Author Topic: CCtCap Mission Naming, Callsigns  (Read 13200 times)

Offline the_other_Doug

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CCtCap Mission Naming, Callsigns
« on: 02/03/2015 08:26 AM »
It is certainly too early for the responsible parties to be concentrating on this issue, but it might be interesting to discuss it.

The CCtCap missions will be designated officially rather like the CRS flights.  However, I'm fairly confident that the mission designations won't be used as radio callsigns.  You certainly never heard anyone radio up to a Shuttle "STS-93, Houston" or somesuch.

There are three basic precedents they could follow:

1)  Name the flights numerically after the spacecraft series, a la Gemini and Apollo.  The first unmanned flight of a manned Dragon could be Dragon 1, for example, and the first manned flight might be Dragon 3 or Dragon 4.  I'm thinking Orion will use this approach, the first manned flight being dubbed Orion 3 or something like that (even though the mission is EM-2, I'm not hearing "EM-2, this is Houston" somehow).

This would not work as well for the CST-100, unless they came up with a sexier program name than CST-100.  "Houston, this is CST-100 7, over" is a bit of a mouthful.

2)  Name the individual spacecraft, as was done for the Shuttle fleet.  They'll be re-used, so you can have a nice little stable of named spacecraft of each type.  So, if you name a Dragon "Elon," for example, whenever a crew would fly that particular Dragon, their callsign would be "Elon."  (Though the gods help us if Musk does this and continues his homage to Iain M. Banks...)  This would work for all of the upcoming spacecraft models.

3)  Follow the Russian tradition and allow the commander and/or crew to adopt a preferred callsign, also somewhat reminiscent of the Apollo astronauts naming their CSMs and LMs for callsign purposes.  So, regardless of which Dragon or CST-100 is being flown (or re-flown) and regardless of the official mission designation, you could decide to adopt the callsign Cedar.  Or Snoopy.  Or Aurora.  Or Boom Monster.  :)

At least this would bypass the possibility, if the Dragons are allowed to be named by Elon, of working our way down the IMB naming list... :D
-Doug  (With my shield, not yet upon it)

Offline woods170

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Re: CCtCap Mission Naming, Callsigns
« Reply #1 on: 02/03/2015 08:43 AM »
It is certainly too early for the responsible parties to be concentrating on this issue
IMO discussing this almost three years before the first mission, even here at NSF, is slightly premature.

Offline ChrisWilson68

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Re: CCtCap Mission Naming, Callsigns
« Reply #2 on: 02/03/2015 09:03 AM »
It is certainly too early for the responsible parties to be concentrating on this issue
IMO discussing this almost three years before the first mission, even here at NSF, is slightly premature.

Three years sounds like just about how long such a discussion is likely to take.  I think we started just in time if we're to finish by the first launch.

Offline ChrisWilson68

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Re: CCtCap Mission Naming, Callsigns
« Reply #3 on: 02/03/2015 09:04 AM »
Should we start CCtCap callsign bingo?  I call "Puff".

Offline Jarnis

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Re: CCtCap Mission Naming, Callsigns
« Reply #4 on: 02/03/2015 10:52 AM »
It is certainly too early for the responsible parties to be concentrating on this issue
IMO discussing this almost three years before the first mission, even here at NSF, is slightly premature.

Only slightly. I would have waited until after pad abort myself, but hey, I see a thread is up already.

 ;D

Next up: Guesses on crew of the manned test flight and the first operational flight. Just need NASA to first name the group that will be training for the new vehicles to start that one...  ;)

Offline MattMason

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Re: CCtCap Mission Naming, Callsigns
« Reply #5 on: 02/03/2015 01:07 PM »
It is certainly too early for the responsible parties to be concentrating on this issue
IMO discussing this almost three years before the first mission, even here at NSF, is slightly premature.

Three years sounds like just about how long such a discussion is likely to take.  I think we started just in time if we're to finish by the first launch.

It's a good thread to consider. Remember that NASA has had historical headaches with astronauts on defining ship and mission call signs. First came unofficial nicknames where NASA cringed a bit:

Molly Brown: From the "The Unsinkable Molly Brown" Broadway show, given to Gemini 3 by Gus Grissom as a not-so-veiled reference to the loss of his Mercury spacecraft. NASA didn't like it and ordered another name, where the crew suggested Titanic. NASA grudgingly relented.

"Spider' and "Gumdrop", given to the first manned LM and its CSM on Apollo 9. NASA was hoping for something more dignified...

...And didn't get it when Apollo 10's crew chose "Snoopy" and "Charlie Brown" for the lunar dress rehearsal mission.

Neil Armstrong's crew felt more inclined to the historic nature of their first landing attempt, naming their ships "Columbia" and "Eagle." The remaining spacecraft names in the Apollo program also seemed to get a greater vetting, but how NASA improved their approval process isn't clear to me. Hopefully someone knows of this history. (I found the naming of 13's spacecraft coincidentally ominous given that mission's accident.)

The Shuttles were easy, being reusable spacecraft. In fact, NASA seemed enthusiastic about the naming process, even with a few geeks convincing them/President Ford to name the first Orbiter "Enterprise" rather than "Constitution." After Challenger's loss, it was fascinating to find a national contest where children solicited names for the new Orbiter.

With so many reuseable ships on the horizon, and all commercially built (meaning that they may go free-style with the naming themselves) it's a little premature but a curiosity on how NASA can or will influence or discourage naming practices. To give an example, naming the first Crew Dragon "Puff" might seem a whimsical idea until you dig down into the song history of "Puff the Magic Dragon," where some made unsubstantiated claims that the song spoke of drug references, a story that the songwriters vehemently rejected.

It's that kind of controversy that NASA wants to avoid.

Edit: typo
« Last Edit: 02/03/2015 01:08 PM by MattMason »
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Offline Jim

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Re: CCtCap Mission Naming, Callsigns
« Reply #6 on: 02/03/2015 01:53 PM »
NASA really has no say.  These are commercial space craft and it is the companies call

Offline abaddon

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Re: CCtCap Mission Naming, Callsigns
« Reply #7 on: 02/03/2015 02:07 PM »
IMO discussing this almost three years before the first mission, even here at NSF, is slightly premature.

I would love to hear what you think about MCT.  But I don't read those threads.

Offline MattMason

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Re: CCtCap Mission Naming, Callsigns
« Reply #8 on: 02/03/2015 02:09 PM »
NASA really has no say.  These are commercial space craft and it is the companies call

I'd wholeheartedly agree with you, except most of these spacecraft are contracted for NASA ISS flights, right? Branding is important to them, especially if they're paying for the use of the capsule and in a very public crew return mission. In your experience, would this be a valid argument for NASA to ensure that commercial naming doesn't cause embarrassment or even scandal, especially in this high-bit rate social media world where such flippancy is instantaneous and permanent?
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Offline Jim

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Re: CCtCap Mission Naming, Callsigns
« Reply #9 on: 02/03/2015 02:11 PM »


There are three basic precedents they could follow:

1)  Name the flights numerically after the spacecraft series, a la Gemini and Apollo.  The first unmanned flight of a manned Dragon could be Dragon 1, for example, and the first manned flight might be Dragon 3 or Dragon 4.  I'm thinking Orion will use this approach, the first manned flight being dubbed Orion 3 or something like that (even though the mission is EM-2, I'm not hearing "EM-2, this is Houston" somehow).

This would not work as well for the CST-100, unless they came up with a sexier program name than CST-100.  "Houston, this is CST-100 7, over" is a bit of a mouthful.

2)  Name the individual spacecraft, as was done for the Shuttle fleet.  They'll be re-used, so you can have a nice little stable of named spacecraft of each type.  So, if you name a Dragon "Elon," for example, whenever a crew would fly that particular Dragon, their callsign would be "Elon."  (Though the gods help us if Musk does this and continues his homage to Iain M. Banks...)  This would work for all of the upcoming spacecraft models.


Naming the flights and call signs are two different things.
Right now, commercial cargo is in play and it already has an applicable process.  Spacex has had 5 flights and they are called CRS-X.  However, the vehicle is still called Dragon.  It is much like the shuttle program with STS numbers and orbiter names.
There is no need to add a numerical designator to Dragon and CST-100 call signs.

