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Congress renames NASA Dryden Center after Neil Armstrong

The Armstrong Center.
The Armstrong Center.

The Senate just passed a bill naming NASA's premier flight test facility, the Dryden Center, in honor of Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the Moon. The building complex will now be known as the the NASA Neil A. Armstrong Flight Research Center. The surrounding area on the property will now be known as the Hugh L. Dryden Aeronautical Test Range.

This is just the latest honor for Armstrong, the always humble American hero who shunned the limelight in life, but who has been showered with public honors after his death in August, 2012.

For the record, the House of Representatives passed a similar resolution in February of 2013. In all, the third time was the charm as this was the third effort to rename the Dryden Center in honor of Armstrong since 2007.

Speaking on the renaming, Congressman Lamar Smith (R-Texas), one of the bill's eight co-sponsors in the House, said that "Neil Armstrong turned 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."

Before he became an astronaut, Armstrong served as a research pilot flying out of the center that will now bear his name, known during Armstrong's 1955-1962 test pilot tenure as the High-Speed Flight Station. It was also here that Armstrong was part of the team that conceptualized the Lunar Landing Research Vehicle, which helped create the training vehicle that later he and other Apollo astronauts used to practice landing on the moon.

The Armstrong Center is located at Edwards Air Force Base and is NASA's premiere facility for atmospheric flight research and flight operations. Additionally, the center was designated the primary alternate landing site for the space shuttle and is now managing launch abort system testing and integration for NASA's new Orion space capsule.

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