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.)