First authorized bio of Neil Armstrong

November 4, 2005

A former curator of aeronautics at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington has written the only authorized biography of astronaut Neil Armstrong.

James R. Hansen, who was also a NASA historian, said it was his students at Auburn University who urged him to continue to seek the cooperation of the man who first stepped on the moon to participate in the biography after he initially refused, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported Friday.

"He offered comments to correct facts and to make sure I got technical things explained as clearly as possible," Hansen told the Enquirer. "But he did not try to change any interpretations or analysis."

The death of 2-year-old Karen Armstrong from a brain tumor might have had a bearing in Armstrong's decision to throw his name into astronaut selection, Hansen said.

In the many books written about the 75-year-old former astronaut, it's been said that Armstrong had been thinking of going to the moon since he was a boy, but Hansen said that's not true.

"Neil was all about airplanes," he said.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

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