Armstrong (2019) Movie Script

This is
astronaut Neil Armstrong,
command pilot for the Apollo
11 moon landing mission.
Columbus explored one New World,
how do you feel about
such comparisons?
First, he wasn't sure
where he was going.
At least he thought
he was going to China
or the Indies
and ended up of course
in a completely new world.
Now I very much hope that
we won't terminate at some place
that we didn't expect to,
some planet that we hadn't
planned to visit.
going to the moon
because it's in the nature
of the human being
to face challenges.
It's by the nature
of his deep inner soul.
We're required
to do these things,
just as salmon swim upstream.
I wouldn't say that
fear is an unknown emotion to us
the work that goes into
the preparation for flight
does everything it can
toward erasing those kinds
of possibilities
and I would say that
as a crew, we among
the three of us,
really have no fear of launching
out on this expedition.
The night before
he went to the Cape,
he said, "I just want
you to know that
we're confident
we're coming back.
But yeah, there is
some risk in this mission."
And he just sort of stated
it, not dramatically at all,
because that wasn't how he was.
"So, okay, good,
see you when you get back."
At six years old,
I was sheltered
from a lot of the dangers,
a lot of the risks,
a lot of the worries.
My Mom carried them all
and she carried them in a way
that I did not know
that she had them.
We did not know that Apollo
11 would make it to the moon,
we only knew that
that was an attempt.
Everything had to work
and it just wasn't likely
that everything was gonna
work out fine,
that there wouldn't be a glitch
somewhere along the line.
Looking back,
we were really very privileged
to have lived in that
thin slice of history,
where we changed how
man looks at himself...
and what he might become.
it sits out there,
the culmination
of somewhere between
25 and 33 billion dollars.
The skills and dedication
of about 300,000 technicians,
the solemn but certainly risk
filled pledge of a President,
some heartbreaking failures
and some stirring successes.
This is
Apollo 10 in Launch Control,
we've passed the six minute mark
in our countdown for Apollo 11,
the flight to land
the first men on the moon
and all is still go as
we monitor our status quo.
I remember getting
onto a little boat
and we watched the
launch from there.
My guess is that this was
in case something went wrong.
T-minus three,
we are go with all elements
for the mission at this time.
Firing commands coming in now,
we are on
the automatic sequence.
We are still go on
Apollo 11 at this time.
I didn't know
it was Neil
until they named him on TV
and I said I know him well!
I didn't know he had
progressed this far.
But here he was in command
of the moon landing.
Hard to believe.
But, if it was anybody,
it was gonna be Armstrong.
Neil Armstrong
from Wapakoneta, Ohio,
he's gotta be the guy.
When did you
last talk to your son?
Yesterday about noon,
we had a nice long talk with him
on various subjects mostly
pertaining to the family.
And the rest of the family
is close at the Cape.
About what you expect.
With all of our technology,
we're having difficulty
getting pictures
from Wapakoneta, Ohio.
We're at my grandparents'
home, Wapakoneta, Ohio.
Neil was born in this house
in the living room
August fifth, 1930.
Couldn't have been better.
Growing up
in a small Midwestern town
with parents of German descent
gave my father
very strong values.
That's where he came from,
those were his roots.
You work hard,
keep your nose clean.
Really that kind of simple.
This is a picture
with Dean, one and a half,
I'm 18 months older
and Neil is three years older.
We called each other
Neil the Peel,
Dean the Bean, June the Prune.
The experts
give 10 to one she can't fly.
Neil was sort of
lost in his own world.
he's set on taking a chance
and there he goes!
We often found
him in the corner
reading his books.
We liked to tease him,
but he accepted it with a big smile.
And that's
the time the experts got fooled.
Good boy, George.
He was interested
in airplanes
from the time he was
a little boy.
His mother bought him a 20 cent
airplane and he built that.
Then from the 20 cent
he went to a 50 center
and he went all the way up.
Pretty soon he was building
them with motor,
flying them and testing them.
I knew what I wanted
to be when I grew up,
I wanted to be
an airplane designer.
I wanted to spend
my life in aviation.
He got
his pilot's license
before he got
his driver's license.
It was more important
to him to be able to fly
than to be able to drive.
The first
time you solo any airplane
is a special day.
The first time ever you solo,
is an exceptionally special day.
There was a great deal
of excitement in my mind
when I got to do
that first flight.
He had turned 17 in August,
he went to college.
He was doing a Navy scholarship.
I couldn't
have been happier
with what I was doing,
Going into engineering.
Two years of study, then into
the Navy, flight training
and then three years
of active duty.
The highly
trained and well equipped
North Korean Army swarmed
across the 38th parallel
to attack unprepared
South Korean defenders.
Caught off guard, they were
all but overwhelmed
until the United Nations
took its historic vote
to intervene.
I got
my wings in August of 1950
so I was then assigned
to a jet fighter squadron.
We immediately prepared
for the Korean action.
I was very young, very green.
Neil was just
another name on a list
when he came to the squadron.
He was quiet and poised
and very confident.
He was unusually quiet,
I would say.
Reserved to himself.
Nobody was concerned
about him at all.
We knew he was a good aviator,
good aviator.
At that time they're
flying the F9F-2, the Panther.
Very honest airplane.
