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Author Topic:   NASA Dryden may be named for Neil Armstrong
Robert Pearlman
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posted 04-29-2007 06:13 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The LA Daily News reports that a congressman wants to rename NASA Dryden Flight Research Center after test pilot and Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong, who was the first person to walk on the moon.
The change, supported by some space-advocacy organizations, is proposed in part with the goal of inspiring a new generation of scientists and researchers to explore space.

Rep. Ken Calvert, R-Riverside, said he is drafting legislation to rename the center after Armstrong and still honor Hugh Dryden by naming a test range after him.

Rodina
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posted 04-29-2007 10:05 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rodina     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Can we just decide not to name stuff (let alone rename stuff) in honor of people that are still alive?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 04-29-2007 08:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
While I can certainly appreciate your point, and even agree with it in most cases, there are also benefits to honoring the living.

For example, the students attending the Buzz Aldrin Elementary School in Virginia benefit by Aldrin's annual visits.

Armstrong's legacy in NASA history is not likely to change greatly over the next 100 years, therefore if the intention is to honor Armstrong regardless of the timing, then is there really harm in doing so while he might also enjoy the recognition?

(Although given past comments, Armstrong might be the first to resist such efforts or accolades.)

I do question however, if Hugh Dryden's role in history has significantly changed over the past 31 years since the center's first renaming (March 26, 1976) such that his relevance to modern aeronautics and astronautics merits replacement (or, as Calvert's legislation proposes, moved)?

FFrench
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posted 04-29-2007 08:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Interesting that the story mentions Armstrong's Apollo 11 connection (four times) - which, of course, has little to no direct connection to Dryden. Why this facility, with a fascinating and deeply inspiring history of aviation firsts, would also be chosen for 'inspiring a new generation ... to explore space' seems to be missing the magic and major history of the place. The CSA deputy director, backing the measure, also states it is in "recognition for the first man to walk on the moon."

Reflecting the wider achievements of the Edwards base it resides in, I would have thought Yeager, the recently deceased Crossfield, etc. would be far more fitting - or Mike Adams, the first to die returning from a suborbital spaceflight in the X-15, a very fitting memorial.

Armstrong had an impressive career there, and made some impressive flights, but it seems he would be getting this honor for events that happened later in his career, elsewhere. Good PR for the area, perhaps, but the most fitting choice? I doubt Armstrong himself would place his name at the top of such a list.

If a space connection were truly wished for, Mike Adams, or perhaps Columbia itself, would seem to be more apt choices, in my opinion.

Philip
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posted 04-30-2007 08:47 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Philip   Click Here to Email Philip     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In my opinion it should remain Dryden as it has been for most of its existence. There might be enough other (future) centers to connect with Dr Armstrong's name.

Naraht
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posted 04-30-2007 03:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Naraht   Click Here to Email Naraht     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This just seems silly to me. The space program is about so many more people than astronauts. Better by far to educate people about the important role that engineers like Dryden played in the space program, than to concede to the ignorance of the public by having to name a NASA center after one of the few people of whom they have heard.

Why should Armstrong be considered more inspirational to the "new generation of scientists and researchers" than Dryden anyway? This name change is being discussed as if it's some sort of needed modernization... people forget that the fortieth anniversary of the moon landings isn't that far off!

Larry McGlynn
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posted 04-30-2007 03:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Larry McGlynn   Click Here to Email Larry McGlynn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Wow! I guess you guys should bone up on Dr. Dryden before you throw him to the wolves. He was studying Mach 1 designs in the 1920's at the NACA. He was the Director of NACA. Dryden and von Karmon wrote the "Where We Stand" report on the future of high speed flight and rocket technology for the government based upon his debriefing of the Operation Paperclip engineers.

Dr. Dryden was the investgator and instigator of many high speed test projects. He was responsible for the initial designs for the X-15 project.

Don't tell Dr. Seamans that Dryden doesn't deserve to maintain the name on HSTC. Seamans said to me personally that Dryden was the glue that held Webb and Seamans together until his death. Dr. Seamans wrote about it in "Apollo, The Tough Decisions."

