Why was Armstrong first?

Have you ever wondered why Neil Armstrong was the first person to walk on the moon, not “Buzz” Aldrin.

For a very good reason actually.

The Apollo 11 Lunar Module’s moonwalk hatch was below and in front of the astronauts, and was roughly square. It hinged inward, with the hinges not at the top or the bottom, but at one side – the pilot’s side. It swung open away from the commander and toward the pilot. So when the hatch was open, Armstrong, the commander, had a clear path to manoeuvre out through the opening, while Aldrin, the pilot, was penned in behind the hatch.

In the Lunar Module’s cramped cabin, in clumsy spacesuits, the only practical way out was from Armstrong’s side. Once Armstrong was out, Aldrin had to close the hatch again, slide sideways past it, and only then open it – from Armstrong’s side of the cabin – for his own exit.

The only way that Aldrin could go out first was for the two men to swap places before opening the hatch. This wasn’t quite impossible, but it was very difficult; when Armstrong and Aldrin tried it in a Lunar Module mock-up, they damaged some of the cabin equipment! The commander simply had to go first. Read more here.

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