Do everything you wanted it
to do except climb.
Our job was
to support our ground forces,
in our case mostly the Marines.
We learned flak suppression
and how to knock down
the bridges and the railroads.
You understand that there's
gonna be casualties when you go,
so you've probably made
most of that adjustment
in your mind ahead of time.
Many younger
people are uncomfortable
with the idea of death.
I shared that uneasiness.
Dear folks, we had a
terrible accident aboard our ship.
Four were killed
and five missing.
Approximately 15 others
were badly burned.
I knew well four
of the nine dead
and five of the injured.
It was a tragedy.
Took me a long time
to get over it.
I wouldn't say we
weren't scared because we were,
but your training takes over.
That gets you through
the sticky parts.
Dear folks, there's
a lot of war to go yet.
Last Monday, September third,
while on armed reconnaissance
I was hit by enemy
anti-aircraft fire.
I was diving on
a target at the time,
and narrowly averted
hitting the ground,
but hit some electric lines.
Shaving off about five feet
of the Starboard wing.
I was able to nurse
the aircraft back across
to friendly territory
where I bailed out.
No other news right now,
same old Neil.
He was just one
of the boys
until that incident
and when we started evaluating
his decision making and his
skill in flying that airplane
to where he did, that made
him kind of head and shoulders
above the rest.
I value those
experiences very highly,
because you build
a lot of character,
and you build a lot of backbone
and you're a better person
for having learned
to endure that situation
and those risks.
T-minus one
minute and counting,
we've passed T-minus 60.
55 seconds and counting.
We launched
and we pulled it back
when we received the good
thank you very much.
We know it will be
a good flight.
Good luck and Godspeed.
T-minus 15
seconds, guidance is internal.
Saturn V launch
is so sensory overload.
No video system
or audio system I've ever heard
captures the way
that really sounds.
Sort of the cracking
of the exhaust going up.
It's almost like
you're being shaken,
but you're not moving, right?
So it's a very odd thing, but
it's, it's incredibly powerful
and something
that I will never forget.
The Saturn V
was a 3,000 ton machine
with an energy more than that
to lift you off the pad.
It felt like a train on
a bad railroad track,
shaking in every direction.
And it was loud, really loud.
It was an honest to God
go to the moon machine.
The thing
that I remember is the exhaust
obscured the initial
movement of the rocket.
You're like okay,
you know, where is it?
I didn't perhaps realize
how slow that Saturn V,
you know, sort of
lumbers off the pad.
Finally we could start
to see the top of the rocket
peer up above the clouds,
it was like, okay.
This is Houston,
you are go for.
This is the beginning of the
most audacious undertaking
that man has ever attempted.
We'll be back in just a moment.
My time
in Korea expired
and I thought it was
important to go back
and finish my education.
When I went back to university,
the kids looked so young.
I met him at Purdue,
he was a freshman.
He didn't like
to talk about much.
And he never did talk
about much,
but what he did say
was seemed to be meaningful.
I just thought
he was honest,
very good looking, very funny.
After that evening he went
home and told somebody
that I was the one
he was going to marry.
But he never asked me out
until he got out of school.
And he came up to visit me
on his way to Edwards.
Air Force Base
in the Mojave Desert
in California.
This is where test flights
of all high speed
research aircraft
have taken place.
Being assigned
to Edwards Air Force Base
was I think the goal
of every pilot
and certainly anyone
who thought about
ever being a test pilot.
This was one
of the most exciting places
to work in the world
at that time.
Dozens and dozens of new concepts,
configurations and tests.
Something new to talk
about every day.
At Edwards, more and more
technology was being introduced.
So there was
this crossover between
flying an airplane manually,
the old stick and rudder days,
and managing a sophisticated
system in the air.
So it was a challenging period.
It was
a dangerous business.
Everybody knew it,
and those of us that survived
I don't think dwelled much on
the failures, on the deaths.
We were married in 1956.
January 1956.
After that, we went
up to the desert.
Bought a house up there.
It was a cabin that we bought.
A cabin that only had
a fireplace for heat.
Neil was trying to work
on that and improve it.
And they had Ricky.
He was a good kid.
He still is.
We moved when I was five.
So I do remember it
although I tend to remember
just little snippets
or almost like still pictures
of it rather than longer scenes.
I remember walking on
a path to a neighbor's house
and a big rattlesnake
went right across
and I just kind of jumped
over it and kept going.
When Karen was born,
she was the sweetest thing
in the whole wide world.
He called her Muffy
right away.
He absolutely loved that girl
and he paid all
of his attention to her
like there was nobody else.
Karen was
a precious thing
and she was Rick's best friend.
In order to keep track
of the children
I would put cowbells
on their back
and tie them so when
they walked they would clank
and that way I could hear
them above the roaring wind.
What a life that was.
They were both very happy
in those times,
those were good times.
Moscow newspapers were first,
then headlines around
the world echoed the news,
Russia had blasted a man-made
moon into outer space.
On every continent
and in every land,
the story of Sputnik 1
dominated the front pages.
When Sputnik, the Russian
satellite, orbited the Earth,
it was a shocking moment
for the world, I suppose,
but certainly
for the United States.
Can you drop the
atomic bomb from a satellite?
