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)

Apollo 11, 1969


Years later, he told Apollo historian Andrew Chaikin:

“In my view, the emotional moment was the landing. That was human contact with the moon, the landing. The fact that we were eight feet...or ten feet separated from the surface of the moon rather than two inches at the time I was [standing on it]...didn’t seem to me like a significant difference. It was at the time when we landed that we were there, we were in the lunar environment, the lunar gravity. That, in my view was the—that was the emotional high. And the business of getting down the ladder to me was much less significant. You know, I wouldn't have focused on that at all except that the press and everyone was making so much of a big thing about the exit from the vehicle and step on the surface with the boot.”

Pictured: Armstrong on the way to the moon, Apollo 11, July 1969.


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