NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center in Edwards, Calif., will be renamed to honor Neil Armstrong, commander of the Apollo 11 mission and the first person to walk on the Moon, if a bill before Congress becomes law.
Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) introduced the measure Nov. 29 with several co-sponsors, including Reps. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), the next chairman of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, and Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), who serves on the House Appropriations commerce, justice, science subcommittee that funds NASA.
Local leaders say that renaming NASA Dryden after Armstrong, an accomplished test pilot who died in August at age 82, would enhance the profile of the aeronautical flight research center. Vicki Medina, executive director of the Antelope Valley Board of Trade, said in a statement that “the timing is right to move the center into a new era” by naming it after Armstrong, who served as a test pilot and began his astronaut training there.
Under McCarthy’s bill, the Dryden Flight Research Center would be renamed the Neil A. Armstrong Flight Research Center and the co-located Western Aeronautical Test Range would become the Hugh L. Dryden Aeronautical Test Range.
Dryden was the director of NASA’s predecessor organization, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, from 1947 until 1958, when he became the deputy director of the newly founded NASA.