What can they do from that
thing that we can't do now,
because we don't have
any space vehicles?
That's where it started.
On April 12th, 1961,
Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin
flew once
around the world in 89 minutes.
On April 14th,
President Kennedy called NASA
into the White House.
"Is there any place
we can catch them?
What can we do?
Can we put a man
on the moon before them?"
At Edwards
in the early 60's
there was the transition
into space flight
and Neil was
on the forefront of that.
Neil flew the X-15.
Everybody admired everybody
that flew the X-15.
That was one
of the ultimate goals.
If you could get in that program,
that was the best, right.
The X-15 was
a little airplane
powered by a big rocket.
Dropped from the wing
of a B-52 bomber,
its rocket would burn
for a minute and a half,
accelerate to about Mach 6,
coast up to 60 miles altitude,
then glide to a landing.
Took you high enough,
we were flying into space,
and more importantly
we were learning how to fly
back into the atmosphere.
I'm not sure who was
the best pilot of the X-15.
There were seven, eight of them,
they were all very good.
But Neil I think had
a better concept
of how and why the machine was
put together
and how it should be tested.
Therein is an area
that I think Neil
filled a very unique slot.
Neil was a hell of an engineer.
A pretty good pilot too.
This particular
flight we went to somewhat
about 200,000 feet.
pretty good at 250.
In the process
I got the nose up
above the horizon.
I tried to push down,
but discovered I had
no aerodynamic controls.
It was actually skipping
outside the atmosphere.
It wasn't going down
because there was no air
to bite into.
It's like being on
a very fast horse
and riding it at full speed.
You've got to be
looking out way ahead
where the fences are,
where the rocks are
and start to avoid them early.
You can't wait till
the last minute
and then jerk on a range.
I just had
to wait until I got enough air
to have aerodynamic control
and some lift on the wings,
and immediately started
to make a turn back.
Beginning to turn in.
Got plenty of room.
- Take it easy, would you.
- You got it.
You have to hold it
steady and you're settled right there.
Neil could do
things like that.
His credentials of performing
under stress were clearly there.
That was Neil,
did a magnificent job.
But I've got to say that
he was not the type of person
who would run out and say, "Look
at me, I'm Neil Armstrong."
Neil was the kind of person
you just wanted to like.
When Neil was
still working at Edwards,
Karen developed
a tumor in her brain
under the age of three.
I knew something
was wrong with her
because she had balance troubles
and I think I told my mom,
"Yeah, she's having
a hard time walking again."
But I couldn't put
that together with the disease.
The tumor grew
very, very fast.
We tried radiation.
All through
her radiation,
she smiled
and never complained once.
Never, never, never once.
She was a gift to both of them.
She died on
their wedding anniversary.
Neil missed her dearly.
I thought
the best thing for me to do
in that situation was
to continue with my work.
Keep things as normal as I could
and try as hard as I could not
to have it affect
my ability to do useful things.
I was doing the best I could.
After Karen died,
I was ready to go anywhere.
I thought a change
would be good.
There was
this project down in Houston,
the Apollo program.
They didn't really know
what to test for exactly,
so they did everything.
They didn't miss
anything as far as I knew.
They did every test
known to man.
Neil finally decided that
he would try for this program
and he got accepted.
When we moved to Houston,
I was pregnant with Mark.
Mark was born. Yippee, Mark!
He's so totally different
from Rick, you know.
They're two opposites.
The neighborhood
in Houston,
there wasn't much of a
neighborhood, it was all trees.
It hadn't even been
made into a street yet.
Ed White and I
bought some property together
and split it.
I built my house
on one half of it,
and he built his house
on the other.
We were good friends, neighbors.
All the people
in the neighborhood
had someone that worked for NASA
in one respect or another.
That whole community was
very self-supporting.
Everyone was in it together.
How I would characterize Neil,
he was quiet, introspective,
much more interested
in the details of things
than I ever was.
You look at a watch,
Neil wants to know how it runs
and I want to know
what time it said.
Neil lived in a shell
and in order to get Neil
out of his shell you had
to introduce a subject
that he was interested in
and you had to convince him
that you knew something
about that subject.
And if you pass that test
and he'd pop out of his shell,
big smile on his face
and be your best buddy.
He listened a lot.
And when he spoke,
he didn't use a lot of words,
but it was very clear that he
had thought through something
and had come to a conclusion.
I was
so pleased to be
associated with the program.
The goals, I thought, were
important to society in general
and I would've been
happy doing anything
they asked me to do.
Before men
ever stand on the moon,
many technical hurdles
must be overcome.
The steps remaining parallel
the steps undertaken
in the development of aviation.
Project Mercury put us through
the Kitty Hawk stage in space.
Our second step, Project Gemini.
I'd been CAPCOM
on Gemini 5.
They just splashed out.
My boss came up and said, "I'd
like you to start working
with Neil as prime on Gemini 8."
I thought, "Really, really?"
He said he's waiting for you
in his office, go see him.
So I went over
and there was Neil, big smile
as he always had, you know?
Okay, so here we go, let me
tell you what we're gonna do.
We were in a race,
and it was very evident
to us all the time.
You wanted not to be
diverting your attention
in any way to things you really
didn't need to worry about.
You could stand across
the street
and you could not tell
when quitting time was.
