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  Apollo command and lunar module names

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Author Topic:   Apollo command and lunar module names
Betsy
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posted 08-03-2008 02:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Betsy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I've actually been curious about this for awhile - there are some good nicknames given to the Apollo lunar modules and command modules. Which were your favorites?

My favorite individual name is Eagle (although I also like Gumdrop), so I do like Eagle/Columbia. However, I admit to favoring Charlie Brown and Snoopy just because it's clever and adorable. As the cartoon characters belong together, so do their counterparts (at least up to a certain point).

RichieB16
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posted 08-03-2008 03:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for RichieB16   Click Here to Email RichieB16     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think my favorite will always be Apollo 10. Charlie Brown and Snoopy was a perfect set of names.

NavySpaceFan
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posted 08-03-2008 04:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for NavySpaceFan   Click Here to Email NavySpaceFan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Being the good Navy man, I got to go with Yankee Clipper and Intrepid with Kitty Hawk in third.

RichieB16
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posted 08-03-2008 04:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for RichieB16   Click Here to Email RichieB16     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I don't know why, but I have always been surprised that the name "Enterprise" never ended up being used.

Delta7
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posted 08-03-2008 04:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Delta7   Click Here to Email Delta7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yankee Clipper and Intrepid.

andrewcli
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posted 08-03-2008 04:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for andrewcli   Click Here to Email andrewcli     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by RichieB16:
..."Enterprise" never ended up being used.
How about Enterprise and Galileo?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-03-2008 05:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I suppose my favorites would be Gumdrop and Spider, only because they were really the only nicknames to take into account the vehicle themselves. All the others were chosen for other symbolic reasons, but were somewhat detached from the spacecraft.

That said, Snoopy and Charlie Brown win the prize for the best way to capture the public's attention.

Betsy
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posted 08-03-2008 07:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Betsy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As a Yankee fan, when I think Yankee Clipper, I think Joe D. I guess I should think like a Navy man instead!

Kitty Hawk is a good name, but it doesn't relate to Antares — it's an odd combo (so are Endeavor and Falcon and Casper/Orion).

Whizzospace
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posted 08-03-2008 07:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Whizzospace   Click Here to Email Whizzospace     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Odyssey and Aquarius certainly captured the "spacey" feel. I think these names best evoked the grandeur and strangeness of the cislunar environment.

So tough to pick, as the crews really spanned a long way from historic exploration to popular culture. I think the variety itself makes the series unlike any other historic list of names.

But as I'm retired Air Force, Apollo 15 is a sentimental favorite.

FFrench
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posted 08-03-2008 07:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Betsy:
...there are some good nicknames
I'd say, rather than "nicknames" (suggesting no formal role at all) they were actually call signs, which had an important operational role and a little more official legitimacy.

For example, from my interview with Dave Scott, where he says:

They were not chosen as names, they were callsigns - because they were crisp. At that time, names were not approved. But in the simulations, we had to have some sort of callsign - and they eventually evolved into names.[/i]

Jay Chladek
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posted 08-03-2008 08:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Gumdrop and Spider are still my favorites with Charlie Brown and Snoopy a close second.

Of the more serious names, Endeavour and Falcon get my vote though as both are cool names.

MCroft04
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posted 08-03-2008 09:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MCroft04   Click Here to Email MCroft04     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I don't have a special favorite Apollo spacecraft name, but my all time favorite name was Gus' Molly Brown. You gotta love a guy with that sense of humor!

jasonelam
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posted 08-03-2008 11:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for jasonelam   Click Here to Email jasonelam     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I personally think that Charlie Brown and Snoopy were the best PR names, but for the CM I think that Odyssey was the best (spacey feel, and ironically meaning "a voyage filled with many changes in fortune).

As for the LM, Spider is the best, since the LM does look like a Spider in a way.

Mr Meek
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posted 08-04-2008 09:11 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Mr Meek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think the Gumdrop/Spider combo is my favorite for its tongue-in-cheek nature. Casper is a sentimental fave, since I grew up seeing it every time I went to the U.S. Space & Rocket Center.

PowerCat
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posted 08-04-2008 11:46 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for PowerCat   Click Here to Email PowerCat     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In the fictional mini-series, "Space," I liked the names for the "Apollo 18" mission: Altair and Luna.

Ed Krutulis
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posted 08-04-2008 05:57 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ed Krutulis   Click Here to Email Ed Krutulis     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Did the cancelled Apollo missions 18-20 named crews ever reveal their proposed nicknames that they would have given to their LM and CM?

John Charles
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posted 08-04-2008 08:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for John Charles     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Somewhere in my random-order files, I have a NASA document from early 1969 that says the Apollo 11 crew were using the placeholder call-signs "Snowcone" and "Haystack" for the command module and lunar module, respectively, in their joint spacecraft simulations. These may even have been generic names for all Apollo missions, until mission-specific names were selected.

In the book, "First on the Moon," the LIFE magazine writers Gene Farmer and Dora Jane Hamblin reported that the Apollo 11 crewmen, their wives and associates toyed with a long list of paired names: "Romeo and Juliet", "Antony and Cleopatra", "Daphnis and Chloe", "Apollo and Daphne", "Amos and Andy" (!!), "Castor and Pollux", "David and Goliath", "Owl and Pussycat", and "Majestic and Moondancer". "Eagle" was inspired by the crew patch, and "Columbia" occurred to everyone simultaneously.

According to my new favorite source, Newspaperarchive.com, in Feb. 1970, the name of the Apollo 13 lunar module was publicly announced as "Aquarius" and the command module, "Auriga." In March 1970, "after considerable debate," the command module was renamed "Odyssey" because "Auriga" was proving difficult to understand clearly over the scratchy radio links.