Offline Jim

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Re: CCtCap Mission Naming, Callsigns
« Reply #10 on: 02/03/2015 02:15 PM »

I'd wholeheartedly agree with you, except most of these spacecraft are contracted for NASA ISS flights, right? Branding is important to them, especially if they're paying for the use of the capsule and in a very public crew return mission. In your experience, would this be a valid argument for NASA to ensure that commercial naming doesn't cause embarrassment or even scandal, especially in this high-bit rate social media world where such flippancy is instantaneous and permanent?

They will fly on their own before they are used for a NASA mission.  Names don't really matter.  ISS module names, meh.  They are still nodes and labs and PLM.   Opportunity and Spirit, naw, it was MER A & B.  Curiosity, phfft, still MSL
« Last Edit: 02/03/2015 02:16 PM by Jim »

Offline SWGlassPit

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Re: CCtCap Mission Naming, Callsigns
« Reply #11 on: 02/03/2015 03:14 PM »

They will fly on their own before they are used for a NASA mission.  Names don't really matter.  ISS module names, meh.  They are still nodes and labs and PLM.   Opportunity and Spirit, naw, it was MER A & B.  Curiosity, phfft, still MSL

This -- with the exception of Columbus (for some reason), nobody at JSC outside of PAO uses the fancy hardware names.  Instead of Unity, Harmony, Tranquility, Destiny, Kibo, Quest, Zarya, Zvezda, Pirs, Poisk, Rassvet, Leonardo, Canadarm 2, and Nauka, they say Node 1, Node 2, Node 3, US Lab, JEM, Airlock, FGB, Service Module, DC1, MRM2, MRM1, SSRMS, and MLM.

Offline The Amazing Catstronaut

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Re: CCtCap Mission Naming, Callsigns
« Reply #12 on: 02/03/2015 03:30 PM »

They will fly on their own before they are used for a NASA mission.  Names don't really matter.  ISS module names, meh.  They are still nodes and labs and PLM.   Opportunity and Spirit, naw, it was MER A & B.  Curiosity, phfft, still MSL

This -- with the exception of Columbus (for some reason), nobody at JSC outside of PAO uses the fancy hardware names.  Instead of Unity, Harmony, Tranquility, Destiny, Kibo, Quest, Zarya, Zvezda, Pirs, Poisk, Rassvet, Leonardo, Canadarm 2, and Nauka, they say Node 1, Node 2, Node 3, US Lab, JEM, Airlock, FGB, Service Module, DC1, MRM2, MRM1, SSRMS, and MLM.

It's also heavily about the PR. As a layman, I refuse to think about the MSL as MSL on first glimmer; I think of the Curiosity rover. Not to mention that wonderful lines such as [paraphrasing - can't remember the actual rendition] "we'll see where our Curiosity will take us" and "...The Eagle has landed" tend to spawn out of those signs.

It's hard to get sentimental about spaceflight (and sentiment is great for PR), if the ships are nameless machines. You give a machine a name, and it humanises it and bestows it with a unique personality.

Of course, objectively, it doesn't matter if you call your capsule/orbital lifting body/colony ship/probe/rover/space station "Venture", "Freedom", "providence", "International Space Station", "CRS-7", "STS-135", "Apollo-13", "Skylark", "Columbiad", "Enterprise" or "Think of the Civilian Applications". Indeed, sequential numbering does prove more informative for the average layman, but also significantly less sexy.

Sexiness wins funding too, not just science.


Edit: My suggestions for a Dragon and a CST:

Dragon 2: "Siegfried" (from European mythos - well, 'Muricans are just Space Europeans, right)?

CST-100: "Reliance" (A virtue indicative of the present state of commercial HST upon the people of the United States of America, along with the international partners also footing the bill for the International Space Station. Besides, "Reliance" is close to "Reliant", and it didn't gel with me Boeing flying the "Enterprise").  :D

« Last Edit: 02/03/2015 03:38 PM by The Amazing Catstronaut »
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Offline Jim

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Re: CCtCap Mission Naming, Callsigns
« Reply #13 on: 02/03/2015 04:39 PM »

It's also heavily about the PR. As a layman, I refuse to think about the MSL as MSL on first glimmer; I think of the Curiosity rover. Not to mention that wonderful lines such as [paraphrasing - can't remember the actual rendition] "we'll see where our Curiosity will take us" and "...The Eagle has landed" tend to spawn out of those signs.

It's hard to get sentimental about spaceflight (and sentiment is great for PR), if the ships are nameless machines. You give a machine a name, and it humanises it and bestows it with a unique personality.


