Students for the Exploration and Development of Space, USA (SEDS) mourns the passing of Dr. Neil Armstrong, the first human to set foot on the moon. Armstrong passed away following complications resulting from cardiovascular procedures according to a statement from his family, and was 82 years old.
"Many Students first learn about Space exploration through the great accomplishments of the past, like Armstrong's historic and heroic landing on the Moon. This was a journey that he himself said only had a 50-50 chance of success" SEDS Executive Board Chairman Dan Pastuf said, "Because of the groundwork Armstrong laid down, young people have been inspired throughout the world to pursue the limits of where we can explore."
Armstrong joined the Astronaut corps in 1962 as part of "the New Nine", the second group of Astronauts selected by NASA. He first flew in space on Gemini 8, which included a rendezvous and docking, the most complex space mission up to that point. The mission almost resulted in disaster when the Gemini and its docking target began an uncontrolled roll, as a result of a thruster on the Gemini capsule being stuck in the on position. Armstrong was able to disconnect the vehicles maneuvering system, by shutting down the errant thruster but the vehicle was left almost completely uncontrollable forcing the mission to be shortened. He returned to space for the historic Apollo 11 flight, taking humanities first steps on another world at Tranquility Base on the Moon on Monday, July 21, 1969.
After his return from the Moon, he announced his intention not to fly in space again. He was appointed as the Deputy Associate Administrator for aeronautics for what would become the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, then retired from both it and NASA in 1971. He went on to become a professor at the University of Cincinnati, teaching students for over eight years before retiring in 1979. Armstrong throughout his life was able to act and inspire students.
"Neil Armstrong has always greatly motivated me, and shaped my steps towards my college career," said Board Member Daniel Zhou, a current student of Armstrong's Alma Mater, Purdue University, "Today marks a sad day for all Boilermakers in the US, and abroad and across Purdue alumni family. As we all mourn Armstrong's passing, we must also remember his past achievements and accomplishments. Not only did he pave the way for space exploration for the United States, he will always be a source of inspiration for our generation, and for the generations to come, as we ask ourselves, 'why explore space?'"
"There are some people that do the 'impossible' things and challenge us to go beyond reasonable expectations. Neil Armstrong has not only given us this challenge and inspired us to reach beyond the stars," SEDS Executive Board Vice Chair Sara Meschberger said, "but he through his life and passion he has given us hope to achieve 'impossible' dreams for generations to come."
Armstrong leaves a legacy of being the first man to step on the face of another world. NASA and Armstrong's work is one of the greatest technological accomplishments in the history of mankind. "While many see the landing of Apollo as the conclusion of the great challenge set in front of us by President Kennedy, it was only the beginning," Pastuf said "the trailblazing efforts lead by Neil Armstrong and others must be continued as we reach farther into cosmos and return to the Moon and beyond."
Media Contact: Dan Pastuf
Phone: (202) 656-7337
The Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (SEDS) is the world's only independent, fully student-run, pro-space nonprofit organization. Founded in 1980 by students frustrated with the stagnation of NASA after Apollo, SEDS has inspired tens of thousands of students to pursue careers in science, engineering, and technology. SEDS supports a network of over 30 student chapters across the United States, hosts the largest student run space conference in the world, SpaceVision, provides students opportunities to develop their leadership skills and professional networks, and inspires others through their involvement in space-related projects. Alumni can be found throughout the space industry in both traditional and "New Space" companies. For more information visit: http://www.seds.org.