Iconic Photos of Neil Armstrong, the First Man on the Moon

Neil Armstrong made history on July 20, 1969, when he became the first man to walk on the moon. “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind,” the commander of the Apollo 11 spaceflight famously uttered as more than half a billion people watched the moment on television.

Armstrong’s life is about to get the Hollywood treatment with the release of First Man, a biopic directed by Oscar-winner Damien Chazelle and starring Ryan Gosling as Armstrong. The movie is sure to spur more interest in the life of the world’s most famous astronaut. Let’s look back at Armstrong’s life, from his years as a naval aviator to the moon landing and beyond.

1. Armstrong’s path to the moon

Neil Armstrong Portrait

Astronaut Neil A. Armstrong poses for a portrait in July 1969. | NASA/Newsmakers

Long before he became an astronaut, Armstrong was enthralled by the idea of flight. The Ohio native, who was born in 1930, took his first airplane ride when he was just six years old and earned a pilot’s license in 1947, when he was 16. When he went away to college at Purdue University, he chose to study aeronautical engineering.

Next: Armstrong joins the war effort

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