Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the Moon, died on Saturday at the age of 82.
"America has lost a true legend," said Texas Governor Rick Perry. "Neil Armstrong was a pioneer and a humble hero for our nation. He touched the moon and, in doing so, inspired generations to reach for the stars. Anita and I send our deepest condolences to the Armstrong family and his legions of admirers around the world."
United States Senator John Cornyn also issued a statement.
"Forty-three years ago, his was the voice that came through loud and clear at Johnson Space Center's Mission Control to alert an anxious nation and the world of man's first steps on the surface of the moon," Corrnyn said. "Neil Armstrong's immortalized words, 'that's one small step for man; one giant leap for mankind,' ushered us into a new era where we believed anything was possible."
Guidry News Service covered the presentation of the 2004 Rotary National Award for Space Achievement to Armstrong on March 11, 2004. Former flight director for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Dr. Christopher C. Kraft, Jr. presented the National Space Trophy to Armstrong. Listen
“Our honoree tonight has spent most of his life dedicating himself to the advancement in the state-of-the-art of flight, most of that time in the service of his country,” Kraft said.
After accepting the award, Armstrong gave his retrospective on the beginning of the Space Age and a challenge for its future. Listen
He said rocket science got off to a slow start after World War II.
“Most people could not see much practical use for a rocket,” Armstrong said. “It didn’t run for very long, had the world’s worst fuel consumption, and seem to be prone on destroying themselves one way or another.”
He recalled the Soviet Union’s early successes in the Space Race.
“The possibility of artificial satellites was really fairly widely discussed within the scientific community, but still it was a great shock to most Americans when in October of 1957 Sputnik sailed across the night sky and people could actually watch it,” Armstrong recalled. “The Space Age had begun and we weren’t part of it.”
However, he also recalled American successes that culminated with the Apollo 11 Mission that put humans on the Moon.
Then Armstrong called for a united effort to move human space flight into the future, despite any risks that are perceived.
“The public at large may well be more risk-adverse than the individuals in our business, but to limit the progress in the name of eliminating risk is no virtue,” he said. “The success of the endeavor will also be dependent on the degree to which the aerospace community, all of us - government, industry and academia, can coalesce their forces and converge on a common goal.”