Neil Armstrong, In His Own Words

The first moonwalker’s storied aviation career

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

X-15 Cockpit, 1961


“What was [the X-15] like? That is a difficult thing to describe. You’re very busy. The flight takes only about ten minutes and you want to get a lot of information while you’re up there. It has taken a lot of time and money to get you there. There’s very little time for wondering, but above two hundred thousand feet you have essentially the same type of view that you have from a spacecraft when you are above the atmosphere. You can’t help thinking, by George, this is the real thing. Fantastic. You can see the curvature of the earth. And from the mountain house where we lived, Jan [Armstrong’s then wife] could use her binoculars to see what was going on. She could see the X-15 drop away from the B-52 mother ship, and she could see the puffs of dust down in the valley as the X-15 landed."

— From "First on the Moon"

Pictured: Armstrong in the cockpit of an X-15 vehicle, 1961.


Comment on this Story

comments powered by Disqus