When you have worked on MSL since 2003, it already has a personality and it is not nameless.  MSL is just short for Emessel.  Renaming spacecraft exasperates those who worked on the spacecraft.
« Last Edit: 02/03/2015 04:40 PM by Jim »

Offline llanitedave

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Re: CCtCap Mission Naming, Callsigns
« Reply #14 on: 02/03/2015 05:04 PM »

They will fly on their own before they are used for a NASA mission.  Names don't really matter.  ISS module names, meh.  They are still nodes and labs and PLM.   Opportunity and Spirit, naw, it was MER A & B.  Curiosity, phfft, still MSL

This -- with the exception of Columbus (for some reason), nobody at JSC outside of PAO uses the fancy hardware names.  Instead of Unity, Harmony, Tranquility, Destiny, Kibo, Quest, Zarya, Zvezda, Pirs, Poisk, Rassvet, Leonardo, Canadarm 2, and Nauka, they say Node 1, Node 2, Node 3, US Lab, JEM, Airlock, FGB, Service Module, DC1, MRM2, MRM1, SSRMS, and MLM.

It's also heavily about the PR. As a layman, I refuse to think about the MSL as MSL on first glimmer; I think of the Curiosity rover. Not to mention that wonderful lines such as [paraphrasing - can't remember the actual rendition] "we'll see where our Curiosity will take us" and "...The Eagle has landed" tend to spawn out of those signs.

It's hard to get sentimental about spaceflight (and sentiment is great for PR), if the ships are nameless machines. You give a machine a name, and it humanises it and bestows it with a unique personality.

Of course, objectively, it doesn't matter if you call your capsule/orbital lifting body/colony ship/probe/rover/space station "Venture", "Freedom", "providence", "International Space Station", "CRS-7", "STS-135", "Apollo-13", "Skylark", "Columbiad", "Enterprise" or "Think of the Civilian Applications". Indeed, sequential numbering does prove more informative for the average layman, but also significantly less sexy.

Sexiness wins funding too, not just science.


Edit: My suggestions for a Dragon and a CST:

Dragon 2: "Siegfried" (from European mythos - well, 'Muricans are just Space Europeans, right)?

CST-100: "Reliance" (A virtue indicative of the present state of commercial HST upon the people of the United States of America, along with the international partners also footing the bill for the International Space Station. Besides, "Reliance" is close to "Reliant", and it didn't gel with me Boeing flying the "Enterprise").  :D


If Dragon 2 is going to be Siegfried, then the first stage will have to be named "Roy".
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Offline The Amazing Catstronaut

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Re: CCtCap Mission Naming, Callsigns
« Reply #15 on: 02/03/2015 06:01 PM »

It's also heavily about the PR. As a layman, I refuse to think about the MSL as MSL on first glimmer; I think of the Curiosity rover. Not to mention that wonderful lines such as [paraphrasing - can't remember the actual rendition] "we'll see where our Curiosity will take us" and "...The Eagle has landed" tend to spawn out of those signs.

It's hard to get sentimental about spaceflight (and sentiment is great for PR), if the ships are nameless machines. You give a machine a name, and it humanises it and bestows it with a unique personality.


When you have worked on MSL since 2003, it already has a personality and it is not nameless.  MSL is just short for Emessel.  Renaming spacecraft exasperates those who worked on the spacecraft.


Undeniably those that work on the spacecraft should make the call, as they're the people who actualise the project and actually put the human hours in.

The reason why I fail to view MSL as MSL (and it is a failing on my part, Jim), is because when I saw that dramatic CGI rendition of the landing event, the video concerned had 'Curiosity' stuck right across the top. A considerably greater number or people are going to be aware of "the Curiosity rover" but not of the "Mars Science Laboratory".

My (uninformed) assumption had always been that whoever designated the Mars rovers with their given names had some direct connection to those involved with the project's actual hard grind. It's disheartening if this is not actually the case.


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Offline Jim

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Re: CCtCap Mission Naming, Callsigns
« Reply #16 on: 02/03/2015 06:15 PM »

My (uninformed) assumption had always been that whoever designated the Mars rovers with their given names had some direct connection to those involved with the project's actual hard grind. It's disheartening if this is not actually the case.

