On July 20, 1969, the world watched as Neil Armstrong took a giant leap for mankind and became the first human to walk on the moon. The spacecraft Apollo 11 prepared to launch a crew of three astronauts into space: Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins. The mission was simple: to land on the moon, walk on its surface for a short time, and then return home. But it was also an incredibly risky endeavor, as no one knew for sure if it was possible to land on the moon and return home safely.
It was an incredible achievement, one that has since been commemorated in history books and documentaries around the world. But what few people know is that behind every great man is an even greater woman. As it turns out, Neil Armstrong’s wife Janet was just as instrumental in the space mission as her husband – and in some ways, she may have been even more determined to see it through. Here are some of the most interesting facts about Janet Armstrong and her role in one of the greatest accomplishments of our time.
Janet Armstrong was born Janet Shearon on May 5, 1930, in a small town in Illinois. She met Neil Armstrong in 1948 while they were both students at Purdue University. The two quickly fell in love and were married just two years later.
From the very beginning, Janet was supportive of Neil’s dream to become an astronaut. In 1961, when Neil was selected to be a part of NASA’s first group of astronauts, Janet packed up their belongings and moved the family to Houston so that he could be closer to work.
Apollo 11 launch
She also played an important role in helping her husband prepare mentally and emotionally for his space missions. In the months leading up to the Apollo 11 launch, Janet spent countless hours with Neil as he underwent intense training. She was also there to provide support and encouragement on the day of the launch, helping him relax and stay focused as he prepared to take on one of the most daunting challenges of his life.
On July 20, 1969, Janet Armstrong watched from Mission Control as her husband made history. It was a momentous occasion not just for Neil, but for Janet as well – after all, she had been by his side every step of the way.
In the years that followed, Janet continued to support her husband’s work with NASA. The couple remained married until 1994 when Neil passed away due to complications from heart surgery.
Janet got retired and started living in California. She was still involved in space-related work, serving on the board of directors for the non-profit Astronaut Scholarship Foundation. She remained an active public speaker, sharing her story and inspiring others to pursue their dreams. She died on June 21, 2018.
Janet Armstrong was a true unsung hero of the space program. Without her support, love, and encouragement, Neil Armstrong may never have made it to the moon – and history might have been very different. Thanks to Janet, we can all look to the stars and dream of what’s possible.