Congress, NASA

House passes second attempt to rename NASA Dryden

Monday afternoon the House briefly debated and then approved HR 667, legislation that woud rename NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center the Neil A. Armstrong Flight Research Center, while the Western Aeronautical Test Range in California would be renamed the Hugh L. Dryden Aeronautical Test Range. It’s the second attempt by the House to rename the center after the late astronaut, who passed away in August; it passed a similar bill in the final days of the last Congress, but the Senate did not act on it before the previous Congress ended.

Most of the statements on the House floor or subsequent press releases were supportive of the bill. “This bill recognizes the achievements of Neil Armstrong in aerospace travel and space exploration, and emphasizes his affiliation with Kern County,” said the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), whose district includes the center, in a statement after the bill’s passage.

Rep. Donna Edwards (D-MD) offered a somewhat contrarian view during consideration of the bill on the House floor. While supporting the bill, she questioned the decision to honor Armstrong by renaming Dryden. “I doubt in this era of declining funding for NASA that either Neil Armstrong or Hugh Dryden would want a single precious dollar to be spent on a cosmetic facility name change when that money could be spent instead on fulfilling NASA’s mission to reach for the stars,” she said. She also questioned considering the bill just days before sequestration is set to take effect. “I am sad that, here in this Congress, we’re also prepared to cut millions of dollars in a budget that should be spent on the kind of science and exploration that both of these two gentlemen pioneered.”

The legislation passed on a vote of 394-0. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), the ranking member of the House Science Committee, elected to vote “present”; she did not speak during the consideration of the bill nor offered an explanation of her vote.

19 comments to House passes second attempt to rename NASA Dryden

  • James

    The Money that will be used to pay for the name change will no doubt have to come out of the Center Directors operating funds; If Dryden is like other Centers’, that same money is used for internal R&D projects as well as roads and commodes.

    So, in an era where politicians like to spout off about the value of science and technology, they just raided that budget to pay for signage change

    I’m for renaming Congress: How about “The House of Hypocrites”, and “The U.S.Sit on my Hands”

    • common sense

      We need more like him, I vote for Dana Milbank!

      Regardless of one’s political inclination we should all be outraged at this House of incompetent clowns.

  • amightywind

    It is a question of putting our flight research facilities in proper order for posterity. Do the right thing and pass the bill, liberals.

    • E. P. Grondine

      Hi AW –

      I agree with you again. Nobody associates Dryden with test flight, while many associate Armstrong with test flying, and the name change will serve to remind everyone of test flying and test pilots.

      On the other hand, I will never get used to Reagan Airport, which will always be National Airport in my mind.

      • common sense

        This is totally wrong.

        If any one associates Armstrong with something it is with the Moon landing. Nothing else.

        Nobody knows anything about Armstrong past test flying heritage. Only a few remember him, let alone he ever was a test pilot outside of Apollo.

        This is a total waste of money including that Congress is actually spending time on that while sequestration is about to hit us, again. Bunch of losers with nothing to do.

      • amightywind

        You are wise. I’d trade Reagan’s name on National Airport for his visage on Mount Rushmore. Teddy Roosevelt could be easily modified.

        • Ferris Valyn

          Agree to add Barack Obama or Bill Clinton onto Mount Rushmore, and we’ll have a deal.

          • E. P. Grondine

            Damnit, guys, sequestration is going to kick in, so log role at a lower cost level, please.

            How about the Reagan Ranch becoming Reagan National Park, so that the public could share in the enjoyment of a place he loved?

            While Bill Clinton was the greatest President who ever was, and just ask any high school boy about that if you don’t believe me, I will only consider
            re-namings after he’s passed. But I would like to see a JFK dollar coin to go with the Eisenhower half dollar.

  • mike shupp

    I suspect this is “feel good” legislation. Congress isn’t about to give NASA more money or protect it from sequestration, but they want to show the workforce and perhaps their consituents that Congress still thinks kindly towards NASA.

    Just think of that, STEM instructors and Future Explorers Of The Universe. Even when things seem to be at their worst for all of you financially and professionally Congress will take strong steps to show it values your contributions!

    I guess this means nobody ever’s going back to the Moon and build an Armstrong Base.

  • Robert G. Oler

    The GOP House has made a virtue of renaming post offices and other things in lieu of actually doing anything constructive RGO

  • All because Neil was the first out of the hatch and not Buzz.

    • amightywind

      The feat of flying under pressure to avoid a boulder field and land Eagle safely is unparalleled in human history. The Right Stuff indeed. Buzz who?

      • common sense

        Yeah. It was a well known fact among fortune tellers at NASA that the LM pilot would have to perform a stunt for landing.

        AND don’t forget they selected Buzz to go with Neil for his great sense of humor, personability and dancing talents, nothing else.

        But “flying under pressure”? Pressure of what? Seems to me that your knowledge of aviation and flying is commensurate with that of space vehicle design. Watch this. It will give you a better grasp of a form of flying “under pressure”. There are more but this one is pretty cool.

        • E. P. Grondine

          Damnit again, guys.

          Dr. Aldrin is still among the living, dancing and joking with us as well as working on space architectures.

          So would you please leave him out of this discussion?

          • common sense

            What is the point of your comment?

            Buzz Aldrin is a public figure who is invested in the development of space. As such he deserves all the attention we can give to him. The good and the bad.

            This has nothing to do with his status as a hero and a pioneer in aerospace.

            I would love to see him in this discussion.

            • E. P. Grondine

              CS – I am pretty sure that when that time comes something appropriate will be done, and I really prefer to leave that discussion until then.

  • vulture4

    Armstrong was a superb pilot of both aircraft and spacecraft, which was one of the reasons he was chosen. His last-second ejection from the out-of-control LM simulator was one example, as was his decoding the complex problem of the Gemini capsule spinning out of control while moments from blackout due to centrifugal forces. His manual diversion of the real LM around the boulder field and landing on the moon with only seconds of fuel remaining was another. He flew superbly under pressure. But he was not someone who sought personal fame, so probably wouldn’t care about having a center named for him.


    “HR 667, legislation that woud rename NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center the Neil A. Armstrong Flight Research Center…”

    “That would be an honor.”– Neil Armstrong, Tranquility Base, Moon, July 20, 1969

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