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)

Into the Ocean


On Gemini 8, Armstrong and Scott executed the first-ever space docking by linking their Gemini capsule to an Agena target vehicle in orbit. This excerpt from the onboard voice recording captures the astronauts’ excitement as they slowly approached the Agena:

Scott:                 You're 900 feet [away]. 5 feet per second.
Armstrong:      That's just unbelievable! Unbelievable! I can't believe it!
Scott:                 Yes, I can't either. Outstanding job, Coach!
Armstrong:      Way to go, partner!
Scott:                 You did it, boy! You did a good job!
Armstrong:      It takes two to tango.
Scott:                 Say again?
Armstrong:      It takes two of us.

Shortly after docking, though, the astronauts found themselves in a full-blown emergency when a stuck thruster sent their spacecraft tumbling at 60 revolutions per minute. Armstrong struggled to regain control, as dramatized in the 1998 HBO miniseries From the Earth to the Moon, and their mission had to be aborted.

Scott (left) and Armstrong are pictured shortly after their ocean splashdown.


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