People didn't leave
at quitting time.
Fourteen hours a day,
six and a half days a week,
it was just insane.
Dad was training a lot.
He was not home very often.
My mother was very much
of an unsung hero.
And Dad not being the most
verbose person you ever met,
he had been guilty of not
being very communicative.
So she wasn't always
well informed
about where Dad was going,
what he was doing.
That just left mom
to figure things out on her own,
and I think she did that,
she did it very, very well,
and she did it
without complaint.
The objective of Gemini 8
was to rendezvous
and dock with the first target
vehicle anybody would have,
the Agena for the first time.
People didn't know whether
rendezvous would work or not.
Once we got docked,
I would do an EVA,
I was going to walk
around the world,
I had a 90 minute EVA,
and then a controlled re-entry
so it was our job to put
all these pieces together
in a full spectrum
of space flight.
We had a squat box in the
house installed for the mission
so you could hear Mission
Control communications
all the time rather
than just what might be on TV.
Phase two
pre-valves coming open,
five seconds.
T-minus 20 seconds, mark.
Five, four,
three, two, one, ignition.
- Roger
- Fuel pressure running a little high.
- Roger.
- Roger, understand.
How's it looking, guys?
looking good, flight.
The launch was great,
the second stage was
all in the mail,
and then you're going
through the rendezvous,
seeing the Agena,
just actually spectacular,
spectacular view.
That's beautiful!
And that's
great, way to go, partner.
You done it, boy,
you done a good job.
Do the thing.
OK, Gemini 8,
you're looking good on
the ground, go ahead and dock.
Neil did the docking,
smooth as you would expect.
To flight, we are docked.
Shortly after I looked over
and saw Neil's eight ball,
the altitude horizon
was in a 30 degree bank.
There was no horizon
out the window.
I said, "Neil, we're in a bank."
And he looked out
and he said, "We are in a bank."
- On a flight CSQ.
- Go ahead.
The Agena is
tumbling violently at this time.
On the Gemini 8
CSQ, com check out, do you read?
Neil says, "Turn
the Agena off", which I did.
He turned on the Gemini
and then everything stabilized
for about four, five minutes,
and then it started to turn,
started to roll again.
When the rates
became quite violent,
it was a bit dicey.
They say Murphy's law
says bad things happen
as the worst possible time.
And in this case,
we were out of radio contact.
We got down to about
13 percent propeller
and decided we have
to get off of the Agena.
I hit the undock switch.
And when we pulled off
the Agena,
we found out the problem
was not the Agena,
it was the Gemini.
And then we started
a very rapid roll rate.
I have to check the spacecraft
Things were just awful.
They were spinning at maybe
a revolution per second,
and there was
a very strong concern
that they would black out.
And that would be it,
he would be over.
I wonder
if there's any chance
of something like
that happening.
I don't know.
At that point, Mission Control
turned the squawk box off.
We're trying
to check all that out now,
we're trying to get some.
Mission Control did not
know what was happening,
and they didn't want
to expose a tragedy
without being able
to manage the situation.
That was something that my
mother was not happy about.
She wasn't happy about that
and she went over
to Mission Control
to find out what was going on.
And I was refused entry.
I would not have wanted
to been the one
to tell her
that she couldn't come in.
That wouldn't have
gone well for them.
We got down
to no other options
and Neil finally said,
"We gotta activate the RCS."
Now the RCS was a small
re-entry control system
in the nose of the spacecraft.
Once you activate that
system, that's your last gas.
If you lose it, you can't
get back into the atmosphere.
He probably deduced that,
"This is all I can do,
is try this and see
if it works."
He had to reach up
to an overhead panel
to get a hold of switches.
That's amazing physiologically
that in this high speed roll
he could turn his head up
and get the right switches,
which he did
and he stopped the roll.
We do have
the spacecraft under control
at the present time, we're
in slowly drifting flight.
At that time, they
could see on the monitor
that he had activated
the re-entry control system.
So almost immediately we knew
we were going to have
to get them down quickly.
Okay, you're
sending all of that in ASAP?
- Affirmative.
- Okay, let's expedite.
CAPCOM Houston
flight, we are primed for air to ground.
Roger. Go.
I took
great pride in landing
close to the aircraft carrier
that was awaiting us.
My carrier was located
in the Caribbean.
I landed near Okinawa.
That's the furthest
anyone's ever missed.
I don't expect that
record to be broken.
Some of the people were
second guessing Neil
about his performance.
I never did, I thought
he did a good job.
There's a lot of that among
very competitive people.
Neil's action
I think saved the mission.
It upped my view of
Neil at that point.
You knew he had the right stuff.
Stayed calm,
didn't get excited.
That's what we were looking
for in the first place
for using test pilots.
A guy that was used to putting
his life on the line
every time he flew.
There are
a lot of people here,
most of them seem
to be my family.
You're my people and I'm
proud to be one of you.
They could've lost
their life.
There was no point
in talking about it,
you either do or you don't.
That's the way it is, you know.
This spacecraft you're
going to ride on
is to a certain extent untried.
You approach it
with any apprehension
as compared to the Gemini
which had been flown before?
There's a great deal
of pride involved
in making a first flight.
