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Mission commander Neil Armstrong was the flying ace, Buzz Aldrin the scholar. Michael Collins was a crack test pilot, too, but also a wordsmith who described the trio as "amiable strangers."
Apollo 11's astronauts had six months to gel as a crew and prepare for humanity's greatest space feat. The three had never served together on the same spaceflight before, and the "almost frantic" preparation left little if any time for bonding, Collins said.
Flights - Collins - Corvettes - Anything - Business
"Apollo 11 was a little different than some of the other flights," Collins explained. "We didn't cruise around in color-coordinated Corvettes or anything like that. We were all business. We were all hard work, and we felt the weight of the world upon us."
A brief look at each man:
Neil - Armstrong - Man - Moon
Neil Armstrong was the first man to walk on the moon but the least inclined to talk about it.
Last year's film, "First Man," captured his private nature; his two sons served as movie consultants. Such reticence merely reinforced the mystery surrounding the late astronaut, who by skill, hard work and chance became the first human to set foot on another world.
Armstrong - Job - Fighter - Pilot - Korea
Armstrong was superbly qualified for the job: fighter pilot in Korea, X-15 test pilot, one of only two civilians selected for the second astronaut group in 1962, Gemini 8 command pilot, backup commander of Apollo 8 and, finally, commander of Apollo 11.
He'd proven his mettle again and again. He had to gain control of his tumbling Gemini 8 spacecraft in 1966 and bring it down early, and he ejected from a lunar lander training device in 1968 just before it crashed in flames in Houston.
Armstrong - NASA - Years - Apollo - Engineering
Armstrong left NASA two years after Apollo 11 and taught engineering at the University of Cincinnati until 1979. He spent his remaining years in his home state of Ohio. He finally agreed to a biography: 2005's...
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