Congressmen Seek to Rename NASA Dryden After Neil Armstrong

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Neil Armstrong with the X-15 on the dry lake bed at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.

November 29, 2012 - Washington D.C. (Press Release) – Congressman Howard “Buck” McKeon and Congressman Kevin McCarthy today announced legislation to redesignate the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Dryden Flight Research Center as the Neil A. Armstrong Flight Research Center and the Western Aeronautical Test Range as the Hugh L. Dryden Aeronautical Test Range. Joining Congressman McCarthy in introducing this legislation are Congressman Buck McKeon, Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, Congressman Ken Calvert, Congressman Lamar Smith, Congressman Steven Palazzo, and Congressman Adam Schiff.

Congressman Buck McKeon issued the following statement:

“I will never forget watching Neil Armstrong take those first steps on the Moon. In that remarkable and powerful moment, Neil Armstrong confirmed to the entire world watching that anything is possible and that nothing, not even traveling to outer space and walking on the moon, was too tall of an order for the United States. Neil Armstrong braved the unchartered territory of space exploration and paved the way for revolutionary scientific discovery. I am proud to be an original co-sponsor of this bill renaming the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center in honor of Neil A. Armstrong. Dedicating this stellar institution to Neil Armstrong is a small token of our public gratitude and will hopefully work to ensure that his legacy is honored for generations to come.”

Congressman Kevin McCarthy issued the following statement:

“Today, I introduced legislation to rename the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center in honor of Neil A. Armstrong,” said Congressman McCarthy. “This bill recognizes the achievements of Neil Armstrong in aerospace travel and space exploration, and highlights his important connection to Kern County. He was a great American who served as a test pilot and began training for his famous astronaut career here in Eastern Kern. Later, he oversaw aeronautical research programs at the Center and spearheaded technological innovation that continues to this day. This bill also continues to recognize Hugh Dryden by renaming the Center’s test range in his honor. Eastern Kern continues to remain a hub of innovation in space exploration, aeronautical research and scientific discovery, and I look forward to more groundbreaking achievements in the future.”

Local leaders agree that this action will enhance the profile of the NASA flight research center and recognize the accomplishments Neil Armstrong and Hugh Dryden achieved during their time in Eastern Kern:

Mojave Air and Space Port Chief Executive Officer Stuart Witt – “Mojave Air & Space Port strongly supports a Resolution in favor of the proposed name change of the current NASA Dryden Flight Research Center to the Neil A. Armstrong Flight Research Center and Western Aeronautical Test Range to the Hugh L. Dryden Aeronautical Test Range. It is most appropriate that Astronaut Neil A. Armstrong be honored and memorialized in this way with his noted lifelong accomplishments as the first human to walk on the moon and as a former test pilot who worked at the Dryden Flight Research Center for seven years (1955-1962) as well as emphasis on the contributions of the center to the agency’s space exploration mission.”
Mojave Chamber of Commerce President Cathy Hansen – “Neil Armstrong has left many footprints in Mojave, his friendship is treasured by those who knew him and memories of his flights across the skies of Mojave still echo in aerospace history.”

Antelope Valley Board of Trade Executive Director Vicki Medina – “Our organization has been has been a supporter of the flight test missions at Edwards since the late 1950s. To that effect, we have seen numerous name changes of the NASA facility over the years, and we feel that the timing is right to move the center into a new era. In light of NASA’s current mission to ‘extend the frontiers of space exploration, scientific discovery, and aeronautics research’ we can think of no other person than Neil Armstrong whose name has the ability to inspire the next generation of researchers, scientists and space explorers.”

Antelope Valley Chambers of Commerce President and CEO Ramon Ortega- “The Antelope Valley Chambers of Commerce wholly supports your efforts in bringing forth this appropriate piece of legislation. Neil Armstrong and NASA Dryden are both very tied to each other and to the Antelope Valley. Considering the current status of our local economy, and the need to preserve and promote this region’s aerospace legacy, we can only see opportunity in this endeavor.”

Greater Antelope Valley Economic Alliance President Mel Layne – “Because of Neil Armstrong’s distinguished career locally and internationally, it seems only fitting to memorialize his accomplishment by naming the NASA Flight Research Center the Neil A. Armstrong Flight Research Center and the Western Aeronautical Test Range as the Hugh L. Dryden Aeronautical Test Range.”

Edwards Air Force Base Civilian-Military Support Group President Danny Bazzell – “Edwards AFB Civilian-Military Support Group joins with our legislative offices and other community organizations in supporting the proposed name change to the Neil Armstrong Flight Research Center and Hugh L. Dryden Aeronautical Test Range.”

Palmdale Chamber of Commerce CEO Jeff McElfresh – “The Palmdale Chamber of Commerce is supportive of a name change to NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center. A change in name to the Neil A. Armstrong Flight Research Center brings familiarity to NASA and in name alone will lend itself to increased interest in NASA’s mission at the Flight Research Center.”

Background:

  • The legislation redesignates the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Dryden Flight Research Center as the Neil A. Armstrong Flight Research Center and the 12,000 square mile Western Aeronautical Test Range as the Hugh L. Dryden Aeronautical Test Range.
  • The bill would honor Neil A. Armstrong, the first human to walk on the Moon and a former test pilot who worked at the center for seven years (1955-1962), recognize the contributions of the Center to NASA’s space exploration mission, and continue to recognize the extraordinary career of aeronautical engineer and former NASA Deputy Administrator Hugh L. Dryden.
  • The re-designation of the NASA Flight Research Center and the Test Range is strongly supported by leading members of the aerospace industry and local community, including the Antelope Valley Board of Trade, Antelope Valley Chambers of Commerce, Mojave Chamber of Commerce, Palmdale Chamber of Commerce, and Mojave Air and Space Port.
  • Neil A. Armstrong’s career was closely tied to NASA’s Flight Research Center. Before Armstrong became an astronaut in 1962, he served for seven years as a test pilot (1955-1962) at the Center, which was then called the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics High-Speed Flight Station. By the time he became an astronaut, Armstrong amassed 2,400 hours of flying time as a test pilot there. While still a test pilot at the Center in the early 1960s, Armstrong was part of a team that conceptualized the Lunar Landing Research Vehicle which helped create the training vehicle Armstrong and other Apollo commanders use to train on to land on the moon.


  • Greg Holden

    I’m for this idea… I can’t argue wether Drysden is the right place or not to honour Armstrong (given his test pilot background, with the X15 especially, it would certainly seem a natural place) but someone of his historic significance does deserve to have their name used to mark a NASA centre somewhere. The ‘Neil A. Armstrong Flight Research Center’ certainly has a nice ring to it anyway :-) I’m sure Mr Armstrong would give his blessing, even if if it is in a quiet, modest way.

  • Paul451

    “I’m sure Mr Armstrong would give his blessing”

    Three years before he died, they asked him about it, and he was adamant about not wanting to push aside Dryden (whom he knew personally.)

    Doing it after he’s dead, when he can’t refuse, is, frankly, highly disrespectful.

  • http://www.parabolicarc.com Doug Messier

    Paul451:

    Do you have any links or references to Neil’s quote? If that was his real wish, then this plan is ill conceived.

  • Greg Holden

    I didnt know that, and if thats the case they should respect his wishes.