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NASA Space Rocket Names

NASA Space Rocket Names

NASA does not adhere to a formal tradition for naming their vehicles, yet there are some patterns.

Alan Shepard’s Mercury capsule Freedom 7 established a precedent, so subsequent Mercury missions also ended with 7 as a name. This practice continued into Project Gemini and then Apollo.

Space Shuttle

The Well known NASA Space Rocket Names includes Space Shuttle, which carried astronauts into space for more than three decades. NASA operated its Space Shuttle spacecraft system as a partially reusable low Earth orbital spacecraft system, used to launch satellites, conduct science experiments in space and help build parts for the International Space Station. 

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Additionally, astronauts used it as transport to/from ISS; moreover it was the only vehicle capable of returning astronauts safely back to Earth via landing with enough power – and unlike seaplane pads at Kennedy or White Sands; landings could occur directly onto runways rather than seaplane pads at Kennedy or White Sands. NASA Space Rocket Names are also equipped with alphanumeric codes for technical reasons.

NASA awarded Rockwell the contract in early 1979 to convert STA-099 into an orbiter known as OV-099. Martin Marietta won the contract to build its Shuttle External Tank or ET, both components were assembled at a factory located near Palmdale in California.

Before NASA could approve OV-099’s flight, extensive vibration and thermal testing had to be done on it. 

They wanted to ensure its new design could withstand the rigorous demands of space travel; vibration testing provided a means for this assessment. NASA Space Rocket Names such as Falcon, Delta, and Atlas refer to different launch vehicle families.

On April 12th 1981, Columbia made history when it made its inaugural voyage as the first American ocean vessel ever to circle the globe and as Apollo 11 command module.  Sometimes, NASA Space Rocket Names are selected through public involvement initiatives.

Every NASA Space Rocket Names is a legacy of human discovery and scientific success.

Other historical ships carrying this name include Boston-based sloops from 1780, as well as one which explored Hudson Bay for possible northwest passage between Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

Space Launch System (SLS)

Space Launch System Space Launch System is a new NASA rocket designed to take crew members on missions to Mars and other places beyond Earth orbit, and cargo that will be transported to the International Space Station and other commercial payloads specifically designed to transport cargo and humans more quickly than other vehicles and get them to their destinations quicker; SLS will also reduce the costs of space exploration and create quality jobs right here in the United States.

The SLS rocket will be the most powerful since the Saturn V that carried Apollo astronauts to the moon. When in its initial configuration, the SLS can carry up to 27 tons of crew and cargo; its first flight test is planned for 2017. NASA gives NASA Space Rocket Names to space rockets in order to ensure recognition and the significance of their history.

Boeing has already begun work on the core stage of SLS, which will hold liquid hydrogen and oxygen. It will be powered by four RS-25 engines from space shuttle fleet, plus two solid rocket boosters weighing over 80,000 pounds each.

NASA and Boeing are working together on an advanced version of the Space Launch System (SLS), capable of lifting 130 metric tons. Additionally, this project includes the Exploration Upper Stage; an upper stage that could launch spacecraft beyond lunar orbit. NASA Space Rocket Names such as Falcon, Delta, and Atlas refer to various families of launch vehicles.

The NASA Space Rocket Names usually reflect the capabilities and purposes of rockets.


Orion is a crew vehicle developed by NASA that will enable astronauts to travel beyond Low Earth Orbit. 

Powered by an extremely powerful rocket known as Space Launch System (SLS), Orion can access Moon, Mars and asteroids with ease. Orion Multipurpose Crew Vehicle resembles Apollo Command Module but with enhanced radiation protection features as well as an ingenious heat shield that will allow Orion to operate at extremely high speeds.The spacecraft is propelled by 33 engines. 

The main engine utilizes hydrazine and oxygen for propulsion while secondary main engines provide additional thrust in yaw and pitch directions. Furthermore, 12 Aerojet Rocketdyne MR-104G catalytic thrusters may also be utilized to provide in-space propulsion.

Orion provides an emergency Launch Abort System which can be activated within seven seconds to safely separate its Command Module and Service Module from other parts of its stack, should any launch pad or midflight incident arise.

Lockheed Martin has constructed the Orion, a spacecraft designed to explore our solar system and eventually reach the Moon. It has a modular design suitable for long-duration missions and advanced life support systems, along with radiation sensors to protect astronauts against cosmic and solar radiation.


Shenzhou is the name of a Chinese spacecraft designed for human space flight, inspired by Russia’s Soyuz capsule but larger in size and constructed using different materials. 

China began developing Shenzhou as part of Project 921’s National Manned Space Program in 1968; its first unmanned test launch occurred on November 1999 while Shenzhou-2 and 3 followed suit with January and March 2001 launches, respectively, while Yang Liwei became China’s inaugural Taikonaut (astronaut). 

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Yang Liwei made his debut appearance aboard Shenzhou-5 on October 2003 as Yang Liwei became their inaugural Taikonaut (astronaut).

China has launched five Shenzhou missions to the Tiangong space station since then. Shenzhou 14 was launched on May 30 with three crewmembers aboard to reach Tiangong module.

Shenzhou consists of three modules: an orbital module, service module and reentry vehicle – the latter contains a heat shield to separate from other modules during reentry – solar panels for life support systems as well as transfer capabilities from and to Tiangong are housed within these three sections.

Shenzhou features 21 avionics black boxes connected by a redundant MIL-STD-1553B data bus, communicating between themselves using three redundant Central Terminal Units located within its three modules and with each other via MIL-STD-1553B protocols. 

A triple redundant Central Terminal Unit in its Reentry module controls flight, landing, reentry and primary control during reentry/landing as well as providing primary power from two pairs of solar cells that each provide 1.5kW.

Frequently Asked Questions

Naming rockets aids in identifying and distinguish them, particularly in discussions and records of historical significance. It also honors research achievements in exploration, goals for exploration, and the cultural influence.

Although NASA generally has internal procedures to name its projects and vehicles, they frequently require public input for specific programmes or missions. Contests, or suggestions from the public may be held to name spacecraft, but the final choices are taken through NASA officials.

Naming rockets aids in identifying and distinguish them, particularly in discussions and records of historical significance. It also honors the achievements of scientists as well as exploration goals and the cultural influence.

Although NASA generally has internal procedures to name its projects and vehicles, they usually include public input on certain programmes or missions. Contests or suggestions by the public can be held to name spacecraft, however final choices are taken in the hands of NASA officials.

Yes, a lot of space agencies around the globe like the Russian space agency Roscosmos along with the European Space Agency (ESA) each have their own name rockets. Names are often a reflection of the history, culture, or technological advances of the particular countries or organizations.


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