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View Diary: Remembering Fallen Heroes: A Tough Week for NASA (42 comments)

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  •  Shuttle Names (0+ / 0-)

    NASA kept up a fine naval tradition. Three of the  operational shuttles are  named for Apollo command modules or Lunar Modules.  The other two are named for naval research ships.

    Columbia -Apollo 11 Command Module
    Challenger -Apollo 17 Lunar Module
    Endeavour -Apollo 15 Command Module
    Discovery -named for the RRS Discovery -Shackelton's ship on his first Antartic Expedition
    Atlantis -Woods Holes' first research ship.

    Pretty neat stuff.

    •  Well, the shuttles were all named for ships (0+ / 0-)

      of exploration; Columbia (1836 Navy frigate, one of the first to circumnavigate the globe), Challenger (British research vessel, explored Atlantic & Pacific oceans 1872-76), and Endeavour (Captain James Cook's first command) happened to share names with the Apollo spacecraft you mentioned. Discovery is the namesake of two ships: Henry Hudson's ship that he used to search for a northwest passage between the Atlantic and Pacific in 1610-11, and James Cook's which discovered the Hawaiian Islands, explored southern Alaska and western Canada.

      Enterprise, of course, was named for a fictitious ship of exploration. I consider it an historic disappointment that she never flew in space.

      Interestingly, the sailing-ship-of-exploration naming convention didn't come about until after the renaming of Enterprise (which was supposed to be called Constitution) as a result of the letter-writing campaign by Star Trek fans. NASA decided to formalize the naming process to avoid a repeat.

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