It is either public naming contest or HQ decree and not grassroots.

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Re: CCtCap Mission Naming, Callsigns
« Reply #17 on: 02/03/2015 09:01 PM »
There are plenty of Dragon names around that SpaceX could use.

List of dragons
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_dragons

List of dragons in mythology and folklore
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_dragons_in_mythology_and_folklore

Offline Endeavour_01

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Re: CCtCap Mission Naming, Callsigns
« Reply #18 on: 02/05/2015 02:51 PM »
It is certainly too early for the responsible parties to be concentrating on this issue, but it might be interesting to discuss it.

The CCtCap missions will be designated officially rather like the CRS flights.  However, I'm fairly confident that the mission designations won't be used as radio callsigns.  You certainly never heard anyone radio up to a Shuttle "STS-93, Houston" or somesuch.

There are three basic precedents they could follow:

1)  Name the flights numerically after the spacecraft series, a la Gemini and Apollo.  The first unmanned flight of a manned Dragon could be Dragon 1, for example, and the first manned flight might be Dragon 3 or Dragon 4.  I'm thinking Orion will use this approach, the first manned flight being dubbed Orion 3 or something like that (even though the mission is EM-2, I'm not hearing "EM-2, this is Houston" somehow).

This would not work as well for the CST-100, unless they came up with a sexier program name than CST-100.  "Houston, this is CST-100 7, over" is a bit of a mouthful.

2)  Name the individual spacecraft, as was done for the Shuttle fleet.  They'll be re-used, so you can have a nice little stable of named spacecraft of each type.  So, if you name a Dragon "Elon," for example, whenever a crew would fly that particular Dragon, their callsign would be "Elon."  (Though the gods help us if Musk does this and continues his homage to Iain M. Banks...)  This would work for all of the upcoming spacecraft models.

3)  Follow the Russian tradition and allow the commander and/or crew to adopt a preferred callsign, also somewhat reminiscent of the Apollo astronauts naming their CSMs and LMs for callsign purposes.  So, regardless of which Dragon or CST-100 is being flown (or re-flown) and regardless of the official mission designation, you could decide to adopt the callsign Cedar.  Or Snoopy.  Or Aurora.  Or Boom Monster.  :)

At least this would bypass the possibility, if the Dragons are allowed to be named by Elon, of working our way down the IMB naming list... :D

I have been thinking about this too (as well as Orion naming but that is another thread for another time). Given all the MCT, BFR, and SLS discussions here I don't think it is premature to think about this.

I think the naming of spacecraft is very important. It creates a connection to the craft and the mission. OSC has named each of their Cygnus craft and ESA named all the ATVs. Obviously it is up to SpaceX, Boeing, and a lesser extent NASA to decide what to name the flights. Personally I would be fine with either naming according to the shuttle scheme (Name the capsule and call the flight CC-1 or something) or according to the Apollo naming scheme (Dragon 1).

If I had to put money on it I would say that they will follow the shuttle scheme given the reusability of the capsules. However, the naming might not be as "broad" (e.g. naming a CST-100 " Gypsey Danger" vs. "Discovery")
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Offline erioladastra

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Re: CCtCap Mission Naming, Callsigns
« Reply #19 on: 02/06/2015 12:07 AM »
NASA really has no say.  These are commercial space craft and it is the companies call

The companies will name the vehicles.  NASA will designate them PCM-1, PCM-2 etc   

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Re: CCtCap Mission Naming, Callsigns
« Reply #20 on: 02/06/2015 06:59 AM »
NASA really has no say.  These are commercial space craft and it is the companies call

The companies will name the vehicles.  NASA will designate them PCM-1, PCM-2 etc

We shall see if the SpaceX publicity machine (their CTO) will overwhelmed the NASA alpha-numeric designation.  :P

He did name the "Just Read the Instructions" and "Of Course I Still Love You" ASDS units out of the blue.

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Re: CCtCap Mission Naming, Callsigns
« Reply #21 on: 02/06/2015 11:44 AM »

We shall see if the SpaceX publicity machine (their CTO) will overwhelmed the NASA alpha-numeric designation.  :P


There is no question that will happen.  For cargo missions, it is Dragon and Cygnus on NASA missions CRS-1, CRS-2, etc

Offline chuck34

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Re: CCtCap Mission Naming, Callsigns
« Reply #22 on: 02/10/2015 05:05 PM »
When you have worked on MSL since 2003, it already has a personality and it is not nameless.  MSL is just short for Emessel.  Renaming spacecraft exasperates those who worked on the spacecraft.

