The House has approved a bill to rename a NASA flight center in California for the late astronaut Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon.
The measure, which passed on a 394-0 vote, would rename the Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., as the Neil A. Armstrong Flight Research Center.
Armstrong, who died in 2012, commanded the historic landing of the Apollo 11 spacecraft on the moon in 1969. He made “one giant leap for mankind” with a small step onto the moon. He was also a test pilot who worked at the center for seven years.
“I will never forget watching Neil Armstrong take those first steps on the Moon,” said Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon, R-Calif. “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.”
McKeon joined fellow representative Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., in introducing the bill. The center falls in both Congressional districts.
“Neil Armstrong turned that dream into reality by making that ‘one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind’ on another world almost 240,000 miles away,” McKeon continued.
The bill would also rename the center’s test range for the late Hugh L. Dryden, former NASA deputy administrator.
“Not many people know the relationship between these two men. Hugh Dryden was the visionary behind NASA’s X-15 rocket plane and the Apollo program. Neil Armstrong was the one who flew the spacecraft that Dryden envisioned,” said Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, chairman of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee.
“Hugh Dryden recommended to President John F. Kennedy that the goal of putting a man on the Moon within 10 years was achievable and something the American people could rally behind,” said Smith. “Hugh Dryden was not able to see his dream become reality, as he died in 1965. And unfortunately, Neil Armstrong passed away last August. It is important for us to honor both men’s legacies by naming the Flight Research Center after Neil Armstrong and the surrounding Test Range after Hugh Dryden.
“With this bill, we re-affirm that America is filled with dreamers like Hugh Dryden, and doers like Neil Armstrong, who—working together—can ‘shoot for the Moon.’”
McKeon praised the work the center does in research and innovation.
“The Flight Research Center is a source of great pride for the Antelope Valley and is an epicenter for research and innovation,” he said. “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.”
The measure goes to the Senate for consideration.