According to the award's requirements, the Congressional Space Medal of Honor may be awarded to "any astronaut who, in the performance of his duties, has distinguished himself by exceptionally meritorious efforts and contributions to the welfare of the Nation and mankind."

Is there any specific known reason why Aldrin, and indeed, even Collins, were not afforded this honor alongside Armstrong? Of course Armstrong was the mission commander, and the first man to set foot on the moon, but it's difficult to not consider all of their efforts "exceptionally meritorious" as major pioneers in mankind's space exploration endeavors.


The best I can find is from this photograph's caption, which states:

Astronaut Neil Armstrong received the first Congressional Space Medal of Honor from President Jimmy Carter, assisted by Captain Robert Peterson. Armstrong, one of six astronauts to be presented the medal during ceremonies held in the Vehicle Assembly Building, was awarded for his performance during the Gemini 8 mission and the Apollo 11 mission when he became the first human to set foot upon the moon.

It could also be because Apollo 11 had a number of difficulties, and Neil Armstrong was the pilot. It was his quick thinking that allowed the mission to be successful.

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Personally though, I think Buzz Aldrin deserves one too:-) $\endgroup$ – PearsonArtPhoto Feb 20 '16 at 16:50

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.