I'm curious, did/do the people at Grumman take a similar stance about their beloved LM-5?  Or do the guys that worked at North American still refer to CSM-107?

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Re: CCtCap Mission Naming, Callsigns
« Reply #23 on: 02/10/2015 05:15 PM »

I'm curious, did/do the people at Grumman take a similar stance about their beloved LM-5?  Or do the guys that worked at North American still refer to CSM-107?

Yes and even at the launch site too, because those vehicles weren't named when they were being built.  The engineering documentation would only have LM-5 or CSM-107.  The vehicles were under construction even before crews were assigned to them and also, sometimes the vehicles changed missions.

Even the engineering documentation for the Shuttle orbiters never referred to their names, they were OV-102, 103, 104, 105 and 099.  And they were called by those designations.
« Last Edit: 02/10/2015 05:19 PM by Jim »

Offline edkyle99

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Re: CCtCap Mission Naming, Callsigns
« Reply #24 on: 02/11/2015 12:10 AM »
Even the engineering documentation for the Shuttle orbiters never referred to their names, they were OV-102, 103, 104, 105 and 099.  And they were called by those designations.
Ditto that, from my time at KSC on payload contract during the 1980s.  We didn't say "Space Shuttle" either.  It was "STS".

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« Last Edit: 02/11/2015 12:12 AM by edkyle99 »

Offline chalz

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Re: CCtCap Mission Naming, Callsigns
« Reply #25 on: 02/16/2015 01:43 PM »
Hopefully they will again end up with several names, used by different people in different contexts. Although since they are private companies we probably won't find out the internal appellations.

Letting the designers or builders name a vehicle publicly is likely to give a more respectful name and a greater variety of names since those staff change over time.

Dragon is already such a good name they might have trouble supplanting it with craft specific names. Conversely CST-100 is such a clumsy name almost anything will be better.

Could they paint the inside of each Dragon a different colour and call it by that name; Green Dragon, Black Dragon? Also aids with identifying them on the internal video feed. Not sure if the D&D reference would occur to Musk though.

Offline Herb Schaltegger

Re: CCtCap Mission Naming, Callsigns
« Reply #26 on: 02/16/2015 08:10 PM »

This -- with the exception of Columbus (for some reason), nobody at JSC outside of PAO uses the fancy hardware names.  Instead of Unity, Harmony, Tranquility, Destiny, Kibo, Quest, Zarya, Zvezda, Pirs, Poisk, Rassvet, Leonardo, Canadarm 2, and Nauka, they say Node 1, Node 2, Node 3, US Lab, JEM, Airlock, FGB, Service Module, DC1, MRM2, MRM1, SSRMS, and MLM.

In the SSF pre-CDR days at Boeing, everyone - even WP2 people from JSC - called it "the ESA," along with "the JEM;" Nodes 1, 2, 3, 4, US Lab A, Hab A, etc. At least in most documentation I saw and people I spoke with.

Offline the_other_Doug

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Re: CCtCap Mission Naming, Callsigns
« Reply #27 on: 02/17/2015 01:44 AM »
I completely understand that, in construction, support, launch flow, etc., etc., the engineers will always use the specific engineering designations for the modules and spacecraft.  Look back at Apollo -- none of the production flow documents for the Apollo spacecraft referred to working on "Eagle" or "Kitty Hawk."  In the Shuttle era, all of the engineering documentation refer to OV-099, OV-102, OV-103, OV-104 and OV-105.  None call them Challenger, Columbia, etc., etc.

And yet -- if there is a single instance of an astronaut using "LM-5" or "OV-103" as their radio callsign, or of Houston using those designations when calling to the spacecraft, I've never, ever heard it.

What I'm talking about is, when the first crewed CST-100 or Dragon flies, they are not going to refer to themselves over the radio by the spacecraft's designated engineering model number.  Neither are they likely to identify themselves as the official mission designation, a la STS-27 or AS-503.  They will have a callsign of some kind.