Webb relied Dryden's technical expertise to develop NASA's response to Kennedy's questions on how to win the "Space Race."

In the meantime, Armstrong flew the X-15 a few times between 1960 and 1962 at HSTC. I think there are more deserving test pilots at the HSTC and they only got streets named after them.

Mr. Armstrong has accomplished great things, but to remove Dr. Dryden's name from the HSTC, someone is going to have to do more.

You might as well as change the name of the Langley center first. Hey, I would change the name of Langley to Dryden to honor him in a more appropriate manner.

Remember that you have to study your history. You won't know where you are going, if you don't know where you have been. They are still using Dryden's research in today's high speed world.

KC Stoever
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posted 04-30-2007 04:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for KC Stoever   Click Here to Email KC Stoever     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As much as I admire Armstrong, I'd have to agree with others here that we slight history by renaming historic places in a way that slights or forgets the great drivers -- like Hugh Dryden -- of ingenuity and achievement.

Naraht
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posted 04-30-2007 04:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Naraht   Click Here to Email Naraht     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Larry McGlynn:
Remember that you have to study your history. You won't know where you are going, if you don't know where you have been. They are still using Dryden's research in today's high speed world.

Very, very well said. I wish that I had been more articulate, but you have done an excellent job of expressing my feelings as well as your own.

art540
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posted 04-30-2007 04:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for art540   Click Here to Email art540     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I might ask who has the time and inclination to think of new names for established centers? Hasn't Armstrong received sufficient recognition and honors? The worst case in history for this type of activity was the 1963 renaming of Cape Canaveral to Cape Kennedy.

mjanovec
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posted 04-30-2007 05:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The question has to be whether the proposed name change has anything to do with Armstrong's history as a test pilot at Edwards...in which case, there are many test pilots more deserving of the honor...or is it simply motivated by the fact that he made the first footstep on the lunar surface? I'm guessing it's probably the later.

I shouldn't think that the name for a facilty would really be the motivating factor for people to explore space. Exploring space, by itself, is already a pretty big motivation for those inclined for such careers. As such, I don't see any reason to insult Dryden's family by shifting his name to some test range and giving Neil yet another place named after him.

I suspect Neil himself will step up soon and graciously oppose this plan.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 04-30-2007 06:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Let's look at this another way: politics (after all, it is a congressman making the suggestion that the center be renamed). In the past, whenever talk surfaced of possibly shutting down a NASA center, the top four rumored candidates were usually Langley, Ames, Lewis and Dryden. The commonality among those four? The impression, if not reality, that a majority of their research was focused on aeronautics.

Today, more than ever, NASA's streamlined focus is on space exploration and as Griffin said early in his tenure: if you aren't contributing to the Vision, then you should start looking for employment elsewhere.

Lewis changed its name to Glenn in 1999, and without negating any of the good space work they were doing before, can we absolutely discount that their new space-sounding title didn't have the slightest of difference in getting people (read: Washington) to start thinking of them as a space center? Today, Glenn has a major role in Constellation, managing Orion's service module and the test articles for the first Ares launches.

NASA's budget isn't getting any larger and for the other centers to compete against KSC and JSC (and to a lesser degree, Marshall and Goddard), they need to do whatever they can to draw attention to their space strengths.

Is this proposed Armstrong re-branding part of that effort by Dryden?

kyra
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posted 04-30-2007 07:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for kyra   Click Here to Email kyra     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
They should simply call the centers by what their functions are - stop putting any one individual on a pedestal.

This would:

  1. Not belittle the thousands of workers that made the dreams into reality by giving the name to one person.
  2. Be very nostalgic
  3. Make it apparent to congressional observers and public what the center actually does - without being confused with a personal name that has a connotation that may or may not reflect the centers' goal or a national goal.
Of course JSC old school (MSFC Manned Spaceflight Center) - would be called NASA's Human Spaceflight Center. KSC - Space Launch Center, etc.

art540
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posted 04-30-2007 08:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for art540   Click Here to Email art540     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Another recent move appears to be the naming of US aircraft carriers (CVN) after politicians instead of naval battles or famous naval ships. I am really put off when the families accept this practice.

But I live in a traditional and romantic world...