So I think I'm
looking forward to the flight
with a great deal
of anticipation.
It was
all over in one stunned
horrifying second.
At T-minus 10 minutes
in a simulated countdown,
an electrical spark
apparently shot out
and ignited the 100 percent
oxygen in the cabin.
Horrified engineers watched
the burst of flames and smoke
envelop Grissom,
White and Chaffee.
They heard their last words
of shock and surprise.
The crewmen never had a chance.
It was terrible.
I could hear his voice
in that thing.
You could hear, I could
hear all three of them.
They didn't last
very long either,
they only lasted
10 or 15 seconds.
It was a very depressing sight,
everything was burned
and gray and melted.
It was a disaster.
The management were
running, running to get to the moon,
and I think they were
willing to take some chances,
and I think that had
they been thinking properly,
they wouldn't have taken them.
Some very
traumatic times.
I suppose you're
much more likely
to accept the loss
of a friend in flight,
but it really hurt to lose
them in a ground test.
That was an indictment
of ourselves.
There was never
any commotion about it
like there would be today.
So you mourn, but briefly
and then get on with the job.
It took the fire
to rebuild the vehicle
and I think that was
the secret to Apollo.
Without it, it just
wouldn't have happened.
I don't think we would've
gotten to the moon.
The Apollo missions
came close enough together
that we were in this constant
one more step, one more step.
Then, when 11 came along,
it all seemed different.
You know, this time,
we are really gonna go land.
There were 30 people
vying to be
the first man on the moon.
I think they could've
all done the job,
no question in my mind about it.
It was Deke Slayton
who was responsible
for crew scheduling,
had developed a program where
if you were backup
for one flight,
then three flights later
you became the prime.
They all say there was
a rotation method in it.
Well if it was, it was
a hard one to understand.
One seat and in it was
a fellow named Neil Armstrong.
Now why was that?
What were the reasons
that he was the one
and the others were rejected?
If you take the short view,
it is that he was probably
the best qualified.
He had been a combat
pilot during Korea,
he proved his mettle there.
He was flying the X-15 and
that put him above and beyond
all the rest of the candidates.
If you want to take
a longer view
then you want to consider,
what was he gonna be
like after the flight?
That was equally important.
He wasn't gonna go out
and drink too much,
make a fool of himself.
He was a straight arrow.
A lot of people criticize Neil
because he didn't, quote, "get
out and sell the program."
But I think he was much more
effective in his quiet way.
Did I have anything
to do with Neil
being the first man on the moon?
Yes, I did it.
Deke Slayton said, "Aldrin
is gonna be the first guy
on the moon."
Up here says,
"We don't want Aldrin
the first guy on the moon."
I just felt like Buzz was
not the right personality
and would not be
the best representative
for the United States.
I thought Neil would do better.
I didn't dislike Aldrin.
Didn't like him either.
We all had weaknesses.
I haven't met that guy yet.
I didn't know Jesus.
We were
a congenial bunch,
but really focused on the job.
Buzz and I had both
flown in Korea
and his flying skills
I was sure were good.
His intelligence was high,
he was a creative thinker,
and he was willing
to make suggestions.
I'm not sure I recognized
at that point in time
what might be considered
Mike Collins was
a joy to work with.
Able, cheerful and relaxed.
He'd be the sole occupant
of the command module
whilst we descended
to the moon surface.
We were working
night and day.
We felt the whole weight
of the world on our shoulders,
everybody was looking at us.
There were some
things that were done
specifically for the benefit
of giving the press
the opportunity
to either talk with us,
or take pictures of our
activities in preparation.
We probably resented
that to some extent.
How would you
describe your attitude
just before flight?
- I certainly wouldn't...
- Not to draw straws.
I was asked
by the bosses,
"Do you think you
and the guys are ready?"
And I had to say, "Well,
it would be nice
to have another month,
but we were in a race here
and I had to say, "We're ready,
we're ready to go."
This is Apollo Control
at 102 hours, 12 minutes
into the flight of Apollo 11.
We're now 21 minutes, 23 seconds
from the beginning
of the powered descent
to the lunar surface.
As we approached
the landing, mom woke me up.
So I was little,
probably groggy eyed.
But it was all fun and no worry
from my six year old
point of view.
I was more
than just a little amazed.
Amazed not only because of
the unlikely chain of events
and quirks of fate that had put
an Ohio farm boy
in that remarkable position,
but amazed even more
because everything was working.
Eagle, Houston. If you read,
you're go for
powered descent, over.
Five by,
Eagle, we're standing by,
for your burn report, over.
Houston, we've lost Eagle again.
They lit the engine and
the wheels came off of the thing.
We started having
communication drop outs,
landing radar problems,
we were off trajectory
so we were gonna land short.
Our position checks downrange
show us to be a little long.
Roger, copy.
And, Eagle, Houston,
we've got data dropout.
We couldn't understand
why this was happening.
Program alarm.
1202, 1202.
Roger, copy.
In Mission Control
it got very, very quiet.
always concerned
when any kind of alarm comes on.
I didn't understand the nature
of this particular alarm.
The computer had
a lot of complaints,
but my own feeling was
as long as the engine
was operating right,
I had control.
I would be in favor
of continuing
no matter what the computer
was complaining about.
- 1202 alarm.
