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  Autograph of the Week 003: Neil Armstrong

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Author Topic:   Autograph of the Week 003: Neil Armstrong
yeknom-ecaps
Member

Posts: 474
From: Northville MI USA
Registered: Aug 2005

posted 08-27-2012 12:05 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for yeknom-ecaps   Click Here to Email yeknom-ecaps     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Space Autograph of the Week, Week 3 (August 27, 2012)
Space Autograph of the Week Topic 3: Neil Armstrong

Sadly, Neil Armstrong passed away on August 26, 2012 from complications related to his heart bypass surgery earlier in the month. This is truly, one giant loss for all mankind... It is fitting that we thus honor Neil Armstrong as the Space Autograph Topic of the Week.

From the small town of Wapakoneta, Ohio rose a humble engineer to the pinnacle of the space program. The route took Armstrong first to the Navy where Armstrong flew Navy fighter jets during the Korean War, flying nearly 80 missions. 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.

Next, on to Edwards Air Force Base in California as a research test pilot of the X-1B and later the X-15 which he flew 7 times.

Then came his move to NASA as an astronaut with the second group of astronauts selected. On Armstrong's first flight he would be the command pilot of Gemini 8 and was able to handle the emergency in space that threatened the lives of the crew and required an immediate abort with the secondary recovery ship, the USS Leonard F. Mason.

With the upcoming Apollo program NASA built LM trainers. Armstrong would perform training flights at Ellington AFB near Houston, Texas in an early version called the Lunar Landing Research Vehicle or LLRV. Armstrong was flying LLRV-1 on May 6, 1968 when it went out of control. He ejected safely and the vehicle crashed.

Nothing would be easy for the first landing on the moon during Apollo 11, which Armstrong commanded. Armstrong took over from the computer, steering Eagle over a giant crater and the boulder field, and flew onward with his fuel supply dwindling.

Finally, Armstrong had found a relatively smooth spot, and with just 100 feet until landing on the moon he brought Eagle into a final, vertical descent but the descent engine was kicking up moon dust, sending it outward in all directions. Armstrong used rocks sticking up through the blowing dust as a reference. From Houston comes the announcement that there is just 30 seconds of fuel left before a mandatory abort. And then, from Buzz Aldrin: "contact light" where a light on the instrument panel signaled that the probes at the end of Eagle's legs had touched the surface. Armstrong shut down the engine--with about 20 seconds' worth of fuel remaining. Seven hours later he and Aldrin would emerge from Eagle, climb down its ladder, and take the momentous step the world that many of us watched on black and white TV screens.

When Armstrong was still doing limited signings through the mail I called his secretary and she said he would only sign one item for me. I thought long and hard about what item to send... a NASA portrait? No, I could buy or trade for one of those later (still need to do that)... a Gemini 8 photo, again there are some of those out there (though I still don't have one!)... Apollo 11, didn't know how to ask for the photo of Armstrong on the moon. What to do?

Then it came to me, I had a X-1A/X-1B photo signed by Chuck Yeager, the first person to break the sound barrier and Armstrong flew the X-1B... so off it went.

So here is a photo signed by both the first person to break the sound barrier and the first person to walk on the moon. It is still one of my favorite photos in my collection.

As the Armstrong family stated... For those who may ask what they can do to honor Neil, we have a simple request. Honor his example of service, accomplishment and modesty, and the next time you walk outside on a clear night and see the moon smiling down at you, think of Neil Armstrong and give him a wink. -- I know I will.

SkyMan1958
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Posts: 424
From: CA.
Registered: Jan 2011

posted 08-27-2012 10:42 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for SkyMan1958   Click Here to Email SkyMan1958     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 28757
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 08-27-2012 10:58 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This is not an autograph I own, but it is one of the few Neil Armstrong autographs that stand out in my mind as being exceptional for the story it tells.

This is Wernher von Braun's personal copy of "First on the Moon," signed and inscribed by the Apollo 11 crew. It is seen here as it is on display at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Ala.

Armstrong writes:

To Werner (sic) — who postulated, advertised, conned, pulled and finally pushed to make us the [First On The Moon]. Thanks —
The inscriptions by Aldrin and Collins are equally remarkable.

Bob M
Member

Posts: 1393
From: Atlanta-area, GA USA
Registered: Aug 2000

posted 08-27-2012 02:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Bob M   Click Here to Email Bob M     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
My favorite Neil Armstrong signed item is this program for the first presentation of the Congressional Space Medal of Honor in 1978. Six astronauts were the first recipients: Neil Armstrong, Frank Borman, Charles Conrad, John Glenn, Gus Grissom and Alan Shepard.

I decided to have it autographed by three of the six, which I considered America's three most famous and historic astronauts: Shepard (first American in space), John Glenn (first American to orbit the earth) and Armstrong (first man on the moon).

The program was mailed to each of the three in the 1980's and all three signed with well-applied autographs.

Dirk
Member

Posts: 582
From: Belgium
Registered: Jul 2003

posted 09-02-2012 11:20 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dirk   Click Here to Email Dirk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A French pilot, Christian Briand, former Chief Test Pilot SOCATA -- on the photo first on the right), retired in 2008, had the honor to fly along with Neil Armstrong on August 3, 2003, in a TMB700 (N7OOPW nr 11) and wrote the following story:
He flew right seat, but seemed more intimidated than I... he showed an outstanding modesty, regarding his background.

He declined to hold the controls for take off from OSH, neither for landing in Cincinnati, where he lived, but he flew the airplane during climb up to FL 290, zizagging among CBs, as he did during descent, still among CBs, cruising with autopilot engaged. He spoke little and I was focused on flying, being aware to have a world renowned person aboard and an expert too (I hardly slept the night before). Neil's son was aboard, as was the airplane owner and Neil's close friend. I wrote our whole conversation on my flight log that I saved:

Neil: what is the Glide Ratio of this TBM 700 in case of engine failure?

Christian: 14... and the GR of the APOLLO capsule?

Neil: 0,35...

Christian: Is the TBM more stable than the LEM?

Neil: The LEM was not so bad...

After landing in Cincinnati [as I requested him to sign my flight log] (coming from OSKOSH where he made a conference):

Neil: sorry Christian, I never write any autograph except if I'm obliged, like on an official document. Do you know who suggested that to me?

Christian: No...

Neil: Charles Lindbergh.

I remember at that moment a fly flew across the cabin. [a great man, a great memory]

Hart Sastrowardoyo
Member

Posts: 2365
From: Toms River, NJ,USA
Registered: Aug 2000

posted 09-03-2012 02:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hart Sastrowardoyo   Click Here to Email Hart Sastrowardoyo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Not mine, but a Christa McAuliffe Middle School has a "NASA quilt," with astronauts' signatures incorporated in the design. When I was there doing a story for the 25th anniversary of the Challenger accident, I didn't take any photos of it, shame on me.

But our archives has a photo of one of the autographs: that of Neil Armstrong.

Brian Bayley
Member

Posts: 21
From: Merseyside UK
Registered: Nov 2004

posted 10-01-2012 11:27 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Brian Bayley     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In 1983 I wrote to...

"Neil Armstrong C/O Neil Armstrong's Farm, Ohio, Lebanon, USA"

and asked for a signed photo. Not expecting anything, imagine my surprise when a month or so later I got this! I don't think I've seen a bolder Armstrong on a WSS portrait. I don't think it is an autopen as it came at a time when he was signing and it I don't think it matches any known patterns. It remains the pride of my collection and in my opinion a great reference example for anyone looking for a comparison.

A truly amazing human being.

All times are CT (US)

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