yourworstnightmare 2 years, 3 months ago

"...Hawley said Armstrong was the kind of person who realized the moon landing wasn’t his achievement, but the achievement of the tens of thousands of other people who labored on the project..."

Not to mention the millions of American citizens who made NASA possible.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.