EDWARDS AFB – Two aerospace legends and their families were honored at a formal dedication ceremony May 13, marking the rededication of NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center, formerly the Dryden Flight Research Center, at Edwards Air Force Base.
Legislation passed Congress in January to rename the center after the late Neil A. Armstrong, a former research test pilot at the center and the first man to step on the moon during the historic Apollo 11 mission in 1969. Armstrong flew research aircraft, including the rocket-powered X-15s, during his seven-year tenure at the center from 1955 through 1962.
The legislation also directed the naming of the center’s aeronautical test range for the late Hugh L. Dryden, the center’s namesake since 1976. A brilliant aeronautical research engineer for the National Bureau of Standards from the 1920s through the 1940s, Dryden served as director of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics from 1949 to 1958 and NASA’s first deputy administrator from 1958 until his death in 1965.
The renaming ceremony included a replica of the X-15 No. 3 rocket plane and the second Lunar Landing Research Vehicle (LLRV) adjacent to the stage. Armstrong piloted the actual X-15 No. 3 five times and was a key figure in the development of the LLRV and its successor, the Lunar Landing Training Vehicle that prepared astronauts for moon landings. Armstrong credited the LLTV training for his ability to manually land the Eagle lunar module on the moon on July 20, 1969.
Speakers included NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, Armstrong Center Director David McBride, State Senator Steve Knight and Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California’s 23rd District. Armstrong’s sons, Rick and Mark, and Dryden’s grandson Eric also spoke briefly, and Armstrong’s granddaughter, Kali Armstrong, sang the national anthem before a hushed crowd in the center’s main hangar.
The event was capped with a flyover of a NASA F/A-18 research aircraft and the unveiling of the sign bearing Armstrong’s name on the main administration building.
Read the full article at NASA Center Ceremony Honors Two Aerospace Legends.
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