WASHINGTON – On Monday, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously approved a bill to rename the Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base for late astronaut Neil A. Armstrong — the first man to walk on the moon.
The measure (H.R. 667), is a culmination of a six-year effort sponsored by Congressman Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, who is a member of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee
The bill also renames the surrounding Western Aeronautical Test Range after Hugh L. Dryden to continue honoring the aeronautical engineer.
Armstrong, who died at age 82 on Aug. 25, 2012 from complications resulting from cardiovascular procedures, commanded the historic landing of the Apollo 11 spacecraft on the moon in 1969, was no stranger to the Tehachapi area.
He and many other astronauts have flown sailplanes at the Skylark North Glider School at Mountain Valley Airport south of town as part of their NASA training.
McCarthy, whose district incorporates the NASA installation and Antelope Valley communities as far south as Lancaster, pointed out the effort and praises the the Antelope Valley Board of Trade in helping to bring the name change to fruition.
"The Antelope Valley has a rich and long history of aerospace accomplishments, and the Antelope Valley Board of Trade has been a strong proponent of the effort to recognize two of our aerospace legends - Neil Armstrong and Hugh Dryden – at the site where they made history,” McCarthy said. “I am proud to work with AVBOT on this issue and look forward to Senate action on this legislation.”
Dryden is NASA's primary center for atmospheric flight research and operations and was the primary alternate landing site for the space shuttle and is now part of NASA's Orion project — the next-generation multi-purpose spacecraft.