Larry McGlynn
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posted 05-01-2007 07:23 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Larry McGlynn   Click Here to Email Larry McGlynn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA is not going to close down their only viable test flight center. Dryden may suffer cuts like every other center or division (like the life sciences), but it won't be closed.

Griffin already said, that he has to maintain aeronautical research. It is a congressional mandate.

This bill is just an easy thing for the Honorable Congressman Calvert to put his name on and has no real meaning.

Scott
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posted 05-01-2007 08:11 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott   Click Here to Email Scott     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Larry McGlynn:
This bill is just an easy thing for the Honorable Congressman Calvert to put his name on and has no real meaning.
I think Larry is right.

Also, I don't agree with changing the name of a place that has already been explicitly named for someone - in this case Hugh Dryden. It's perfectly fine IMO to rename (as an example) the Intercontinental Airport here in Houston to George Bush Intercontinental Airport, but if a place is already named for someone I believe that naming should be permanent.

kr4mula
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posted 05-01-2007 01:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for kr4mula   Click Here to Email kr4mula     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by kyra:
Of course JSC old school (MSFC Manned Spaceflight Center) - would be called NASA's Human Spaceflight Center.
Not to nitpick, but obviously nitpicking: JSC used to be MSC - the Manned Spacecraft Center (not MSFC).

And I feel it's distasteful and disrespectful to the persons for which facilities have been previously named. Obviously those individuals did something in the that past that earned them the respect and honor of having a major facility named after them. Just because most people, especially historically illiterate congressmen, don't remember who they were or what they did, doesn't mean they should be stripped of that honor. If these changes go forward, how does the government become any different from sports teams and cities that sell stadium naming rights to the highest bidder? Only here the returns are in political capital instead of cash. Maybe they'd be better off naming Dryden the "George W. Bush Flight Test Center" so they'd get a bit more funding

mjanovec
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posted 05-01-2007 01:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
NASA's budget isn't getting any larger and for the other centers to compete against KSC and JSC (and to a lesser degree, Marshall and Goddard), they need to do whatever they can to draw attention to their space strengths.

If that's the case, I would suggest they just rename each facility after the current leaders in Congress who play the largest role in getting NASA the funding it needs. Then just keep changing the names as congressmen come and go. Or change the names to favor the congressmen who vote for the largest budget increases.

If the names of the facilities are to be driven by budget concerns, we might as well not beat around the bush and do it properly.

Henk Boshuijer
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posted 05-04-2007 07:26 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Henk Boshuijer   Click Here to Email Henk Boshuijer     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Don't change names. Mr. Dryden also deserves credit for his part in history. Maybe call the first permanent moonbase "Armstrong"... That would be very appropriate.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-01-2007 10:52 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
California Space Authority release
Rep. Calvert Introduces Legislation to Add Neil Armstrong's name to NASA Center

In a bipartisan effort, 33 members of Congress jointly introduced legislation on July 31 that would add the name of Neil Armstrong to NASA Dryden Flight Research Center. The legislation would redesignate the center as NASA Neil A. Armstrong Flight Research Center and name the test range NASA Hugh L. Dryden Aeronautical Test Range. While Armstrong is best known as the first human to step onto the Moon, he is also a former test pilot at NASA Dryden for seven years.

The legislative effort was led by California Congressman Ken Calvert who was joined by 23 members of the California Congressional delegation — Reps. Adam Schiff, Kevin McCarthy, Buck McKeon, Lois Capps, Zoe Lofgren, David Dreier, Wally Herger, Dana Rohrabacher, John Campbell, John Doolittle, Devin Nunes, Jerry Lewis, Gary Miller, Daniel Lungren, George Radanovich, Elton Gallegly, Howard Berman, Edward Royce, Mary Bono, Darrell Issa, Brian Bilbray, Dennis Cardoza and Jim Costa.

