Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, passed away earlier today at the age of 82. He and fellow astronaut Buzz Aldrin made their historic voyage in July of 1969.

Al Sacco, dean of Texas Tech's Whitacre College of Engineering, flew as payload specialist aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia for mission STS-73 in 1995. He issued the following statement on Armstrong’s passing:

“I only met Neil Armstrong one time. I was amazed that such a famous person was so modest and unassuming. My colleagues told me he was the consummate test pilot, nerves of steel and very intelligent. However when you talked to him, he was very understated and very shy. He was just a very, very nice guy and a real American hero.

“It is a sad day for all humanity on planet earth. He was one of our best.”

Texas U.S. Senator John Cornyn also issued a statement concerning the passing of Armstrong:

"Today we have lost one of our nation's finest heroes and a timeless symbol of the American spirit.


"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. 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.


"I know all Texans join me today in paying tribute to this true American legend and offering our sincere condolences to Carol, the Armstrong family and the NASA community."