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)

Gemini 8, 1966


Armstrong preparing to launch on Gemini 8, his first spaceflight, in 1966. A little over three minutes into the flight, the onboard tape recorder caught this exchange between Armstrong and crewmate Dave Scott. Both were seeing the Earth from space for the first time:

Scott:               Oh, there’s the horizon!
Armstrong:     We finally got to see it.
Scott:                Okay. You’re looking good, Coach.
Armstrong:      Okay. The fuel cells are all solid as a rock.
Scott:                Okay. Everything looks good on the right.
Armstrong:      Fine. And needles are ... pitch is zero, yaw is about a quarter of a degree and steady.
Capcom:            Roger. Your plots are looking very nominal here on the ground, Eight.
Armstrong:      Roger. The second stage is a real good machine.
Armstrong:      I was going to say a Cadillac, but I guess I better not say that.
Armstrong:      Coming up on 4 minutes.
Scott:                Cabin pressure is 5.5 psid and holding.
Armstrong:      Roger. Accelerometers at 4 minutes.
Scott:                Hey, how about that view!
Armstrong:      That's fantastic!
Scott:                They were right, weren’t they?


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