In addition, six members of the Ohio Congressional delegation -- Reps. Jim Jordan, David Hobson, John Boehner, Steven LaTourette, Ralph Regula, and Jean Schmidt — as well as Reps. Nick Lampson (Texas), Ralph Hall (Texas), Tom Feeney (Florida) and Madeleine Bordallo (Guam) are original co-sponsors.

mikepf
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posted 08-01-2007 01:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mikepf   Click Here to Email mikepf     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
My representative is on the list. I plan to write to her and ask her to not to support this idea. I'm pretty sure there are one or two other things our "leaders" should be spending their time on. No disrespect to Neil, but Dryden was one of the giants on who's shoulders he stands. The "new generation of scientists and researchers" would benefit from asking the question "Who is this Dryden guy?"

FFrench
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posted 08-01-2007 01:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I agree with you, Mike.

My Congressman on that list, Issa, has a website where a letter can be written and submitted electronically (including asking for a reply). This will be easy for many of us to do who feel the same way.

As I stated earlier in the thread, my thought is not that Armstrong is undeserving of such an honor, but there are many others with far more direct links to that particular facility who would deserve it more. And more importantly, as Larry so well put it, Hugh Dryden was an enormous part of aviation and space history. To remove his name seems more of a dishonor to him.

I'd like to suggest that those of you in these Congressional districts write something via their websites - it only takes a few seconds (it wouldn't hurt to do it even if you are not in their district). And if anyone feels they wrote a particularly well-crafted letter, to post it here so we can all see it. For mine, I picked some of Larry's excellent points above to add in.

Lastly, I hope that Armstrong himself recognizes the dishonoring of Hugh Dryden that such a change would suggest, and turns down the suggestion before it progresses any further.

FFrench
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posted 08-01-2007 02:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Congressman Calvert, who proposed the legislation, has a website here. He does not accept electronic mail from outside of his district, but I'm writing a letter, the mailing address for which can be found on the site.

art540
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posted 08-01-2007 02:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for art540   Click Here to Email art540     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
How many "places" now bear Armstrong's name? This effort is misguided much like the Cape Canaveral name change in 1963 to Cape Kennnedy.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-01-2007 02:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A question for those who object to the renaming as proposed:
The legislation would redesignate the center as NASA Neil A. Armstrong Flight Research Center and name the test range NASA Hugh L. Dryden Aeronautical Test Range.
Would an amenable compromise be to reverse above, i.e. the NASA Neil A. Armstrong Aeronautical Test Range at NASA Hugh L. Dryden Research Center?

FFrench
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posted 08-01-2007 02:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That would seem perfectly reasonable.

Lunar rock nut
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posted 08-01-2007 05:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Lunar rock nut   Click Here to Email Lunar rock nut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Now that is an acceptable solution that should make everyone happy!

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-02-2007 02:40 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
For reference, here is Representative Ken Calvert's press release about the Dryden/Armstrong name change legislation:
Rep. Calvert Introduces Legislation Recognizing Two Pioneers Of Innovation And Exploration

Bill Re-Designates Government Property After Neil Armstrong and Hugh Dryden

Yesterday Congressman Ken Calvert (R-CA-44) and other lead sponsors Kevin McCarthy (R-CA-22), Howard "Buck" McKeon (R-CA-25), and Adam Schiff (D-CA-29) introduced legislation to re-designate NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center as the Neil A. Armstrong Flight Research Center and the Western Aeronautical Test Range as the Hugh L. Dryden Aeronautical Test Range.

"Southern California is an integral part of our country's space exploration and aeronautical history," said Rep. Calvert, the former Chairman of the Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics. "It is important to recognize both the NASA Flight Research Center and the Western Aeronautical Test Range for their contributions and what better way to do that then to associate them with two great American space and aeronautics pioneers; Neil Armstrong and Hugh Dryden."

"It is fitting that we pay tribute to these two American heroes who contributed to the great success of the American space program," said Rep. McCarthy. "Neil Armstrong and Dr. Hugh Dryden embody the innovative spirit that continues to move NASA forward, inspiring the next generation of aerospace pioneers and advancing our legacy as the global leader in space exploration."

"Developing the United States space program has become one of the greatest endeavors this country has undertaken, so it is with tremendous honor that I help memorialize two of our most notable aeronautical contributors, Neil A. Armstrong and Dr. Hugh L. Dryden," Rep. McKeon noted. "The success of these two men helped advance NASA to be one of the finest exploration programs in the world."

