Personal tribute to Neil Armstrong from Jean-Jacques Dordain

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Today is a sad day, not only for the family of Neil Armstrong, but also for the entire world. The first steps of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on the Moon are part of the history of humankind, meaning they go beyond the boundaries of space history or American history.

Until 21 July 1969, Neil Armstrong was an American and the Moonlandings were American. But after this day, Neil Armstrong belonged to humanity, just like his predecessor Yuri Gagarin who made us 'discover' our planet Earth.

After this day, the competition between the two great space superpowers in human spaceflight was replaced by cooperation, and today Americans and Russians work together in space with their Japanese, Canadian and European colleagues. And tomorrow I hope (I work towards this end), also with other space ambassadors.

The Moonlanding was a collective effort of the American people, and Neil Armstrong is the premiere symbol for this effort. But Neil Armstrong has gone beyond being a hero, by remaining a man that was sage, discreet and reserved, but always ready to transfer his experience to the young generations.

He has inspired successive generations all around the world, and it is also for this that Neil Armstrong will be always present from generation to generation of countless engineers and scientists.


My encounter with Neil Armstrong remains a magic moment of my life, and I follow the wish of the family of Neil Armstrong to give a wink to the Moon, where his steps are permanently imprinted.

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