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“He will always be a source of inspiration for our generation, and for the generations to come, as we ask ourselves, `Why explore space?’” Zhou said.

At New York’s Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum, a 1960 photo of Armstrong hangs near the space shuttle Enterprise _ showing a youthful NASA pilot standing and smiling next to the X-15 rocket plane he was testing.

On Saturday afternoon, many among the hundreds of visitors filing past the mammoth white display didn’t know he had died.

`I’m shocked!” said Dennis McKowan, 49, a computer network engineer from Sunnyvale, Calif., on a business trip to New York. “I used to skip school to watch the Apollo launches.”

He was a child when he watched the moon landing.

“How do you top that? No one has gone farther yet.”

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Long reported from New York. Associated Press writers Verena Dobnik in New York, Seth Borenstein and Bradley Klapper in Washington, Marcia Dunn in Cape Canaveral, Fla., and Lisa Cornwell in Cincinnati contributed to this report.