Armstrong, Aldrin, and an American Eagle

Painting Completed 1983
36 x 24 inches, Acrylic on Canvas on Panel

The Eagle, with Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin aboard, is just about to touch down on the Sea of Tranquility, July 20, 1969. The descent engine is firing in order to slow the descent rate to ensure a gentle landing as Neil flies the lunar module beyond some rough terrain in his search for a level area.

The Eagle was designed to fly like a helicopter, even though it has a rocket on the bottom rather than rotor blades on the top. NASA's reasoning was that controls and techniques for a machine that could move up, down, and sideways and even stand still, were needed on the lunar module. The helicopter was such a machine, and its controls and techniques had been proven over many years.

Neil is looking out the left-hand window, Buzz out the other. Between them is the square hatch Neil will use to exit the lunar module. After crawling backwards long the platform, he will descend the ladder to the surface: a small step for a man, but a giant leap for mankind.

Many space enthusiasts say the Eagle was the first true spaceship because it could land and then take off again. It was an incredible vehicle on an unbelievable mission. But we all knew that every worthwhile endeavor seems impossible at first. It had to work right, or Neil and Buzz wouldn't be bringing home any moonrocks.

When we Americans put our minds and energy to it, nobody, but nobody, can do the things we can do. The Eagle did what it was supposed to do and more. I believe the Eagle (and her crew) could only have been made in America.

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