"Neil Armstrong and Hugh Dryden are true American Heroes," said Adam Schiff. "Naming NASA's Flight Research Center and the Western Aeronautical Test Range after these men is not only a fitting way to honor them but it is a great way to help inspire our next generation to strive to follow in their footsteps."

The legislation, H.R. 3245, will accomplish three important goals: (1) to honor Neil A. Armstrong, the first human to walk on the Moon and a former test pilot who worked at the center from 1955 to 1962; (2) to emphasize the contributions of that center to the agency's current space exploration mission; and (3) to memorialize the extraordinary career of Dr. Hugh L. Dryden by naming the aeronautical test range, approximately 12,000 square miles of special use airspace in his honor.

The Dryden Flight Research Center, located at Edwards, California, is NASA's primary center for atmospheric flight research and operations. NASA Dryden is also critical in carrying out the agency's missions of space exploration, space operations, scientific discovery, and aeronautical research and development. Before Armstrong became an astronaut in 1962, he served for seven years as a test pilot at what was then called the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) High-Speed Flight Station. The station was later established as a NASA center and eventually named after Hugh L. Dryden, one of America's most prominent aeronautical engineers. By the time he became an astronaut, Armstrong amassed 2,400 hours of flying time as a test pilot there, about 900 of it in jets.

Dr. Hugh L. Dryden, was Director of NACA from 1947 until the creation of NASA in 1958, and was named Deputy Administrator of the new aerospace agency when it was created in response to the Sputnik crisis. As an aeronautical scientist and engineer, Dr. Dryden made great contributions to our nation and the world in fields such as aerodynamics research and rocket plane research and testing.

leslie
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posted 08-02-2007 04:51 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for leslie   Click Here to Email leslie     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I must be missing something here. Dr Dryden was a true pioneer, like writing papers on areofoils near the speed of sound in 1920 etc etc...

Some might consider it crass to change the name after all these years, his name was good enough originally so what has changed?

hlbjr
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posted 08-02-2007 10:35 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for hlbjr   Click Here to Email hlbjr     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Go get 'em Larry. Your points are well taken. I'm backing you in this race!

kr4mula
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posted 08-02-2007 12:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for kr4mula   Click Here to Email kr4mula     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I faxed a letter over to the Congressman Boehner about the issues, since he was one of Ohio's sponsors and I'm his constituent. I suspect he's not going to much care, especially since Armstrong lives in our area and is a fellow Ohioan.

While I'm opposed to these renamings, as I said when this issue first was floated a while back, at least Armstrong actually worked out at Dryden, unlike when Lewis became Glenn. I say that NASA should adopt the Air Force standards for renaming bases. They only do so with the permission of the family the base is currently named for. They don't feel that whatever honors earned having a base named for them get tarnished merely because time has passed. I heard (maybe on here) that the Lewis family was none too pleased with that change and asked for all their artifacts back, some of which NASA had lost (oops). I mentioned the Air Force policy to Boehner and offered the excellent compromise suggested by Rob.

We'll see what happens.

machbusterman
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posted 08-02-2007 01:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for machbusterman   Click Here to Email machbusterman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Personally, I think its a disgrace to change the name... everyone knows it as the Dryden Flight Research Center (DFRC) and I firmly believe it should continue to be named after Hugh Dryden.

If they want to honor Armstrong then why not name a building after him? There were finer research pilots at the NACA than Armstrong.... Stan Butchart, Joe Walker, Scott Crossfield, Bob Champine, Bill Dana... so why name the centre after a guy that clearly had many peers that were more competent in the pilots seat.

I've heard X-15 program members say that Armstrong's X-15 flights were usually WAY off the profile that was created for each of his flights. Walker and Rushworth were by most accounts the pilots that flew closest to the filed flight profile.

kr4mula
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posted 01-02-2009 12:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for kr4mula   Click Here to Email kr4mula     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
After reading something mentioning Hugh Dryden today, I was reminded of this issue from late 2007. Obviously the renaming has not (yet) come to pass, but does anyone know what actually happened with it? I'd be very curious to know which Congressmen, if any, changed their minds about supporting the effort.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 11-29-2012 01:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Congressman McKeon release
McKeon and McCarthy Seek to Honor Astronaut Neil A. Armstrong

Congressman Howard "Buck" McKeon and Congressman Kevin McCarthy today (Nov. 29, 2012) announced legislation to redesignate the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) Dryden Flight Research Center as the Neil A. Armstrong Flight Research Center and the Western Aeronautical Test Range as the Hugh L. Dryden Aeronautical Test Range. Joining Congressman McCarthy in introducing this legislation are Congressman Buck McKeon, Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, Congressman Ken Calvert, Congressman Lamar Smith, Congressman Steven Palazzo, and Congressman Adam Schiff.

Congressman Buck McKeon issued the following statement:

"I will never forget watching Neil Armstrong take those first steps on the Moon. 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. 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."

Congressman Kevin McCarthy issued the following statement:

"Today, I introduced legislation to rename the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center in honor of Neil A. Armstrong," said Congressman McCarthy. "This bill recognizes the achievements of Neil Armstrong in aerospace travel and space exploration, and highlights his important connection to Kern County. He was a great American who served as a test pilot and began training for his famous astronaut career here in Eastern Kern. Later, he oversaw aeronautical research programs at the Center and spearheaded technological innovation that continues to this day. This bill also continues to recognize Hugh Dryden by renaming the Center's test range in his honor. Eastern Kern continues to remain a hub of innovation in space exploration, aeronautical research and scientific discovery, and I look forward to more groundbreaking achievements in the future."

Local leaders agree that this action will enhance the profile of the NASA flight research center and recognize the accomplishments Neil Armstrong and Hugh Dryden achieved during their time in Eastern Kern:

Antelope Valley Board of Trade Executive Director Vicki Medina - "Our organization has been has been a supporter of the flight test missions at Edwards since the late 1950s. To that effect, we have seen numerous name changes of the NASA facility over the years, and we feel that the timing is right to move the center into a new era. In light of NASA's current mission to 'extend the frontiers of space exploration, scientific discovery, and aeronautics research' we can think of no other person than Neil Armstrong whose name has the ability to inspire the next generation of researchers, scientists and space explorers."

Antelope Valley Chambers of Commerce President and CEO Ramon Ortega - "The Antelope Valley Chambers of Commerce wholly supports your efforts in bringing forth this appropriate piece of legislation. Neil Armstrong and NASA Dryden are both very tied to each other and to the Antelope Valley. Considering the current status of our local economy, and the need to preserve and promote this region's aerospace legacy, we can only see opportunity in this endeavor."

Greater Antelope Valley Economic Alliance President Mel Layne - "Because of Neil Armstrong's distinguished career locally and internationally, it seems only fitting to memorialize his accomplishment by naming the NASA Flight Research Center the Neil A. Armstrong Flight Research Center and the Western Aeronautical Test Range as the Hugh L. Dryden Aeronautical Test Range."

Mojave Chamber of Commerce President Cathy Hansen - "Neil Armstrong has left many footprints in Mojave, his friendship is treasured by those who knew him and memories of his flights across the skies of Mojave still echo in aerospace history."

Mojave Air and Space Port Chief Executive Officer Stuart Witt - "Mojave Air & Space Port strongly supports a Resolution in favor of the proposed name change of the current NASA Dryden Flight Research Center to the Neil A. Armstrong Flight Research Center and Western Aeronautical Test Range to the Hugh L. Dryden Aeronautical Test Range. It is most appropriate that Astronaut Neil A. Armstrong be honored and memorialized in this way with his noted lifelong accomplishments as the first human to walk on the moon and as a former test pilot who worked at the Dryden Flight Research Center for seven years (1955-1962) as well as emphasis on the contributions of the center to the agency's space exploration mission."

Edwards Air Force Base Civilian-Military Support Group President Danny Bazzell - "Edwards AFB Civilian-Military Support Group joins with our legislative offices and other community organizations in supporting the proposed name change to the Neil Armstrong Flight Research Center and Hugh L. Dryden Aeronautical Test Range."

