NASA Dryden to be Renamed After Neil Armstrong

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

The NASA Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base will be renamed after the late Apollo 11 Commander Neil Armstrong under a measure that has unanimously passed by the Senate and House of Representatives.

The measure, which now goes to President Barack Obama for signature, would rename the Western Aeronautical Test Range at Edwards the Hugh L. Dryden Aeronautical Test Range. Dryden served as NASA deputy administrator from 1958 to 1965.

“I’m honored that the Senate has passed my legislation, which will now go to the President’s desk for his signature that recognizes the rich history of Neil Armstrong and Hugh Dryden in Kern County and the Antelope Valley,” said Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), who sponsored the bill. “As we reflect on the achievements and legacy of these great Americans, it is exciting to see our region continue to lead the way in innovation in space exploration and aeronautical research and scientific discovery.”

McCarthy represents California’s 23rd Congressional District, which includes NASA Dryden and Edwards Air Force Base. Armstrong, who died in 2012, worked as a test pilot at the desert facility, where he conducted major testing on the X-15 rocket plane.

McCarthy had eight co-sponsors of the measure, including Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon, a Republican who represents California’s 25th Congressional District that includes the southern part of the Antelope Valley where Edwards and NASA Dryden are located.

  • Paul451

    Armstrong was apparently asked about this before he died and objected strongly. He worked with Dryden and refused to defile his memory.

    So way to honour the man’s express wishes, McCarthy.

  • Douglas Messier

    I’ve looked for this quote via Google and have found reference to it. Do you have any links to news items about it?

    Armstrong is gone, so he has no control over how people wish to honor him. I’ve not been a big fan of this move because Armstrong was a humble man who always pointed out how many tens of thousands of people were responsible for his achievement. He didn’t want a lot of special recognition for it.

    But, Congress feels differently and they have the power to make such a change. My objections aside, I think it’s a fitting way to honor Armstrong. He certainly deserves it. I expect the President will sign it. There’s no upside to vetoing the measure, since Armstrong is national hero and Congress would simply override it by unanimous assent.

  • Paul451

    Armstrong is gone, so he has no control over how people wish to honor him.

    How is it “honouring” him? “Hey, we’re going to honour Gandhi by renaming this slaughterhouse after him, something he would have been horrified over.”

    (No quotes, sorry. But I believe the renaming of an airfield after Dryden was only included as a sop for the Armstrong family, to get them to accept the “honour” of dishonouring Neil’s friend and colleague.)

  • windbourne

    This is just WRONG. Dryden helped get NASA off the ground. For these neo-cons to remove his name from it so wrong.

  • windbourne

    Hopefully, Obama will turn it down.

  • windbourne

    Actually, I am all in favor of naming a place after him. But to take away from dryden is so wrong and this is obviously a political item.

  • Paul451

    He won’t. He’s trapped. “Obama Refuses to Honour First Man on the Moon” is too easy a headline for the Fox newsdoids, too hard to refute, and for no gain to his administration.

    Moreso, Armstrong was a vocal critic of the administration, and allowed himself to be used as a prop by Griffin and the NASA Primes to attack attempts to end the wasteful Constellation program. So I doubt Obama wouldn’t care to skin a knee on his behalf.

  • Aerospike

    I really don’t get this whole “let’s just rename this place” anyway. If there is a new place to be named in honor of somebody, sure, by all means do it. But why rename such an iconic place?

  • Geoff T

    The cynic in me would say that it’s to divert peoples attention from the fact the first government facility that was to be named in his honour was to have been the constellation project moonbase under the NASA Authorization Act of 2008 Section 403.

    “DESIGNATION.—The United States portion of the first human-tended outpost established on the surface of the Moon shall be designated the ‘‘Neil A. Armstrong Lunar Outpost’’.

  • Douglas Messier

    I’m not sure Obama would have been inclined to veto the measure anyway. I think he can separate Armstrong the X-15 pilot and first man on the moon from Armstrong the political critic of his policies. In any event, the point is moot given the unanimous opinion of Congress.

  • Douglas Messier

    I doubt very many people are even aware of the moon base designation, so it’s not much of a distraction.

  • Stuart

    The first lunar colony/base should take Armstrong’s name. They should follow his personal wishes and leave Dryden well alone.

  • windbourne

    I like that idea.