Let’s Keep Dryden

Congressman Kevin McCarthy has recently introduced a bill (HR 6612) to change the name of the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center in California’s Mojave Desert to “Neil A. Armstrong Flight Research Center”.

Although I greatly admire Neil Armstrong (who doesn’t?), I am opposed to the proposed name change. One reason is tradition, and another: The world does not need one more reminder of the first man on the moon. Every literate person knows who he was. But we should keep a reminder of the very significant and essential contributions of space pioneer Hugh L. Dryden, with whom the general public is less familiar. (Armstrong himself would be the first to point out that getting to the moon was a gigantic team effort and impossible to achieve without the likes of Dryden).

In an article posted on the Smithsonian Air & Space magazine’s web site, Paul Spudis makes a much more informed plea for Dryden than I ever could. Please read it here:

Hugh L. Dryden and the American Space Program

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