Astronauts had a tradition of giving astronauts the opportunity to name spacecraft beginning with Gemini program spaceships and ending with Skylab station missions.
Now, NASA’s craft are named by a committee, although their names must still evoke an air of poetic profundity.
A spacecraft is a type of spacecraft.
Spacecraft are vehicles or vessels specifically designed to travel in outer space. This may involve carrying astronauts, satellites, cargo or equipment back to Earth as well as performing other functions like communications, Earth observation, navigation/position-locataion/power transmission/and space manufacturing.
Spacecraft are often named after ships or celestial bodies; for instance, Mercury capsules were known by names like Liberty Bell 7, Sigma 7 and Aurora 7. Apollo crews created their own names for their command modules that usually referenced constellations or star systems.
NASA had until the end of Apollo to permit astronauts to name their capsules and lunar modules, however this practice was discontinued after Skylab program. Six Space Shuttle orbiters received engineering designations which doubled as call signs: Enterprise, Columbia, Challenger, Discovery, Atlantis and Endeavour. To assist NASA further The Planetary Society also supplied two silica glass DVDs at no cost mounted on Spirit and Opportunity Mars rovers that contained over four million Society member names collected through an international competition.
A spacecraft is a type of vehicle.
Spacecraft are vehicles used for traveling through space, either alone or with other vehicles, in order to explore celestial bodies such as asteroids, comets, stars and planets. There are various different types of spacecrafts with distinct capabilities and characteristics – some can travel long distances while others are smaller and more compact.
Early in NASA’s history, flight crews would often choose creative names for the rockets and spacecraft they piloted or operated. These nicknames would often surface during design phase projects before eventually becoming part of official mission designations.
Later, NASA officials employed themes to unify missions. Moon probes would take on names evoking lunar exploration while planetary probes would bear names associated with historical figures or explorers; for instance, in 2008’s Mars Lander mission, named Phoenix after a bird of prey that can scavenge food sources even in harsh environments was given such a name.
A spacecraft is a type of object.
Spacecraft are vehicles designed to explore outer space. They may be used for various purposes such as communications, Earth observation, meteorology, navigation, space colonization or transport of cargo and people. Most spacecraft cannot get into orbit on their own; they require an outer space carrier rocket for launch.
NASA spacecraft are often given names inspired by mythological gods and heroes; other times their names may be more mundane yet functional; such as Project Mercury rockets which bore names such as Ursa Major.
At first, astronauts on Apollo missions could name their spacecraft; however, this practice ended after Gemini 12 when spacecraft were given names inspired by Navy ships rather than individual names. On New Horizons – NASA’s probe to Pluto and Kuiper belt – an RFID chip containing 360,000 names from Planetary Society members around the world was attached to one side brace of its spacecraft; since then it has passed by Pluto, Arrokoth in Kuiper belt object space, and headed toward interstellar space.
A spacecraft is a type of ship.
History shows us that spacecraft have always been named after seafaring ships, and this tradition continues today with NASA shuttles named for well-known sailing vessels and the International Space Station being modeled on HMS Endeavour, used by 18th century British explorer James Cook on his trip around the world involving Tahiti, New Zealand Australia and Great Barrier Reef.
Both the USSR and later, USA, have launched crewed spacecraft such as Vostok 1 which carried Yuri Gagarin into space in 1961 and Freedom 7 carrying Alan Shepard in 1984 respectively. Unmanned spacecraft and spaceplanes have also been utilized, such as America’s X-15.
Project Mercury was America’s inaugural crewed space program, where astronauts could choose the names for their two-man spacecrafts, although these names weren’t official and only used during radio calls with ground controllers (capcoms). Gus Grissom chose Molly Brown from Titanic survivor Mary Ann Rose as an allusion to an earlier stage show performance he attended; most modern NASA missions and spacecraft are officially named by NASA headquarters; with exceptions made for shuttle orbiters Enterprise, Challenger, Discovery and Atlantis.