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By the time he was selected to become an astronaut, Neil Armstrong had vast experience as a pilot. He flew a wide range of experimental aircraft, some of which made important steps towards a manned mission to the Moon.
Armstrong was one of the pilots who flew the X-15 rocket-powered aircraft. This aircraft still holds the world airspeed record for a manned, powered flight. During one test flight of an X-15, Armstrong flew his aircraft so high that as he descended, the craft actually bounced off Earth's atmosphere!