McKeon and McCarthy seek to honor astronaut Neil Armstrong

Neil Armstrong in 1969.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Howard “Buck” McKeon and Congressman Kevin McCarthy Thursday announced legislation to redesignate the 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 McCarthy in introducing this legislation are 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 agreed that the action would 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:

Antelope Valley Board of Trade Executive Director Vicki Medina  stated: “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 stated: “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 stated: “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.”

Palmdale Chamber of Commerce CEO Jeff McElfresh stated: “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.”


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. Read the full biography of Neil Armstrong at NASA’s website.

(Information via press release from Congressman Howard “Buck” McKeon’s office.)

  7 comments for “McKeon and McCarthy seek to honor astronaut Neil Armstrong

  1. Michael Rives
    December 2, 2012 at 11:47 am

    I ran for Lancaster City Council twice. I advocated the establishment of an in-patient VA facility in the AV. We have an out-patient one on the BLVD. I tried to enlist the support our congressional reps: McKeon and McCathy. McKeon never responded. McCarthy had an intern call me. By the way, the people who owned Lancaster Community Hospital which was vacated to move to Palmdale and persons in the Redevelopment Agency of Lancaster supported me, too. So, when I hear about our wonderful (yeah, sure) reps supporting vets and the military, I remember how they failed to help me in our attempt to help sick and disabled vets.

  2. Forward
    November 30, 2012 at 8:40 pm

    Day late and a dollar short (well not for the Pentagon $$ for ol’ Buckaroo) – Armstrong died August 25, 2012.

    • William
      November 30, 2012 at 8:45 pm

      Exactly what does the ‘Buck doesn’t stop here’ do in D.C.?

      I rarely emailed him in the past because I figured he ignores Democratic imput.

      But, today I emailed him that I totally support the President and Democrats regarding the budget.

      • Forward
        December 1, 2012 at 7:23 pm

        Expect a file e-letter from his honey, addressing nothing that you wrote, but his Xmas list with a current forwarding address.

        Now McCarthy is active in suppressing any compromises with anything in Congress. Didn’t know he was a Tea Party freakalien; we have Bakersfield and the westside of Lancaster to thank for that.

        • William
          December 2, 2012 at 12:16 pm

          Saw in yesterday’s AV Press that they are still counting ballots for the Fox/Smith race and Fox is catching up but nothing here about it.

          I thought Smith had already won.

          It looked like Fox was doing better than Smith in the AV but Smith was doing better in Kern County.

          I hope Fox wins by 1 vote, MINE!!!

          Will the little creep Smith still be on the council or is he waiting?

          • Mike
            December 2, 2012 at 1:44 pm

            As of Fridat afternoon, Fox took the lead. Fearless Deputy Smith will remain as Rex’s bagman.

          • Letlow
            December 2, 2012 at 2:18 pm

            That lead is only for LA County. You have to look at the statewide results, where Ron Smith is up.


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