Palmdale Chamber of Commerce CEO Jeff McElfresh - "The Palmdale Chamber of Commerce is supportive of a name change to NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center. A change in name to the Neil A. Armstrong Flight Research Center brings familiarity to NASA and in name alone will lend itself to increased interest in NASA's mission at the Flight Research Center."

Background:

  • The legislation redesignates the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) Dryden Flight Research Center as the Neil A. Armstrong Flight Research Center and the 12,000 square mile Western Aeronautical Test Range as the Hugh L. Dryden Aeronautical Test Range.

  • The bill would honor Neil A. Armstrong, the first human to walk on the Moon and a former test pilot who worked at the center for seven years (1955-1962), recognize the contributions of the Center to NASA's space exploration mission, and continue to recognize the extraordinary career of aeronautical engineer and former NASA Deputy Administrator Hugh L. Dryden.

  • The re-designation of the NASA Flight Research Center and the Test Range is strongly supported by leading members of the aerospace industry and local community, including the Antelope Valley Board of Trade, Antelope Valley Chambers of Commerce, Mojave Chamber of Commerce, Palmdale Chamber of Commerce, and Mojave Air and Space Port.

  • Neil A. Armstrong's career was closely tied to NASA's Flight Research Center. Before Armstrong became an astronaut in 1962, he served for seven years as a test pilot (1955-1962) at the Center, which was then called the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics High-Speed Flight Station. By the time he became an astronaut, Armstrong amassed 2,400 hours of flying time as a test pilot there. While still a test pilot at the Center in the early 1960s, Armstrong was part of a team that conceptualized the Lunar Landing Research Vehicle which helped create the training vehicle Armstrong and other Apollo commanders use to train on to land on the moon.

chet
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Posts: 1287
From: Beverly Hills, Calif.
Registered: Nov 2000

posted 11-30-2012 02:57 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for chet   Click Here to Email chet     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm not sure Armstrong would embrace this idea. (Was his family even consulted about this name-change legislation?)

Rather than "demoting" Dryden, why not simply honor Armstrong by naming the test range after him (wasn't he, after all, a Mojave test pilot early in his career)?

(Whoops, sorry... didn't see this suggestion was made above by Robert way back in 2007!)

kr4mula
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Posts: 611
From: Cinci, OH
Registered: Mar 2006

posted 11-30-2012 12:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for kr4mula   Click Here to Email kr4mula     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I still feel the same about this issue as I did 5 years ago. I made the point that Chet just mentioned in my letter to Congressman Boehner: Armstrong himself likely would've been embarassed by this action. He was keenly aware of his aeronautics history and of Hugh Dryden, having worked for the man in the NACA, and certainly would not want his own name supplanting Dryden's.

I'll take some consolation in the fact that Boehner was a co-sponsor of the original bill back in '07, but is no longer listed as such on the current one. Maybe this one constituent helped to change his mind.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 01-01-2013 03:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Space Politics reports that HR 6612, legislation to rename NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center after Neil Armstrong, was approved by the House of Representatives.
The bill, taken up under suspension of the rules, passed easily in a roll call vote Monday evening, 404-0. The bill still has to be passed by the Senate before new Congress convenes on Thursday.

GoesTo11
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posted 01-01-2013 03:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for GoesTo11   Click Here to Email GoesTo11     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Re-name Dryden for Neil Armstrong? Yea or nay?

I'm opposed.

I certainly mean no disrespect to the late Dr. Armstrong, and I've no doubt that this proposal by several members of Congress is well-meant... but I just can't get on board with it. For all Armstrong's accomplishments as a test pilot, Dryden hardly marks the summit of his career. Why not Yeager, White, or Crossfield?

So much aviation history was made in the High Desert under the Dryden name. This strikes me as an empty, grandstanding political gesture.

APG85
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posted 01-01-2013 07:20 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for APG85     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I've always felt that once something is named for a person, it should retain that name... permanently. Just my opinion...

chet
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From: Beverly Hills, Calif.
Registered: Nov 2000

posted 01-01-2013 10:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for chet   Click Here to Email chet     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by GoesTo11:
This strikes me as an empty, grandstanding political gesture.

Bingo!


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