FL leaders share memories of Armstrong

Armstrong, first man on the moon, dead at 82

ORLANDO, Fla. - Family says Neil Armstrong, the mankind who gave the world a "giant leap" with the first footprint on the moon, has died.

Now Florida leaders are sharing their condolences. Local 6 spoke with Sen. Bill Nelson, a former astronaut and friend of Armstrong's.

"He was a giant of a man not only in what he symbolized to us conquering the unconquerable but the way he lived his life," said Nelson.

Nelson said he worked with Armstrong frequently, inviting him to the nation's capital to advocate for the space program. He described Armstrong as a man devoted to his work and to the team. His fondest memory is awarding Armstrong and his fellow Apollo 11 crew members with a Congressional Gold Medal of Honor

"He was so happy when he gave his acceptance speech but he said that this is not for me this is for the team that put America on the moon."

Nelson said Armstrong would be truly missed.

Condolences also came from Sen. Marco Rubio. He wrote in a statement, "his legacy is evident to this day at Kennedy Space Center and in space missions like the current exploration of Mars. I mourn his passing and hope his family finds some comfort in the memory of a man who lived an extraordinary life that inspired so many people."

As a research pilot at NASA's Flight Research Center, Edwards, Calif., Armstrong was a project pilot on many pioneering high speed aircraft, including the well known, 4000-mph X-15. He has flown over 200 different models of aircraft, including jets, rockets, helicopters and gliders.

Armstrong transferred to astronaut status in 1962. He was assigned as command pilot for the Gemini 8 mission.

Gemini 8 was launched on March 16, 1966, and Armstrong performed the first successful docking of two vehicles in space.

As spacecraft commander for Apollo 11, the first manned lunar landing mission, Armstrong gained the distinction of being the first man to land a craft on the moon and first to step on its surface.

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