Navy honors Armstrong
11:55 am
Mon September 24, 2012

Navy names ship after Neil Armstrong

The U.S. Navy is naming its newest research vessel after the late astronaut Neil Armstrong. The R/V Neil Armstrong is the first Armstrong-class Auxiliary General Oceanographic Research (AGOR) ship.

US Navy Lieutenant Commander Paul Nagy, USS Philippine Sea, and Carol Armstrong, wife of Neil Armstrong, commit the cremains of Neil Armstrong to sea during a burial at sea service held onboard the USS Philippine Sea (CG 58), Friday, Sept. 14, 2012, in the Atlantic Ocean.
Credit Bill Ingalls / NASA

The first man to walk on the moon was a Navy man before joining NASA as an engineer, test pilot, astronaut and administrator. As a naval aviator, Armstrong flew nearly 80 combat missions during the Korean War. 

Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus says, "Neil Armstrong rightly belongs to the ages as the man who first walked on the moon. While he was a true pioneer of space exploration and science, he was also a combat-proven naval aviator. Naming this class of ships and this vessel after Neil Armstrong honors the memory of an extraordinary individual, but more importantly, it reminds us all to embrace the challenges of exploration and to never stop discovering."

Armstrong's widow, Carol, will serve as the ship's sponsor.

From a Navy news release:

The Armstrong-class AGOR ship will be a modern oceanographic research platform equipped with acoustic equipment capable of mapping the deepest parts of the oceans, and modular on-board laboratories that will provide the flexibility to meet a wide variety of oceanographic research challenges.  These make them capable of supporting a wide range of oceanographic research activities conducted by academic institutions and national laboratories.  Additionally, the research vessel will be outfitted with multi-drive, low-voltage diesel electric propulsion systems.  This upgraded system will maintain engine efficiency while lowering maintenance and fuel costs.   

Armstrong-class AGOR ships will be 238 feet in length, have a beam length of 50 feet, and operate at more than 12 knots.  AGOR 27 is currently under construction by Dakota Creek Industries, Inc. in Anacortes, Wash.