The astronaut, who passed away in 2012, is best remembered for being the first man to step foot on the Moon after commanding NASA’s iconic Apollo 11 mission in 1969. After the Eagle landed at Tranquility Base, Mr Armstrong jumped off the lunar lander and delivered his “one small step” speech to the 400 million watching back on Earth – completing John F. Kennedy’s goal of putting man on the Moon by the end of the Sixties. A short while later, he was joined by Buzz Aldrin and the pair famously bounced around the lunar surface, before completing a series of experiments to collect samples for NASA in two-and-a-half hours.
But, on return to Earth, Mr Armstrong admitted that some of their activities were not on the mission checklist outlined by the space agency during planning, which could have risked the safety of the mission.
He said: “We plead guilty to enjoying ourselves.
“As I mentioned earlier, we’re recommending that we start future EVA’s (Extravehicular activity) with a 15 or 20 minute period to get these kinds of things out of the way.
“To get used to the surface and what you see, adapt to the one-sixth gravity and the manoeuvring around, probably we just included a little more in the early phase that we were actually able to do.”
Neil Armstrong made a confession over his Moon landing
Neil Armstrong was the commander of Apollo 11
Their activities would see the pair consequently spend longer on the Moon than NASA had planned, and with a surface temperature well above boiling point, their chances of something breaking were greatly increased.
The fragility of the lunar module was shown when Mr Aldrin accidentally broke one of the circuit breakers inside the lunar landing 21 hours after their initial arrival.
Speaking further on the mission, Mr Armstrong made some more recommendations for future astronauts.
He added: “I think the simulations that we have, at present time, enable a pilot to understand the problems of a lunar landing.
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The Apollo 11 crew in 1969
“The simulators and various lunar landing training facilities and trainers that we have will do that job sufficiently well.
“Above that, I think that it’s just a matter of pilot experience.
“The little bit of dispersions in the manoeuvres such as the DLI burn on the backside, there is no way of compensating until you get the final phase for that error.”
Asked whether the three of them hoped for further developments in space in the future, Mr Aldrin chose to take the question from his colleague.
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The three astronauts in 1969
Neil Armstrong in the post-mission press conference
He said: “I believe that what this country set out to do was something that was going to be done sooner or later, whether we set a specific goal or not.
“I believe that from the early spaceflights we demonstrated a potential to carry out this type of mission and again it was a question of time until this would be accomplished.
“I think the relative ease with which we were able to carry out our mission, which, of course, came after a very efficient and logical sequence of flights, I think that just demonstrated that we were certainly on the right track when we took this commitment to go to the Moon.
“I think that what this means is that many other problems can be solved in the same way, by making a commitment over a long time, we were timely in accepting this mission and it may now be timely to think in many other areas.”