Space Year 2012 review: Sad Departures as Neil Armstrong and other space greats pass away during year (Updated)

by | Dec 21, 2012 | Uncategorized | 0 comments

Several space notable personalities passed away during 2012.   Probably the most famous was former NASA Apollo 11 astronaut and space great, Neil Armstrong, the first man to set foot on the Moon. This graceous, skilled, brave and fortuitous man passed away in August at the age of 82.   The month before, it was reported that the well respected scientist and astronaut, Dr Sally Ride, 61, the first US woman in space had also passed away.

The field of astronomy said goodbye to two greats  Sir Bernard Lovell, who did so much for radioastronomy and was the prime mover behind the construction of the giant radio telescope at Jodrell Bank, died in August at the ripe old age of 98.  For more populist astronomy, no man could have done more that Sir Patrick Moore, 89, who presented the BBC monthy television show for more than 55 years. 

The field of aerospace mourned the loss of Admiral Sir Raymond Lygo, 87, who headed up British Aerospace in its glory days.  Roger Boisjoly, 73, the Space Shuttle Solid Rocket Booster engineer who whose warnings of disaster were ignored before the Space Shuttle Challenger failure in 1986, died this year. 

As we noted the passing of the funny but not-very-politically-correct Northern Irish comedian Frank Carson, 85, the Hyperbola blog also mourned the passing at the age of 92 of actor Clive Dunn, whose sage advice in his old-duffer Lance Corporal Jones role in the BBC wartime comedy Dad’s Army was always: Don’t Panic! Don’t Panic!..while actually panicking himself. Not something that the cool-under-fire Neil Armstrong ever suffered from himself. .  

Late in the year, it was announced that Gerry Anderson, maker of several puppet and live action television series (Fireball XL5, Thunderbirds, UFO, Space 1999) which inspired as children, many of the rocket and aircraft designers of today, had passed away at the age of 83.  His Thunderbirds-show’s main puppet characters were even named after NASA’s Mercury astronauts.

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