Thursday, February 28, 2013

Honouring a Hero

The US House of Representatives unanimously passed a bill late Monday to rename NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center located at Edwards Air Force Base in Southern California to the Neil A Armstrong Flight Research Center. At the same time, the Western Aeronautical Test Range will be renamed to honor aeronautical engineer Hugh L Dryden.

"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 Texas Congressman Lamar Smith, the chairman of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee. "The rest is history. President Kennedy grabbed Hugh Dryden's idea and addressed a joint session of Congress the very next month. The Apollo program was the brainchild of Hugh Dryden."

Armstrong was, of course, the first person to ever step foot on the moon. Few people know, however, that from 1955-1962, he was employed as a test pilot at the center, which was then called the High-Speed Flight Station. It was here that he flew Dryden’s X-15 rocketplane. During this time, he also helped to develop the concept for the Lunar Landing Research Vessel, which eventually led to the development of the training vehicle that he, along with Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins, used to practice for the Moon Landing.

"Dryden was not able to see his dream become reality, as he died in 1965," added Smith. "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."

Neil Armstrong died of complications from a cardiovascular procedure on August 25, 2012. This is at least the third time since 2007 that such a bill has been passed in the House of Representatives, and the first since his passing. The next step is for it to go before the United States Senate, let’s hope it finally passes.

The image below is an aerial view of the Dryden Flight Research Center.

For further reading go to:

Image Credit: NASA

No comments: