McCarthy leads House bill to honor Armstrong

Rebecca Neipp

News Review Staff Writer

Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s effort to redesignate NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center in memory of Neil A. Armstrong has gained the support of his peers as well as commerce leaders in the region.

McCarthy noted that the bill also continues to recognize Hugh Dryden by renaming the center’s test range in his honor.

“This bill recognizes the achievements of Neil Armstrong in aerospace travel and space exploration, and highlights his important connection to Kern County,” said McCarthy. “He was a great American who served as a test pilot and began training for his famous astronaut career here in Eastern Kern.”

McCarthy said that Armstrong later oversaw aeronautical research programs at the center and spearheaded technological innovation that still continues.

“Eastern Kern continues to remain a hub of innovation in space exploration, aeronautical research and scientific discovery, and I look forward to more groundbreaking achievement in the future.”

“I will never forget watching Neil Armstrong take those first steps on the moon,” said Rep. Buck McKeon, who is among those joining McCarthy in the introduction of the bill. “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 an order for the United States.

“Neil Armstrong braved uncharted territory of space exploration and paved the way for revolutionary scientific discovery. 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.”

Leaders of the Antelope Valley’s Board of Trade, chamber of commerce and economic alliance have endorsed the effort, each citing Armstrong’s important contributions and the positive effects they have had on the region.

“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,” said Cathy Hansen, president of the Mojave Chamber of Commerce.

Stuart Witt, CEO of Mojave Air and Space Port, said the installation strongly supports the name change.

“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 as well as emphasis on the contributions of the center to the agency’s space exploration mission.”

Story First Published: 2012-12-05