Armstrong, Neil (1930–)
Neil Armstrong (1930–)
What do you want to do when you grow up? Neil Armstrong knew that answer when he was only six years old. That’s when he went on his first airplane ride. From then on, he wanted to fly.
Armstrong didn’t wait until he was an adult. He took flying lessons when he was a teenager. He got his student pilot’s license the day he turned 16. The next year, he began studying flying at Purdue University.
Armstrong left college to join the Navy, during the Korean War. He flew jets on 78 missions. After the war, Armstrong returned to Purdue.
After he finished college, Armstrong wanted a job in flying. He became a test pilot. Test pilots make sure new airplanes work correctly.
Armstrong tested the X-15. The rocket plane could fly very fast and very high. Flights of the X-15 helped scientists prepare for flight in space.
Spaceflight! That was the next step for Armstrong. In 1962, he became an astronaut. An astronaut is someone who flies in space. He joined NASA, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. NASA runs the nation’s spaceflights.
First, Armstrong flew a spacecraft called Gemini 8. Then, he began training to land the Apollo 11 spacecraft on the moon.
On July 20, 1969, Armstrong became the first person to set foot on the moon. “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind,” he said as he stepped onto the moon.
Armstrong later left NASA. But he stayed connected to flying. He became a college professor and taught the science of flight. He worked to improve flight safety for astronauts.
Flying took Armstrong far beyond the Ohio farm where he was born. Flying took Armstrong to the moon. When he came back, he helped others fly.
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