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NASA to Rename Dryden Center in Memory of Neil Armstrong

Feb. 6, 2014

NASA plans to rename its Dryden Flight Research Center in California in honor of the late aerospace pioneer Neil Armstrong, who is best known for his historic feats in space, but who was also an outspoken advocate for general aviation.

Besides serving as a Dryden test pilot from 1955 to 1962, and becoming the first person to walk on the Moon during the Apollo 11 mission in 1969, Armstrong was a longtime business aircraft pilot who set five world records in business jets, including the highest altitude flown in a business jet.

NBAA dedicated its 2012 Convention to Armstrong’s legacy. “Neil Armstrong was a very humble giant. He never sought the spotlight,” NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen said at the time. “But when responsibility called, when challenges arose, Neil Armstrong always stepped forward.” As just one example, Bolen noted, Armstrong was a spokesperson for business aviation’s No Plane No Gain advocacy campaign at a time when the industry needed a person of his caliber to speak out on its behalf.

NASA said it is developing a timeline to redesignate the Dryden Center as the Neil A. Armstrong Flight Research Center. The name of Hugh L. Dryden, a former NASA deputy administrator who died in 1965, will not disappear, however, as the Dryden Center’s Western Aeronautical Test Range will be renamed after him.