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NASA names building for Neil Armstrong, first man to walk on the moon

"Neil never capitalized on his celebrity," said astronaut Jim Lovell.
By Brooks Hays   |   July 21, 2014 at 2:49 PM   |   Comments

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MERRITT ISLAND, Fla., July 21 (UPI) -- A building at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, where Apollo astronauts once trained, was named in honor of astronaut Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon.

Armstrong passed away two years ago, but friends, family and surviving Apollo 11 crew mates gathered Monday in Florida to pay tribute at the naming ceremony.

"He would not have sought this honor, that was not his style," said Michael Collins, a fellow astronaut who orbited the moon as Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on its cratered surface in 1969. "But I think he would be proud to have his name so closely associated with this, the heart and the soul of the space business."

The building -- where NASA continues to carry out testing and training activities as pay of the agency's Orion mission -- will from now on be known as the Neil Armstrong Operations and Checkout Building. During Armstrong's time with NASA, the building was used to service the Apollo spacecrafts and prepare them for launch.

The words offered by Jim Lovell, the backup commander for Apollo 11, echoed the sentiments of Collins.

"Neil never capitalized on his celebrity," Lovell said. "He always felt that he was part of a team of thousands of people working together to honor President Kennedy's commitment. So I also think it's very fitting that this Operations and Checkout building be named in the honor of Neil Armstrong."

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