Neil Armstrong ARMSTRONG, NEIL Neil Alden Armstrong (August 5, 1930 - August 25, 2012) was the first person to walk on the moon. He piloted NASA's Apollo 11 mission, which took off on July 16, 1969. Armstrong and Edwin E. (Buzz) Aldrin, Jr., landed on the moon on July 20, 1969, in the lunar module (landing in the Mare Tranquillitatis), while Michael Collins orbited the moon in the command module. Upon his first step on the moon, Armstrong said, "One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." Armstrong and Aldrin explored the Moon's surface for about 2 hours. Years earlier, in 1966, Armstrong and David R. Scott performed the first successful docking of two vehicles in space on the Gemini 8 mission.