NASA has captured the imagination of many a young kid who have dreamt of leaving planet earth and visiting the moon or doing a space walk. Landing men on the moon has been humanity’s biggest achievement and that is the farthest we’ve ever been from home. There have been many courageous pilots from NASA who have dedicated their lives for the sake of science and space exploration. Let’s have a look at top 10 of them.
10. John Watts Young:
John Young is the longest serving astronaut in the history of NASA. He was selected as an astronaut in 1962 and retired in 2004 after 42 years of service and a total of 6 flights into outer space. He was the ninth person to walk on the moon in his mission with the Apollo 16.
9. Alan L. Bean:
Lunar module pilot of Apollo 12 mission, Alan L. Bean was the fourth man to walk on the moon. He’s the only artist to have visited another world and his paintings of the lunar environment are highly valued. He was also part of the 59 day flight of the Skylab Mission II. He’s logged a total of 1,671 hours and 45 minutes in space.
8. Edgar D. Mitchell:
Edgar D. Mitchell was a Navy test pilot before getting his PhD in Aeronautics and Astronautics from MIT and joining NASA as an astronaut in 1966. He was the lunar module pilot on the Apollo 14 mission. He became the sixth man to walk on the surface of the moon. After retiring from NASA he gained notoriety for his work with psychic and paranormal events and UFO’s.
7. Charles “Pete” Conrad:
Pete Conrad was a Navy test pilot before joining the astronaut corps in 1962. He was involved in the Gemini missions and was the commander of the Apollo 12 mission. The mission was launched during a lightening storm and which temporarily knocked out the command module’s power after liftoff. He also flew in the Skylab missions.
6. Alan B. Shepard Jr.:
Alan Shepard became the first American to enter space in 1961 onboard the Freedom 7 spacecraft. He was a test pilot for the navy and is known as a true space pioneer. He went to the moon on the Apollo 14 mission. He is famous for playing golf on the moon and even though he used just one hand, because of moon’s low gravity, he was able to drive farther than any professional golf player can achieve on earth.
5. Dr. Sally Ride:
Dr. Sally Ride, born in 1951, was the first woman astronaut. She became the first American woman to go to space in 1983 onboard the Challenger spacecraft. She earned a bachelor’s degree in physics and one in English and later a masters and PhD in physics.
4. James Lovell Jr.:
James Lovell Jr. was a Navy test pilot and one of the pioneers of space flight along with Alan B. Shepard. He was the backup commander of many space flights and the commander of the Gemini 12 mission. During this flight two manned spacecrafts made a rendezvous for the first time. He held the record for highest space flight time till it was broken by the Skylab flights.
3. John Glenn Jr.:
John Glenn Jr. was a fighter pilot and a test pilot who was one of the first seven Mercury astronauts chosen by America for its space program. In February 1962 he became the first American to orbit the earth. He won the Space Congressional Medal of Honor for his contributions to spaceflight.
2. Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin:
Buzz Aldrin was the second man to land on the moon after Neil Armstrong. Before joining NASA as an astronaut Buzz flew 66 combat missions during the Korean War as a fighter pilot for the Air Force. He got a PhD after that and became an astronaut. He took communion on the lunar surface on the Apollo 11 mission.
1. Neil Armstrong:
Neil Armstrong is the most famous of all astronauts for being the first man to walk on the moon. He was a Navy pilot and engineer and flew combative missions in the Korean War. He joined NASA and was assigned as an astronaut in 1962. He was chosen to be the first man to walk on the moon because of he didn’t have a big ego, he was the commander of the Apollo 11 mission and the door of the lunar module was on his side. Neil is remembered today as much for his accomplishments as for his humility.