A superb early portrait of the most famous astronaut in history, when he was still a NASA research pilot before being selected for the second class of nine NASA astronauts on September 17, 1962.

Armstrong joined the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) at the Lewis Flight Propulsion Laboratory (later NASA’s Lewis Research Center, Cleveland, OH) in 1955. Later that year, he transferred to the NACA’s High-Speed Flight Station in Edwards, California, as an aeronautical research scientist and then as a NASA aeronautical research pilot at NASA’s Flight Research Center, Edwards Air Force Base.

Armstrong made his first X-15 flight on November 30, 1960.

Flight Research Center, Edwards, Calif. NASA pilot Neil Armstrong is assisted with helmet following flight in X-15 research aircraft on April 5 to altitude of 179,000 feet.
[NASA caption]