RichieB16
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posted 08-04-2008 08:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for RichieB16   Click Here to Email RichieB16     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by John Charles:
...the command module was renamed "Odyssey" because "Auriga" was proving difficult to understand clearly over the scratchy radio links.
I didn't know that. Isn't it considered bad luck to rename a ship?

Delta7
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posted 08-04-2008 08:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Delta7   Click Here to Email Delta7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Is there any anecdotal evidence of what the Apollo 18 CM and LM would have been named (from Dick Gordon, Vance Brand, and/or Jack Schmitt)? Or did things never get that far before the mission was cancelled?

Personally, my favorites would have been Constellation and Galileo (second choice: Constitution and Beagle).

webhamster
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posted 08-04-2008 09:20 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for webhamster     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As an aside, I've been using the CM/LM callsigns as the internal project codenames for the version 4.x development cycles of the software I code at work.

Version 4.0 was "Kitty Hawk," version 4.1 was "Yankee Clipper," and version 4.2 (currently in development) is "Intrepid."

Betsy
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posted 08-04-2008 09:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Betsy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
John Charles, thanks for the info! Castor and Pollux would have been an odd choice as they were the twins referenced on the Gemini 8 patch.

Auriga? I have no idea what that means. I'm surprised that Apollo 13 didn't go with another constellation to match up with Aquarius.

I also like the name Endurance (named after Ernest Shackleton's ship). That actually, in retrospect, might have been an appropriate name for Apollo 13's LM (as Shackleton and his men were miraculous survivors, so were Lovell, Sweigert and Haise).

webhamster
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posted 08-04-2008 11:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for webhamster     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Betsy:
Auriga? I have no idea what that means.
Auriga is a constellation in the northern sky. It encompasses the star Capella.

It's also a street in the business complex where my office is located in Ottawa. It intersects with Antares Drive...

webhamster
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posted 08-04-2008 11:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for webhamster     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Ed Krutulis:
Did the cancelled Apollo missions 18-20 named crews ever reveal their proposed nicknames that they would have given to their LM and CM?
I doubt they ever got to that point since none of them were ever officially named to those flights (just targeted by virtue of rotation).

Although, while digging around to see if there actually was anything I did discover something I only vaguely remember hearing about; prior to NASA banning capsule names for Gemini after "Molly Brown", the Gemini 5 crew had decided upon "Lady Bird." I wonder how the president would have felt about that? Of course, everyone knows that Gemini 4 had chosen "American Eagle" before they were told they couldn't use it.

Now here's a question I have: In "From The Earth To The Moon," Dave Scott uses "Albatross" as the LM callsign while training with Lee Silver. I have assumed that it was a scriptwriter's invention to act as a little snide commentary towards Silver on how Scott felt about the geology training. Or is it based on any actual fact? Was it being considered?

Fra Mauro
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posted 08-06-2008 12:36 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fra Mauro   Click Here to Email Fra Mauro     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I will guess that the CM pilot chose the nickname of the CM (with commander's approval). I wonder if all three crew members chose the nicknames together? That might account for names that don't have a direct connection.

Jay Chladek
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posted 08-06-2008 03:39 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The other bit about Albatross is that the real birds don't exactly land gracefully. They sort of crash. So I believe that was intended to be some sort of comedy on the part of the scriptwriter (or who knows, Dave might have interjected it himself since he was a technical advisor on the series).

One other interesting bit I noticed is the Apollo 17 names of America and Challenger. Sounds to me like that crew was taking a bit of a metaphorical slant with the name. Even Gene Cernan's comments from the moon spoke of "The challenge of today..." and it is as if he wanted to challenge the people back home to keep exploring rather then leaving the moon behind like we did due to lack of funds. Maybe I am reading too much into it, but looking back at the names today, they seem somewhat appropriate.

robsouth
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posted 08-06-2008 03:57 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for robsouth     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Delta7:
Did the cancelled Apollo missions 18-20 named crews ever reveal their proposed nicknames that they would have given to their LM and CM?
I asked Richard Gordon if he or any of his Apollo 18 crew had chosen any names for their spacecrafts and he replied that they never got that far.

Betsy
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posted 08-06-2008 07:32 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Betsy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
According to Neil Armstrong in "First Man," all three crew members (though Mike Collins, in particular) played a part in the selections of the call names. This could very well be true for the other crews as well. To be fair, though, according to Buzz Aldrin, Collins just picked the CM name and he and Armstrong, the LM.

robsouth
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posted 08-22-2008 04:02 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for robsouth     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I read somewhere that the LM had the nickname Rosemary for a while but I couldn't figure out why it was called this.

Tykeanaut
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posted 10-24-2017 09:41 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tykeanaut   Click Here to Email Tykeanaut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Reviving an old thread, I always wondered why the Apollo 9 CSM was called "Gumdrop"?

I've just read in an old Wernher von Braun book that it was due to its blue delivery shrink wrap that made it look like a sealed gumdrop candy.

moorouge
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posted 10-24-2017 10:57 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for moorouge   Click Here to Email moorouge     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Had NASA relented and allowed crews to name their craft by the time Apollo 7 flew, there is a strong possibility that it would have been called Phoenix.

However, this said, as this thread originally asked about nicknames it should be recorded that there was also a strong feeling amongst the crew that it should be called "Rub-a-dub-dub" after the three men in a tub. There was even a suggested mission patch that reflected this name designed by Karen Stafford at the suggestion of Donn Eisele.

Fra Mauro
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posted 10-24-2017 10:58 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fra Mauro   Click Here to Email Fra Mauro     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That's the same story I have heard.

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