- It's executive overflow.
If it does not occur
again, we're fine.
We're going.
We're going that alarm.
When Neil pitched over
and he said, "Hey,
we got a bunch of rocks out
there, we can't land here",
that was potentially
the end if he couldn't find
a place to land.
The autopilot
was taking us in towards
a very large crater about the
size of a big football stadium
with steep slopes
covered with large rocks
about the size of automobiles.
Not a good place to land at all,
so I took over manually
and flew it like a helicopter
out to the west.
I just remember
them saying,
"Yeah, he's off flying it
himself for some reason."
And they were asking,
"Can anybody tell us
where this thing is?"
He was moving
across the lunar surface
at pretty great speed.
We kept hearing the fuel
call outs and that was
grabbing all of our attention.
We knew
he should be landing.
We knew how much
fuel we do have,
we were timing it on the ground.
going through your mind,
he's gonna run out of petrol.
That's what's going
through your mind.
60 seconds.
He had 60 seconds to
land or we would call an abort.
Then I called 30 seconds.
We're out of fuel.
Roger that. Anybody?
Tension was increasing,
literally holding our breath,
are we gonna make it?
Four forward,
drifting to the right a little,
okay, down a half.
Buzz said, "We're
picking up some dust."
I can remember thinking,
"My God, we're there,
we are blowing dust off
the surface of the moon."
I heard "contact" and then
there was a pregnant pause.
Tranquility Base here.
The eagle has landed.
It was the same old Neil,
just calm as you can imagine,
you know, unflappable.
I don't see how
he did that so calmly
because I was shouting it out.
We copy you down, Eagle.
You got a
bunch of guys about to turn blue,
we're breathing again.
It was just a
celebration, we pulled it off,
we actually did it.
We made it.
The thought finally
reached my consciousness.
I clasped the bulky glove
of Buzz Aldrin on my right.
The silent handshake was the
only congratulations necessary.
How did it feel
at the moment of touchdown?
Oh it was exciting,
just a marvelous thing
that we have successfully
managed to land safely
on the moon.
Did Neil carry
anything for you to the moon?
Yes, but that's private.
not gonna tell us?
Okay Neil, we can see you
coming down the ladder now.
When Neil stepped out,
that's when you could
really hear a pin drop
because people were
trying to listen
to everything that was going on.
I'm at the foot of the ladder.
The surface appears
to be very, very fine grained
as you get close to it.
It's almost like a powder.
I'm gonna step off the LM now.
Just the thought of the
first step of a human being
on another heavenly body was
to me personally overwhelming.
Nobody knew
he would say anything,
I mean there was no big plan
for him to do anything,
and then he came up
with the right words as usual.
That's one small
step for man,
one giant leap for mankind.
The thing that I remember
about the first step
was that nobody heard the first
words in our living room.
That's kind of,
"What'd you say?"
Something about one
small step, you know.
Man, where'd he get that from?
That was perfect!
I thought
well, when I step off
I'm just gonna be
making a little step
from there down to there.
But when I thought about
all those 400,000 people
that had given me the
opportunity to make that step
I thought it's gonna be a big
something for all those folks
and indeed a lot of others
who weren't even involved
with the project.
So it was kind of a simple
correlation of thoughts.
I think he said it pretty
well, don't you?
It was special and memorable,
but we weren't there
to meditate.
We were there
to get things done,
so we got on with it.
There were a lot of
proposals for what to do
on the lunar surface
by different people.
Some people thought
a UN flag should be there,
and some people thought
there should be flags
of a lot of nations.
My job was to get
the flag there.
I was less concerned
about whether it was
the right artifact to place.
I let other wiser
minds than mine
make those kinds of decisions.
We were watching it
in our living room
and the fascinating thing was
how each of the three
generations reacted.
My wife and I,
of course were overwhelmed
with the achievement.
My Dad was speechless.
Having been born in
1893 when there were
no automobiles
or buggies or anything.
To see this, he could
hardly comprehend it.
My two teenagers were sort of,
"Yeah, I think maybe I saw
this on a TV show last week."
- Beautiful view.
- Isn't that something!
Magnificent sight out here.
I was with the President
during the landing
in the White House.
You know that could've
been a disaster for him
if something
would've gone wrong,
who would've got the blame?
I tried to tell him that,
and I also tried to keep him from
taking too much credit
because he didn't deserve
either the credit or the blame.
Hello Neil and Buzz,
this certainly has to be
the most historic
telephone call ever made.
For one priceless moment
in the whole history of man
all the people
on this Earth are truly one.
Thank you, Mr. President.
It's a great honor
and privilege for us to be here
representing not only
the United States,
but all nations
and a vision for the future.
It's marvelous.
I know!
Being closer to the moon
makes us realize
that we are
all human beings together.
I hope this brings unity.
I thought
the world got closer today,
I felt we all got to know
each other that much more.
Good thing for all
people, for all the world.
Everyone thought
they were united.
They were united at that time,
it was extremely exhilarating.
This is the greatest
event in all the history
of the human race.
Today is New Year's Day
of the year one.
The whole thing was one
of great exhilaration
and pride about what
we were accomplishing,
what he was accomplishing,
what the country was
what mankind was accomplishing.
