Video: The Crash that Could Have Killed Neil Armstrong

A new look at Armstrong's close call in 1968.

Reddit user Theodore Funkenstein recently released stabilized video footage of the 1968 aircraft crash that forced Neil Armstrong to bail out at low altitude, allowing a one-of-a-kind look at an event that nearly took the life of the world's most well known astronaut.

A little more than a year before his giant leap for mankind, Armstrong was test flying the Lunar Landing Training Vehicle at Ellington Air Force Base when a malfunction of the flight controls forced him to eject at an altitude of just 200 feet. His parachute was open for mere seconds before he touched the ground uninjured. Experts estimate that had Armstrong waited just another half second before ejecting, he would have not have survived the incident.

Investigators attributed the loss of flight control to leaking propellant. Built to simulate the reduced gravity of the lunar environment, the LLTV was considered an essential training vehicle by the astronauts of the day despite its poor safety record. Of the five LLTVs that were built for astronaut training, three were destroyed in crashes.

Renowned for his modest nature and commitment to the mission, Armstrong reportedly returned to his office the afternoon of the accident. According to an Armstrong biography written by James Hansen, Armstrong's fellow astronaut Alan Bean said, "I can't think of another person, let alone another astronaut, who would have just gone back to his office after ejecting a fraction of a second before getting killed."

Click here to view the stabilized footage as a gif.

To see the improvement, watch the original crash footage below.

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