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Astronaut Neil Armstrong developed a fascination with flight at an early age and earned his student pilot's license when he was 16. In 1947, Armstrong began his studies in aeronautical engineering at Purdue University on a U.S. Navy scholarship. His studies, however, were interrupted in 1949 when he was called to serve in the Korean War.
A U.S. Navy pilot, Armstrong flew 78 combat missions during this military conflict. He left the service in 1952, and returned to college. A few years later, Armstrong joined the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), which later became the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
In his personal life, Armstrong started to settle down. He married Janet Shearon on January 28, 1956. The couple soon added to their family. Son Eric arrived in 1957, followed daughter Karen in 1959.
Sadly, Karen died of complications related to an inoperable brain tumor in January 1962. The following year, the Armstrong’s welcomed their third child, son Mark!
. Moon Landing:
Armstrong faced an even bigger challenge in 1969. Along with Michael Collins and Edwin E. "Buzz" Aldrin, he was part of NASA's first manned mission to the moon. The trio were launched into space on July 16, 1969.
Serving as the mission's commander, Armstrong piloted the Lunar Module to the moon's surface on July 20, 1969, with Buzz Aldrin aboard. Collins remained on the Command Module.
At 10:56 PM, Armstrong exited the Lunar Module. He said, "That's one small step for man,…