Apollo 11 was kind of
like crossing the goal
in a football game.
The rest of our flights had
helped to advance the goal,
but Neil and his crew
were the ones that scored.
You know what he told me?
"Seeing the Earth
in the background was it.
That's what I remember
more than anything."
To stand on
the surface of the moon
and look at the Earth
high overhead
is certainly
a unique experience.
Although very beautiful,
it is very remote.
An oasis or an island,
but it is the only island
that we know of
that is suitable for man.
The importance of protecting
and saving that home
has never been felt
more strongly.
Protection is required, however
not from foreign aggressors
or natural calamity, but
from its own population.
What a moment.
We had all been working
on it for so long
and then there it was.
But in the back of our mind
we were thinking about
getting them home
and get them off of there.
Base, Houston.
- Roger, go ahead.
- You're cleared for takeoff.
Roger, understand.
We're number one on the runway.
The eagle
is back in orbit
having left Tranquility Base.
Roger, we copy,
the whole world is proud of you.
To all those Americans
who built those spacecraft,
and put their, their hearts
and all their abilities
into those crafts.
To those people, tonight,
we give a special thank you.
It was sort of all about
the team, not the individual.
Not what he did, but everybody.
July 24th,
dawn, in the Pacific,
Apollo blazes across
the heavens,
coming back to Earth
at 25,000 miles an hour.
We did New York,
Chicago and L.A. all in one day.
It was fabulous, like nothing
I'd ever seen before.
The streets were just jammed.
I mean, It was 50,
60 people deep.
Everybody was pushing
and shoving
and trying to get
your attention.
It was kind of crazy.
The amount of ticker tape
was filling up the car.
You don't have any preparation
for that experience.
This was the beginning.
It's the beginning of it all.
But there was nothing
you could do,
I mean these people were
just happy to see you.
It came immediate,
more than rock stars even.
They were world heroes.
And all three of them
were not attention seekers
at that point.
How do you propose
to restore some normalcy
to your private lives
in the years ahead?
I wish I knew the answer
to the latter part
of your question.
Kind of depends on you.
Neil didn't like the
exposure that he saw coming.
He did a real good job at it,
doing the world tour
and everything like that.
Everywhere we went,
our spokesman was Neil.
Poor guy had to make
the speeches.
This is
the beginning of a new era.
When man understands
the universe around him
and the beginning of the era
when man understands himself.
He did
what he had to do.
And whenever he had to do it,
he was gonna do it well,
but he might not like it,
and so that was Neil.
Some of the activities
he performed
through a feeling of obligation
that was part of his job.
He's probably the best
person of all of us
to have been
the first man on the moon
because of the way
he handled it.
I mean I don't know if I could
ever take on that load
and the fact that he's first,
everybody wants Neil Armstrong.
We'd like to know when
you're gonna take
the first woman to the moon?
We welcome you with open arms.
The amount
of requests for him
to come here,
do this, speak, show up,
write a letter
of recommendation.
People would write letters,
Neil Armstrong, USA,
and he would get them.
I certainly became
aware of the stresses
after the flight of Apollo 11,
with news crews and folks
essentially camped out
in our front yard.
At that point you
could start to see
a little bit of frustration
with just being able
to function normally.
You start scratching
your head and you say,
"Oh, gee whiz,
what do we do now?"
Thank God social media
didn't exist back then.
At that point,
we moved to Ohio.
The decision
to move was very intentional
to try to simplify our lives.
He just wanted
to be a regular guy
just like everybody else,
and he could, he was like that.
The media at that time
labeled my father as a recluse,
and it's just nothing could
be further from the truth.
He got a bad
rap from the press.
He just didn't like
the publicity.
He wasn't comfortable
taking credit
for something that
belonged to so many people.
I just don't
deserve celebrity.
I wasn't chosen to be first,
I was just chosen
to command that flight.
Circumstance put me in
that particular role.
It wasn't planned by anyone.
Everybody is pretty
numb about space by now
and I think nobody cares at all.
These space shuttles
have been too exclusively
scientific in their orientation
and I think the average
man in America
feels that space is just
a great waste of money
because he doesn't feel
any part of it.
Five years later,
Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins
are out of the space program
and very different men.
Mike Collins, now 43, briefly
tried a State Department
public affairs job,
found it impossible,
and now heads the Smithsonian
Air and Space Museum.
Buzz Aldrin, now 44,
suffers from bouts of depression
and blames NASA
for the Boy Scout fishbowl lies
they were forced to live.
Armstrong will be 44 next month,
is now professor
of aeronautical engineering
at the University of Cincinnati.
Still his own man,
Neil lives within himself
and shies away from
the press and public.
After we moved to Lebanon
we got to spend more
time together,
we were able to do the things
that maybe we didn't
get a chance to do
when I was younger.
We spent a lot of time
together around golf.
He loved golf.
And he wasn't a great
player, but he loved it.
As I got to know him,
our friendship developed,
we genuinely enjoyed one
another's company,
certainly on the golf course
but socially as well.
That I think then lead me
to an ostentatious
thought on my part.
I wonder if he would be
interested in joining
my corporate board.
Most people I invited,
all really,
they'd say yes immediately.
I spent almost two hours
with Neil in his office.
He wanted to be sure,
number one,
that I wasn't using him.
