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James R. Hansen, retired Auburn University history professor, is set to co-produce the film adaptation of his book, “First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong,” in Atlanta this October. Oscar award-winning director Damien Chazelle, who worked on the 2016 film “La La Land,” will partner on the project. Actor Ryan Gosling will star in the leading role.  

Hansen’s book was published in 2005 and has received awards from the American Astronautical Society and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and also spent three weeks on the New York Times Bestseller list. It is the only authorized biography of Neil Armstrong that details his life and the Apollo 11 mission that landed him on the moon.

Hansen began teaching history at Auburn in 1986 and served as the director of the Honors College. His scholarly work focused on aerospace history, which led to his service on several aerospace advisory boards in his career, including a term as vice president of the Virginia Air and Space Museum.

He has published numerous award-winning books and articles including “Spaceflight Revolution,” nominated by NASA for a Pulitzer Prize, “The Bird is on the Wing,” “The Wind and Beyond” and his latest release in 2009, “Truth, Lies, and O-Rings: The Inside Story of the Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster.”

In addition to his work in aerospace history, he has completed research and published work on golf course history. He taught the history of golf course architecture in an undergraduate course in his time at Auburn. Hansen is now a professor emeritus for the university.