Buckeye Blastoff

A photo of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walking on the moon from July 20, 1969. Courtesy of the Ohio History Connection. Via Ohio Memory.

After the eclipse on April 8 we all are clamoring for more outer space tidbits! Fear not, Ohio has a unique history with the moon, NASA, and astronauts. As many people know, Neil Armstrong was born and raised in Wapakoneta Ohio, many images of his life before and after the famous moon landing can be found on Ohio Memory.

Armstrong’s early career led him to Purdue University where he studied aeronautical engineering, during which he left to become a pilot in the navy during the Korean War. After the war he returned to complete his degree, by 1966 he was selected to join the NASA Astronaut Corps. He was the first civilian astronaut to fly into space in 1966, on the Gemini 8 mission. However, Armstrong’s most notorious flight did not occur until 1969.

A photo of the launch of Apollo 11 spacecraft from July 16, 1969. Courtesy of the Ohio History Connection. Via Ohio Memory.

The Apollo 11 mission launched on July 16, 1969 from Cape Canaveral, Florida. Four days later on July 20, Armstrong would be the first person ever to step foot on the moon and leave the world in awe as he uttered his most famous quote; “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” The Apollo 11 crew accomplished the goal set for them from the onset of the 1960s by President Kennedy, to walk on the moon. There was plenty of news leading up to the mission, such as the article below from the Amherst times, as well as major news stories as the moon landing aired worldwide. Ohio’s very own Neil Armstrong was being watched by the world.

Page 8 of the Amherst news-times on June 6, 1969, discussing the Apollo 11 mission. Courtesy of Amherst Public Library. Via Ohio Memory.

What you may not know though, is Armstrong is just one of many Ohio astronauts! John Glenn being perhaps the other most famous. Ohio has produced 21 NASA astronauts, 8 of which hail from Cleveland specifically. This may not be too surprising as NASA has its very own research center in Cleveland, the Glenn Research Center, as well as a branch testing center in Sandusky called the Neil Armstrong Test Facility. Both facilities are fittingly named after Ohio’s most famous NASA astronauts, Glenn and Armstrong.

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