Also, he wanted
to know why I thought
he'd be a good board member.
So answering those two
questions to his satisfaction
took some time.
Neil became a spectacular
board member,
asked all the hard questions.
In fact, I remember
one board meeting
he asked a particularly
hard question
and I couldn't help it,
I said,
"Who the hell invited you
to get on this board
in the first place",
and we all laughed.
He said, "You know who did."
Not surprisingly, Neil went
on several other boards,
United and Learjet among them.
He was even the founder
of a Lloyds of London
insurance business
aptly named Apollo.
Put that in the can.
Good roll program confirmed.
Challenger now
heading down range.
Engines at 65 percent,
three engines running normally.
Three good fuel cells,
three good APU's.
Challenger, go at throttle up.
Roger, go at throttle up.
- Flight, FIDO.
- Go ahead.
reports vehicle exploded.
Just as things
are settling down,
President Reagan asked my father
to be involved
in the investigation committee
for the Challenger tragedy.
The space program was
at risk at that point
and he just didn't feel
like he could say no.
And that took him right
back into workaholic mode.
Neil spent
an enormous amount of time
on the Challenger accident.
He was very key
in a situation like that.
And I want to pay particular
tribute and credit to Neil Armstrong
because he's done a great job.
He did so much of
the engineering aspects of it.
That was a year
of being away from home,
and I think that was very
difficult for my mother.
I think he just had
his priorities
and it depended on where you
were on that priority list.
And the truth was,
I was pretty low.
My father felt like
there were things
he just couldn't say no to,
and my mother felt like
she really wanted him
to spend more time with her
and with the family.
He said he would change.
He'd had 38 years to change,
and I just didn't see
that it would happen.
We attempted counseling
and see if we could
help him save it
but we were way over our heads.
We'd been living
separate lives for years.
I just finally decided
to make it final and I did.
And it was
the right thing to do,
but it was difficult
for the boys.
The one thing
I regret is that my work
required an enormous
amount of my time
and a lot of travel.
I didn't get to spend the amount
of time with my family
I would've liked.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Neil Armstrong,
the first to plant his foot
on the surface of the moon
has been a pioneer in many ways.
Mr. Armstrong, in asking
you to come to the podium,
may I say that millions
of Americans have admired you
not only for your achievement
but for the quiet
dignity with which
you have conducted
yourself and represented
not only our country,
but humankind.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Neil Armstrong.
I kind of lost touch
with him for some time.
But then toward, starting around
2000 or somewhere in there,
he got more available.
Fellow astronauts,
ladies and gentlemen.
He was kind
of back amongst us.
He had served his time
and kind of had gotten
a little bit, maybe not
so full of pressure.
Wilbur Wright once noted
that the only bird
that could talk was the parrot,
and he didn't fly very well.
So I'll be brief.
It was very nice,
very pleasant to see Neil
enjoying himself.
I got a feeling
that Neil really felt
like he was in the right
place at the right time,
and he was enjoying
what he was doing there.
You want to make a mark.
You'd like to leave
the world a little better
than when you came,
that's my goal.
He said he would change
and I think he did,
but it wasn't through me that
that happened.
I'm happy that he married Carol.
I have no ax to grind at all.
History is a sequence
of random events
and unpredictable choices,
which is why the future is
so difficult to foresee.
Open heart surgery I
think is always a cause for concern.
You're not frighten,
you're anxious for it
to be over with, you know.
Mark called me
and he said,
"Aunt June, if you're coming,
you have to come now.
Neil's dying."
I was in there with him
and I said this is your sister.
He squeezed my hand.
He knew.
It was a tragic thing.
He was a good guy.
We have lost
an American icon.
Neil Armstrong had heart
surgery earlier this month
just days after his
82nd birthday,
his wife reportedly
telling friends
he was doing well
with his recovery.
The passing today
of a true American hero
carrying a pioneering
spirit right into space.
I was honored
to be one of the eulogists
at his memorial service.
Let me read the last
paragraph of it,
because I can't say
it any better.
"Let me close with this,
Neil's historic statement
from the surface of the moon
said that it was one
small step for a man,
one giant leap for mankind.
Well it may have been
a small step,
but it was taken
by a giant of a man.
He was that rarest of men.
One who simply did what
he believed was right,
nothing more,
nothing less, every time."
He knew who he was
and he knew what he wanted to do
and he knew how to go after it,
and I think he did just that.
Everybody's proud
of what he's accomplished.
Could I have done that?
I'm certain
I could've done that,
that's who we are.
He was a wonderful
representative of the United States,
and beyond that he was
a wonderful human being.
I liked his humility.
You see him on an airplane
you'd never realize
this guy was even a pilot.
Obviously he was
a great stick and rudder pilot
and he'll be remembered
in aviation
and even space circles for that,
but it's the more
intellectual side of him
and the fact that he was
able to mix it all together
and produce
this beautiful blossom.
Neil was a super
guy, he was a class guy,
and I loved him.
I am and ever will be
a white socks pocket
protector, nerdy engineer,
born under the second
law of thermodynamics,
steeped in steam tables,
in love with free body diagrams,
transformed by lab-las and
propelled by compressible flow.
God bless you,
goodnight from Apollo 11.