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  Mercury - Gemini - Apollo
  Apollo 11: Source of spacecraft names

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Author Topic:   Apollo 11: Source of spacecraft names
Jim_Voce
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posted 10-18-2017 12:11 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jim_Voce   Click Here to Email Jim_Voce     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Apollo 11 command module was named "Columbia." Was this specifically in reference to the Jules Verne novel "From Earth to the Moon"?

And secondly, does anyone know who recommended the name Columbia? Did the Apollo 11 crew come up with it or was it Neil Armstrong specifically who came up with the name, or was it recommended to Armstrong and the crew by someone else?

And same question in reference to the lunar module "Eagle."

nasamad
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Posts: 2055
From: Essex, UK
Registered: Jul 2001

posted 10-18-2017 11:00 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for nasamad   Click Here to Email nasamad     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I read that Jim Lovell suggested "Eagle" as it is the American national bird. I thought Columbia was related to an older name than the Jules Verne novel.

Vague, I know, but I'm sure there are definitive answers to come!

Rusty53
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From: Rochester, NY USA
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posted 10-18-2017 02:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rusty53     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Neil Armstrong mentioned in a preflight news conference that the name Columbia was chosen because of the connection with Verne's "Columbiad" and the historical connection with "Columbia" at one time being considered for the name of our country.

Jim_Voce
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posted 10-18-2017 05:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jim_Voce   Click Here to Email Jim_Voce     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thank you for those insightful answers. I certainly hope more people will contribute to this question so we can have a complete answer.

So the remaining question is who recommended the name "Columbia" to the Apollo 11 crew or whether they came up with it themselves?

David C
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posted 10-18-2017 05:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for David C     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Mike Collins answers the Columbia question in detail in "Carrying The Fire." Julian Scheer suggested it to him.
The choice of an eagle as a motif for the landing led to swiftly to naming the landing craft itself Eagle. It was appropriate, Neil and Buzz felt, and it sounded good on the radio. The choice for the CSM was not as obvious, and I was frankly floundering for a name. One day I was chatting long distance with Julian Scheer, NASA's Assistant Administrator for Public Affairs in Washington, and he inquired whether we had yet found a name for our CSM. When I told him no, he said that "some of us up here have been kicking around Columbia."

Blackarrow
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From: Belfast, United Kingdom
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 10-19-2017 07:41 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Blackarrow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In retrospect, I'm a little surprised that "Columbia" wasn't considered too cumbersome, being a four-syllable name ("COL - UM - BI - A"). Of course, knowing what I know now, it would be unthinkable if the spacecraft had NOT been called "Columbia."

All times are CT (US)

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