NASA pilot Neil Armstrong is seen here in the cockpit of the X-15 ship #1 (56-6670) after a research flight.A U.S. Navy pilot in the Korean War who flew 78 combat missions in F9F-2 jet fighters and who was awarded the Air Medal and two Gold Stars, Armstrong graduated from Purdue University in 1955 with a bachelor degree in aeronautical engineering. That same year, he joined the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics' Lewis Flight Propulsion Laboratory in Cleveland, Ohio (today, the NASA Glenn Research Center).In July 1955, Armstrong transferred to the High-Speed Flight Station (HSFS, as Dryden Flight Research Center was then called) as an aeronautical research engineer. Soon thereafter, he became a research pilot. For the first few years at the HSFS, Armstrong worked on a number of projects. He was a pilot on the Navy P2B-1S used to launch the D-558-2 and also flew the F-100A, F-100C, F-101, F-104A, and X-5.His introduction to rocket flight came on August 15, 1957, with his first flight (of four, total) on the X-1B. He then became one of the first three NASA pilots to fly the X-15, the others being Joe Walker and Jack McKay. (Scott Crossfield, a former NACA pilot, flew the X-15 first but did so as a North American Aviation pilot.)
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