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60 Minutes Rewind: Neil Armstrong on visiting the Moon

2005: Neil Armstrong on 60 Minutes
2005: Neil Armstrong on 60 Minutes 04:08

On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong became the first man to step foot on the moon. As famous as he would become, Armstrong lived a mostly private life after the triumph of the Apollo 11 mission. However, in 2005, he surfaced from his quiet existence to revisit his former place of work at Kennedy Space Center. 60 Minutes correspondent Ed Bradley was there to listen while Armstrong recounted his thoughts and feelings from the day he launched into space. 

"It felt like a train on a bad railroad track and shaking in every direction. And it was loud, really loud," Armstrong said with a chuckle. 

It was a sunny day in Florida, and Armstrong and Bradley conversed atop an old Apollo launchpad. While taking in the view of the beach below, Bradley asked Armstrong if he had fears of becoming stranded on the moon. 

"Once you're here and on the launch pad ready to go, you put those thoughts behind you. Think positive all the time. Just try to be ready for everything that's going to happen," Armstrong reflected. 

Armstrong revealed to Bradley he felt "butterflies" during lift-off.

"When you got that much…explosive materials underneath you…you're always aware that there's a certain apprehension merited," Armstrong explained.

Since the historic Apollo 11 mission, ten more American men have walked on the moon. The last Apollo astronaut who made his mark on the lunar surface was Eugene Cernan in 1972.

Nearly fifty years later, NASA is planning to launch a new moon program. It's called Artemis, named for Apollo's mythical twin sister. The program aims to launch the next man and first woman to the moon by 2024. Elon Musk's SpaceX and Boeing's Space Launch System are both on board for the ride and will be providing significant assistance to NASA.

This Sunday on 60 Minutes, correspondent Bill Whitaker takes viewers inside NASA's plans for the Artemis program, and reports on why NASA wants to go back to the moon now.

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