That's what I'm trying to discuss, maybe seriously, maybe playfully.  Maybe usefully, if SpaceX and/or Boeing (and/or NASA) people happen to read these fora on occasion.  After all, I think it would be a public service to convince a Boeing VP (for example) that using "CST-100-Five" when calling to and from their vehicle in flight is a much worse idea than simply using "Astonisher" or "Beagle" or "Endurance," some kind of simple, easy-to-understand identity for their spacecraft.
-Doug  (With my shield, not yet upon it)

Offline Jim

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Re: CCtCap Mission Naming, Callsigns
« Reply #28 on: 02/17/2015 02:05 AM »

What I'm talking about is, when the first crewed CST-100 or Dragon flies, they are not going to refer to themselves over the radio by the spacecraft's designated engineering model number.  Neither are they likely to identify themselves as the official mission designation, a la STS-27 or AS-503.

AS-503 call sign was Apollo 8 which is no different than STS-27.
« Last Edit: 02/17/2015 02:07 AM by Jim »

Offline the_other_Doug

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Re: CCtCap Mission Naming, Callsigns
« Reply #29 on: 02/17/2015 02:25 AM »

What I'm talking about is, when the first crewed CST-100 or Dragon flies, they are not going to refer to themselves over the radio by the spacecraft's designated engineering model number.  Neither are they likely to identify themselves as the official mission designation, a la STS-27 or AS-503.

AS-503 call sign was Apollo 8 which is no different than STS-27.

Yep, exactly.  But for Shuttle, once NASA named the orbiters, those names became the callsigns.  And even in Apollo, on the missions carrying a LM, they used the spacecraft names (Spider, Eagle, Columbia, Casper, etc., etc.) rather than the generic callsign "Apollo n" during periods when the two spacecraft were communicating separately.

Which is a part of this discussion.  Will SpaceX name each Dragon v2 and use those names for a callsign?  Or will they go by, for example, "Dragonrider n" with n being iterated for each mission, a la Gemini and Apollo?  And if they go that route, will Boeing do the same thing, or pursue an entirely different callsign convention?

That's sort of what I wanted to discuss -- what would be the most appealing convention to our NSF community?  And what do we think the people at SpaceX, Boeing (and arguably NASA) who will make the actual decisions are going to do?
« Last Edit: 02/17/2015 02:27 AM by the_other_Doug »
-Doug  (With my shield, not yet upon it)

Offline HarryM

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Re: CCtCap Mission Naming, Callsigns
« Reply #30 on: 02/17/2015 08:15 PM »
I would think they could unofficially go with a generic "Dragon", since it's unlikely there will be more than one up at a time. It's also easy to say and it comes across clear with it's hard consonants.

Offline the_other_Doug

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Re: CCtCap Mission Naming, Callsigns
« Reply #31 on: 02/17/2015 10:25 PM »
Yep -- they sure could go with that.  Nice, short, two-syllable callsign, easy to understand over even poor radio reception.  But that doesn't answer what Boeing would want to do for the CST-100 flights.

Also -- I wonder just how much say NASA will have (or at least will want to have) in this.  As I understand it, the commercial crew flights to ISS will be controlled through the FCR at JSC, and as such NASA is the organization responsible for radio communications with the spacecraft.  Does this automatically give NASA (and specifically, NASA PAO) any say in the matter?  Or, if Elon decides to name his Dragons the same way he's naming the ASDS barges, will NASA PAO fight hard to keep him from naming one of them Funny, It Worked the Last Time... ?  :D
-Doug  (With my shield, not yet upon it)

Offline Herb Schaltegger

Re: CCtCap Mission Naming, Callsigns
« Reply #32 on: 02/18/2015 01:02 AM »
Yep -- they sure could go with that.  Nice, short, two-syllable callsign, easy to understand over even poor radio reception.  But that doesn't answer what Boeing would want to do for the CST-100 flights.

Personally, I hope someone in Boeing's Media Relations group is at least passingly familiar with their corporate history and some of the more important milestones and personalities. If so, I would posit that the highest and best callsign for a CST-100 flight would be "Clipper," with each flight given a "dash" suffix. E.g., "Clipper - Dash One", "Clipper - Dash Two", etc.

But perhaps that's just the romantic in me (who learned the basics of jet propulsion engineering from a fellow who worked on the 707, 727 and 747.

