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House passes bill to rename NASA facility for Armstrong
Posted: December 31, 2012

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The U.S. House of Representatives on Monday passed a bill that would rename NASA's aeronautics facility at Edwards Air Force Base in California after Neil Armstrong, the first man to set foot on the moon.

Credit: NASA
Armstrong, who piloted the Eagle to the Sea of Tranquility on July 20, 1969, passed away in August after complications from cardiovascular surgery. He was 82.

One of the most famous men of the 20th century, Armstrong was born August 5, 1930 in Wapakoneta, Ohio. He was a naval aviator in the Korean War, flew the X-15, served as command pilot for Gemini 8 in 1966 and led Apollo 11 in 1969.

Under the House bill sponsored by Rep. Kevin McCarthy, NASA's Hugh L. Dryden Flight Research Center in Edwards, California, would be redesignated as the Neil A. Armstrong Flight Research Center.

The House passed the measure 404-0. But the Senate has to act before the renaming moves forward.

The site supported 54 space shuttle landings and currently manages the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) program, which is a collaborative project between NASA and the German Aerospace Center to fly a telescope aboard a Boeing 747 aircraft.

NASA also performs its aeronautical research and development activities at the center, which is located at the expansive Edwards Air Force Base. The associated range would be redesignated as the Hugh L. Dryden Aeronautical Test Range under the House bill.

Dryden was a revered engineer who led aeronautical research at NACA before the agency became NASA, then served as its first deputy administrator before his death in 1965.

Rep. McCarthy's California district encompasses the center. He was joined by seven co-sponsors, Reps. Ken Calvert, Buck McKeon, Dana Rohrabacher and Adam Schiff of California, Ralph Hall and Lamar Smith of Texas, and Steven Palazzo of Mississippi.