Neil Armstrong was the first man to walk on the moon. He spent the first 39 years of his life in explosive flying machines before sitting on top of a rocket and being fired at the moon. Neil Armstrong makes Holocaust Survivors look like pussies.
Just The Facts
- Armstrong's position as first man on the moon is more down to chance than decision. It could easily have been an Apollo 10, 12 or 13 astronaut but various factors contributed to it being Apollo 11 and Armstrong who got the honour/incredibly dangerous mission.
- Armstrong was in the Boy Scouts and is so far the only scout to win the elusive "go to the moon" badge.
- While serving as a guest speaker at a business conference in 2003, Armstrong pissed off the delegates by giving a speech on the history of manned flight that didn't once mention his time on the moon. We like to think he does this kind of thing all the time.
Neil Armstrong should have died in Korea
Armstrong served as a pilot during the Korean War. While on a reconnaissance mission in 1951, he was hit by anti-aircraft fire and lost one of the plane's wings but managed to fly it back to the airfield, ejecting at the final moment and surviving the undignified fate of dying in a war nobody remembers or makes films about.
At this time, there was a 23% probability that a career Navy pilot, like Armstrong, would die in an aircraft accident. Of course, you may be thinking that such a pilot could just eject, as Armstrong did in Korea. But then, ejection at the time was so hazardous that, to quote Tom Wolfe, “men lost knees, arms or their lives on the rim of the cockpit or had the skin torn of their face when they hit the wall of air outside.”
If Armstrong hadn’t been so lucky, we might have had some zombie looking fucker taking that giant leap for mankind.
Armstrong flew 78 missions in total in a war that killed 37,000 US servicemen.
Neil Armstrong should have died as a test pilot
After Korea, Armstrong signed up to be test pilot with the organisation that would later become NASA. He spent his time “testing” “experimental” high altitude planes filled with highly explosive rocket fuel and travelling at speeds far greater than the speed of sound.
Life for tests pilots was so risky that many would routinely die. In 1952, at Edwards Air Force, the base Armstrong would later serve at, 62 Air force pilots died in the course of 32 weeks. That’s 1.7 pilots per week. Or as Boeing might put it, 1.7 orders per week.
This was the climate Armstrong flew in. In one case, he had his X-15 rocket plane strapped to a B52 bomber which flew thousands of feet in the air and then (purposely) dropped the X-15, whose engines stubbornly refused to kick in and left Armstrong tumbling through the air and, probably, shitting himself.
Neil Armstrong should have died in space
In 1966 Armstrong and future moonwalker David Scott flew into Earth orbit aboard Gemini 8. Their mission was to practice docking with another vehicle in space, which sounds like a euphemism for Space Sex but was in fact a dangerous, complex manoeuvre that had never been successfully tried before.
After docking, something went wrong and Gemini began to spin out of control. The Astronauts undocked from the other vehicle, which made things worse and they began to experience temporary sight distortion, tumbling over and smacking into one another and coming dangerously close to unconsciousness. At the last moment, Armstrong gained control. They returned to Earth, having failed to dock their craft successfully without withdrawing prematurely, something many a Cracked reader can no doubt empathise with.
Neil Armstrong should have died training to go to the moon
In 1968, Armstrong was aboard what was officially know as the Lunar Landing Research Vehicle and unofficially known as “the flying bedstead”, because it looked like a bed equipped with rocket engines.
It was notoriously hard to handle and sure enough, while flying it, Armstrong lost control while hundreds of feet in the air. He was forced to eject and his parachute opened just in time. Analysis of footage taken at the accident showed that Armstrong was two-fifths of a second away from death.
Neil Armstrong should have died on the moon
Despite the above catalogue of death-traps, Armstrong made it to the moon. But he still had to land on it and come home. Most Astronauts rated the chance of the Apollo 11 crew successfully completing the mission at around 50%, with a 30% chance of them dying. Armstrong himself rated his chances at 50%.
While descending in the Lunar Module onto the surface of the moon, the computer sounded a “1202” alarm. Armstrong had no idea what this meant so he asked Mission Control. Mission Control had no idea what it meant, so they ignored it, like a pop up warning in the taskbar that warns of impending doom but which you ignore because, well, what the fuck is it?
With less fuel than in any of the simulations he’d done and with seconds to spare, Armstrong touched down on the surface.
Once on the moon Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin had to move about with great care, because the Lunar Module was incredibly fragile and its fuel oxidizer was one of the most corrosive surfaces on earth; one tear and the Lunar Module would eat itself, leaving the Astronauts with a few hours left with nothing to do but write a massive “Fuck You” in the moondust.
Mission complete, Armstrong and Aldrin returned to the Lunar Module, whereupon Buzz accidentally broke the ignition for the accent engine, leaving them stranded on the moon. Luckily, he had a pen with him, which he stuck in the slot, jiggled around and which managed to start the engine, returning them to earth and ensuring Armstrong’s reputation as the luckiest bastard in the world.
Neil Armstrong: Giving Death the finger since 1951