Online LouScheffer

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Re: CCtCap Mission Naming, Callsigns
« Reply #33 on: 02/18/2015 12:59 PM »
Commercial flights use a simple operator+number, such as "United 244, you are cleared to land".  Simple, un-ambiguous, allows different equipment without re-naming, generalizes to hundreds of flights/missions/ships.  So "Boeing 5" and "SpaceX 7", for example.

Offline the_other_Doug

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Re: CCtCap Mission Naming, Callsigns
« Reply #34 on: 02/18/2015 06:18 PM »
Yes, that's definitely one way they could go.  Of course, the commercial airline radio designations are meant to differentiate between hundreds of different aircraft with which the air traffic controllers are communicating at any one time, many of which are flights for the same carriers.

As such, while it's certainly a convention that could work, and it does carry historical precedent from the airline industry, it has very little historical precedent in human spaceflight.  Maybe it's time to consider such a change in paradigm, however.
-Doug  (With my shield, not yet upon it)

Offline JasonAW3

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Re: CCtCap Mission Naming, Callsigns
« Reply #35 on: 02/18/2015 07:53 PM »
I'm thinking that for Nearspace use, it'll probably be more like Air traffic control designations but interplanetary will likely have names for the interplanetary platforms themselves, much like ocean liners and cargo ships.

Ground to orbit craft will be given the ATC type designations, while interplanetary traffic control will be more like the current shipping systems for large vessels.  Similar to ATC, but at a much slower pace, using ship names or mission designations.  Refueling and provisioning stations will likely aquire more prosaic names instead of EML-1 for instance, it will likely be called Nearside Station while EML-2 would be Farside Station.

Mind you, this is all long term in speculation and likely won't be of much issue until we have multiple launches per day.  If cheap, reusable SSTO craft can be built, then this will likely have to be adopted within a decade or less, as there will likely be craft that will hitch rides on larger cycler style vessels, detatching themselves either near their arrival point or to transfer to another craft.

It will likely not be until the next century that manned spacecraft venture beyond the asteroid belt, unless better contruction techniques come into play, better radiation protection becomes available, and cheap, fast planetary transfer engines become available.

So, unless there is a rapid series of Manhattan Project moments in a variety of technologies, we're pretty much going to be stuck no further out into space, than the Asteroid Belt.  So flight call signs will only be applicible when there is enough traffic off planet to warrent a planetary tracking network for spacecraft.  (Assuming, that is, we clean up LEO before we have a major accident).
My God!  It's full of universes!

Offline Jim

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Re: CCtCap Mission Naming, Callsigns
« Reply #36 on: 02/18/2015 08:00 PM »
Not for decades.  Spacecraft currently don't share frequencies so there is really no need to have separate call signs.

Offline erioladastra

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Re: CCtCap Mission Naming, Callsigns
« Reply #37 on: 02/26/2015 02:28 PM »
Yep -- they sure could go with that.  Nice, short, two-syllable callsign, easy to understand over even poor radio reception.  But that doesn't answer what Boeing would want to do for the CST-100 flights.

Also -- I wonder just how much say NASA will have (or at least will want to have) in this.  As I understand it, the commercial crew flights to ISS will be controlled through the FCR at JSC, and as such NASA is the organization responsible for radio communications with the spacecraft.  Does this automatically give NASA (and specifically, NASA PAO) any say in the matter?  Or, if Elon decides to name his Dragons the same way he's naming the ASDS barges, will NASA PAO fight hard to keep him from naming one of them Funny, It Worked the Last Time... ?  :D

Many things in here that are incorrect.  First,  Flight Operations Director (FOD) is the operations agent for Boeing only.  They are, for all practical purposes, a sub contractor to Boeing.  Therefore, NASA role in radio communications has nothing to do with this.  SpaceX will oeprate their vehicle from their control center.  NASA will review frequencies to show there is no interference, nothing more.  Second, the commercial companies, period (see my post above), will name their vehicles whatever they want.  The can call them Fred and Bob for all NASA can do.  "NASA sucks 1" probably will run into stiff opposition.  NASA will name the flights PCM-1, PCM-2 for Post Certification Mission.  But at least for Boeing the space to ground call will be "Fred, Houston...".  No point in speculating any more beyond this.

I am confident Boeing will come up with a name akin to Dreamliner on the 787.  CST-100 is the make. 

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