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NASA honors Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong, first man to set foot on moon 45 years ago

  • Moon-Anniversary

    FILE - In this July 20, 1969 file photo provided by NASA, astronaut Neil A. Armstrong, Apollo 11 commander, smiles for a photo inside the Lunar Module while it rested on the lunar surface. Armstrong was first out the lunar module, Eagle, onto the dusty surface of Tranquility Base. (AP Photo/NASA, File)

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  • Moon-Anniversary-1

    FILE - In this July 24, 1969 file photo, President Richard Nixon, right, greets the Apollo 11 astronauts in the quarantine van on board the U.S.S. Hornet after splashdown and recovery. The Apollo 11 crew from left are Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin. Armstrong and Aldrin became the first men to walk on the moon after blastoff from Cape Kennedy, Fla., on July 16, 1969. (AP Photo, File)

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  • Moon-Anniversary-2

    Visitors to the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum walk past a depiction of space exploration by artist Robert T. McCall entitled 'The Space Mural: A Cosmic View', on the 45th anniversary of Apollo 11 lunar landing, in Washington, Sunday, July 20, 2014. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

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  • Moon-Anniversary-NASA-Armstrong

    Neil Armstrong, waving in front, heads for the van that will take the Apollo 11 crew to the rocket for launch to the moon in this 1969 file photo at Kennedy Space Center in Merritt Island, Fla.

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Moon-Anniversary-NASA-Armstrong

Neil Armstrong, waving in front, heads for the van that will take the Apollo 11 crew to the rocket for launch to the moon in this 1969 file photo at Kennedy Space Center in Merritt Island, Fla.

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NASA honored one of its most famous astronauts Monday by renaming a historic building at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

It now bears the name of Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon when the Apollo 11 mission landed there 45 years ago.

Armstrong, who died in 2012, was remembered at a ceremony as not only an astronaut, but also as an aerospace engineer, a test pilot and university professor. Michael Collins, who orbited the moon as Armstrong took his historic steps on July 20, 1969, said he had a “powerful combination of curiosity and intelligence” along with an intuitive grasp of the complexities of flight machinery.

“Neil probably liked hangars better than office buildings, but he was certainly good in either venue,” Collins said.

NASA renamed the Operations and Checkout building, also known as the O&C, which is on the National Register of Historic Places. It has been the last stop for astronauts before their flights since 1965. It was also used to test and process Apollo spacecraft. Currently, it’s where the Orion spacecraft is being assembled to send astronauts to an asteroid and later to Mars.

The renaming ceremony included remarks by Apollo 11 crew member Buzz Aldrin and backup mission commander Jim Lovell. Armstrong’s sons Rick and Mark also spoke.

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