Yesterday, however, saw him take part in a 4 man committee testifying before Congress about the current state of the American human spaceflight program, with the words “embarrassing” and “unacceptable” being freely used.
"We will have no American access to, and return from, low Earth orbit and the International Space Station for an unpredictable length of time in the future", Armstrong told the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology.
"For a country that has invested so much for so long to achieve a leadership position in space exploration and exploitation, this condition is viewed by many as lamentably embarrassing and unacceptable."
His words echoed the sentiments felt by many with the cancelation by President Barack Obama of the Constellation program that would have returned man to the Moon, and with the recent final flight and retirement of the space shuttle program, leaving no capability for the US to send humans into space.
Armstrong was joined by fellow astronaut and last man to step on the Moon in 1972, Eugene Cernan, who was equally dismissive of the current administration at NASA.
"Today, we are on a path of decay. We are seeing the book close on five decades of accomplishment as the leader in human space exploration", Cernan said.
Given the current poor economic situation of the United States and a new determination to encourage commercial companies to supply the next generation of crew and cargo transport vehicles, it is difficult to see how the US can lead at the forefront of future space exploration – but I guess time will tell.