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Armstrong in the cockpit of the X-15 in 1961, a year before becoming an astronaut. (NASA)

Neil Armstrong, In His Own Words

The first moonwalker's storied aviation career

Later Years

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(NASA/Paul E. Alers)

The first man to step on the lunar surface and the last man to leave it (Gene Cernan) testify before a Congressional committee in 2010.

In his later years, Armstrong was frustrated with the slow pace of NASA's efforts to return to exploring beyond Earth orbit. In a NASA interview conducted in 2001, he spoke to historians Douglas Brinkley and Stephen Ambrose about his time at NASA headquarters:

“I was glad to have the experience, although I think everybody should have to go to Washington and spend a little time—just to see how difficult it is to run this countr—and do penance there.

It's a frustrating place for me because so much coordination and greasing the skids goes on in Washington that by the time you've gotten around to everybody, the first guy's forgotten what the subject was. It's really hard to get things done there, and it's amazing to me that anybody can get things rolling from Washington, just because of the nature of the place.”
 

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