Neil Armstrong began a love affair with airplanes and flying as a young child in Ohio. He earned his pilot’s license before he earned a high school diploma.
Later, he flew 78 combat missions as a fighter pilot during the Korean War. After the war, Armstrong completed a degree in aeronautical engineering and joined the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, which became the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
As a test pilot, Armstrong flew the rocket-powered X-15, a plane that reached speeds of 4,000 mph and heights 40 miles above the earth’s surface.
In 1962, Armstrong was selected to become an astronaut. In 1966, he flew his first mission in space in Gemini 8.