Lawmakers Look to Rename NASA Test Facility After Neil Armstrong

Neil Armstrong

U.S. Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) announced Friday that they plan to introduce legislation to rename NASA's Plum Brook Station after the late Neil Armstrong.

NASA's test facility in Sandusky, Ohio, Plum Brook is part of the space agency's Glenn Research Center. It houses unique world-class facilities that conduct critical and innovative ground tests for the international aerospace community.

Armstrong, who was born in Wapakoneta, is noted for being the first person to walk on the moon. Today marks the 50th anniversary of that historic event.

Armstrong also served as a naval aviator, test pilot and university professor.

"From his service as a Navy fighter pilot, to his courageous experiments as a test pilot, to his space exploration and first step on the surface of the Moon, Neil Armstrong left an indelible mark in mankind's history of flight. In all his accomplishments, he considered himself first and foremost a test pilot who pushed the boundaries of what was possible in the air and in space," Portman said.

Armstrong died in 2012 at age 82.

"Neil was first a humble and patriotic Ohioan who believed the honor of serving his country was a reward in and of itself," Portman added. "That's why when I asked him the year before he passed away whether he wanted me to pursue naming Plum Brook after him, he demurred. But he was a strong supporter of Plum Brook Station and the important simulations and testing being done there and I believe it is precisely because of his humility coupled with his unparalleled accomplishments that the renaming is appropriate.

"In consultation with his family, NASA, and Senator Brown, we all believe renaming Plum Brook in his honor -- as one of Ohio's greatest sons -- is a fitting tribute on this 50th anniversary, and a way to help ensure that future generations will be inspired by Neil Armstrong's amazing accomplishments in air and in space."

On July 20, 1969, Armstrong and Apollo 11 Lunar Module pilot Buzz Aldrin became the first people to land on the moon. The next day, they spent 2 1/2 hours outside the spacecraft while Michael Collins remained in lunar orbit in the command module. When Armstrong stepped onto the lunar surface, he famously said: "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind."

Along with Collins and Aldrin, Armstrong was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Richard Nixon.

President Jimmy Carter presented Armstrong with the Congressional Space Medal of Honor in 1978, and Armstrong and his former crewmates received a Congressional Gold Medal in 2009.

"Neil Armstrong wrote a new chapter in human history, and in Ohio's proud story of reaching for the heavens -- a tradition the workers at NASA Glenn's Plum Brook Station continue today," Brown said. "Neil embodied the best in our country -- service, sacrifice, a sense of adventure, and a passion for serving the common good -- and while he's been showered with no shortage of accolades, it's a fitting tribute to rename Plum Brook Station in his honor, as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of his giant leap for humankind."

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