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  OV-102: Space shuttle Kitty Hawk?

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Author Topic:   OV-102: Space shuttle Kitty Hawk?
Hart Sastrowardoyo
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Posts: 2486
From: Toms River, NJ
Registered: Aug 2000

posted 04-11-2006 12:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hart Sastrowardoyo   Click Here to Email Hart Sastrowardoyo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
If Young approached McCall around 1979 to do the STS-1 patch, and Young and Crippen wanted the shuttle to be named Kitty Hawk... at what point in OV-102's construction history was she given the name Columbia?

Unless NASA was keeping things a secret, I thought that press releases at that time (~1979) already were using Columbia instead of OV-102.

Now all we need is for someone to Photoshop the name Kitty Hawk on a shuttle photo and get Young and Crippen's autographs on it...

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 29963
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 04-11-2006 01:54 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The moment I saw McCall's sketches with the name Kitty Hawk I knew there would be questions. Here is the timeline as referenced by NASA memos of the day (many thanks to Valerie Neal at the National Air and Space Museum for her help with researching these!):
May 1977 — naming process not yet started, according to a letter from the Assoc. Admin. for External Affairs

Jan. 1978 — Office of Public Affairs internal memo suggested that Orbiter 102 be named Kitty Hawk

May 1978 — a naming committee that was formed at NASA HQ reported a list of recommended "names having a significant relationship to the heritage of the United States or to the shuttle's mission of exploration." Kitty Hawk was 11th in a prioritized list of 15 names headed by Constitution and Independence. (Columbia was not on that list.)

NASA announced the names of the four orbiter fleet on January 25, 1979, in press release no. 79-10, "Shuttle Orbiters Named after Sea Vessels".

McCall's mural at JSC was dedicated on June 6, 1979.

mjanovec
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Posts: 3631
From: Midwest, USA
Registered: Jul 2005

posted 04-11-2006 03:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Kitty Hawk was 11th in a prioritized list of 15 names headed by Constitution and Independence.
Do you have the full list of the 15 names that were recommended? Were Challenger, Discovery, Atlantis, or Endeavor on the list? I'm also curious at what point Endeavor got her name.

Hart Sastrowardoyo
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Posts: 2486
From: Toms River, NJ
Registered: Aug 2000

posted 04-11-2006 03:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hart Sastrowardoyo   Click Here to Email Hart Sastrowardoyo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Columbia was not on that list.
So if Columbia wasn't on the list... who came up with the name?

Hart Sastrowardoyo
Member

Posts: 2486
From: Toms River, NJ
Registered: Aug 2000

posted 04-11-2006 03:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hart Sastrowardoyo   Click Here to Email Hart Sastrowardoyo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As well, Dennis Jenkins' "History of the National Space Transportation System" tells of a suggestion that Enterprise be reused for OV-105, if that was ever built. Was it because of McAuliffe on Challenger that a nationwide naming contest by children be held, rather than use Enterprise?

KSCartist
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Posts: 2616
From: Titusville, FL USA
Registered: Feb 2005

posted 04-11-2006 06:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for KSCartist   Click Here to Email KSCartist     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Endeavour (note the proper English spelling) was named in 1989 or 1990 by a contest held for elementary and high school children. One of our Young Astronaut Chapers in Middletown, CT also submitted the name Endeavour but were not creditied with the choice because besides the name students had to submit the reason the name was chosen.

I know Constitution was going to be the original name for Enterprise. It was rolled out of the plant on Constitution Day in our Bicentennial Year: September 17, 1976 (my 20th birthday). The efforts by thousands of Star Trek fans changed that.

I never knew Columbia wasn't on the list. I look forward to learning the story of how the "jewel of the fleet" got her name.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 29963
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 04-12-2006 10:04 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by mjanovec:
Do you have the full list of the 15 names that were recommended?
With credit to Valerie Neal, here is the list per a May 26, 1978 memo from the Associate Administrator for Space Transportation Systems (John Yardley) to the Director, Public Affairs on the subject: Recommended Orbiter Names.
Recommendations by an ad hoc committee on names for Space Shuttle Orbiters; chose "names having significant relationship to the heritage of the United States or to the Shuttle's mission of exploration."

Recommended List of Orbiter Names
(In descending order of preference)

  1. Constitution
  2. Independence
  3. America
  4. Constellation
  5. Enterprise [reserved for possible 5th orbiter, to carry on OV-101's name]
  6. Discoverer
  7. Endeavour
  8. Liberty
  9. Freedom
  10. Eagle
  11. Kitty Hawk
  12. Pathfinder
  13. Adventurer
  14. Prospector
  15. Peace

mjanovec
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Posts: 3631
From: Midwest, USA
Registered: Jul 2005

posted 04-12-2006 11:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for posting the list Robert!

How ironic that none of the first four orbiter names are listed among the 15 ("Discoverer" doesn't really count) BUT the orbiter that the public voted on is on this list.

astroborg
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Posts: 176
From: Woodbridge, VA, USA
Registered: Nov 2000

posted 04-13-2006 08:11 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for astroborg   Click Here to Email astroborg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Another ironic thing is that the Trekkers (aka Trekkies) should have been more patient and waited/called for the first flight capable orbiter, and requested it to be named "Enterprise", not the test vehicle.

lucspace
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Posts: 274
From: Hilversum, The Netherlands
Registered: Oct 2003

posted 04-13-2006 09:10 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for lucspace   Click Here to Email lucspace     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I remember a related issue: at one time, NASA requested generic name names to be proposed for what later became the Space Transportation System/Space Shuttle. Anyone know what became of this?

Hart Sastrowardoyo
Member

Posts: 2486
From: Toms River, NJ
Registered: Aug 2000

posted 04-13-2006 01:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hart Sastrowardoyo   Click Here to Email Hart Sastrowardoyo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by astroborg:
Another ironic thing is that the Trekkers (aka Trekkies) should have been more patient and waited/called for the first flight capable orbiter, and requested it to be named "Enterprise", not the test vehicle.
Enterprise was originally to be a flight vehicle, hence its designation as OV (for Orbital Vehicle) rather than STA (for Static Test Article.) It was the cost in converting Enterprise that made her non-orbital capable.

And some of Enterprise's parts were reused on flight orbiters, including Columbia. I would love to have a scrapped part from one of the orbiters which can be traced back to Enterprise.

But think of this: Had Enterprise been converted and the second orbiter to fly, would she have been lost instead of Challenger? Or, if Enterprise wasn't lost, NASA would have had two orbiters with a severe payload penalty due to their weight, and unable to take part in ISS assembly tasks (although Columbia was due to be modified for a station docking with STS-118.)

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