A U.S. Navy fighter pilot during the Korean War, Armstrong subsequently became a test pilot for what was then the National Advisory Committee on Aeronautics in 1955. In 1962, already a veteran of the X-15, Armstrong became a National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) astronaut and served as command pilot of the Gemini 8 mission. As commander of Apollo 11 (June 16–24, 1969), he was the first person to step on the moon, saying: “That's one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.” He taught aeronautical engineering at the University of Cincinnati from 1971 to 1979. In 1985 President Reagan appointed Armstrong to the National Commission on Space and in 1986 named him vice chairman of a panel to investigate the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger earlier that year.
See his First on the Moon (1970), written with Gene Farmer and Dora Hamblin.