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Craft naming conventions?


vger
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An odd aesthetic thing I've struggled with since I started playing, and I still haven't arrived at a system I'm happy with.

At what point do you stop slapping higher #'s on the end of a mission, and give it a new name?

There are very few scenarios where something I make isn't built on top of a simpler design. The same rocket design that put a Kerbal into orbit, also went to Mun and Minmus, just with some extra boosters slapped on. This creates an dilemma because I can never decide at what point it's time to retire a name and come up with something new. About the only time I DO know when to do this is when I launch permanent satellites that don't exist to run experiments. If the same rocket has a capsule instead of a probe on the end, does it get a new name? What about the addition of a lab, or a cargo bay, or a different electrical power source? Should I be changing it up every time I target a different world? I want to do something that closely matches how NASA handles it, but if there's a document written about the subject, (with real space agencies OR the game) I haven't been able to find it.

Edited by vger
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I've started using the subassembies and naming the different stages. Then your launch vehicle sort of gets a name based on how you mix and match stages. I like adverbs for boosters, adjectives for lower stages and nouns for upper stages. Then the rocket name becomes adverb-adjective-noun. Maybe not super realistic, but it makes for fun names.

Generally I'd give each satellite or probe a new name when it does something not identical to the one before it. Like comsat 1, 2, 3, etc. Can do the same with crewed vehicles, except I think real space agencies name them by missions. Landers or rovers could get unique names since each one will probably be a little different. Maybe even probes could get unique names if you're not sending up multiple copies of basically the same thing.

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I have a new one for my current career - derogatory names.

It started with "Stupid MunSat". I only wanted to indicate that it's a very low-tech probe, compared to the technological marvels that I'll soon be using. But I realized that I like seeing that name in the Tracking Station, so the new naming convention was born. Since than I keep sending stuff like "Puny MinProbe", "Damned Rescue", "Silly SciLab", "Hopeless Tourism" and "That Bloody Station on LKO". And a few more I'm not comfortable sharing.

I blame the time I spent playing a certain moba while waiting for 1.1.

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I probably don't understand your dilemma, because I doubt I've been around as much as you and I don't consider how NASA does it. At all.

But I name new versions of rockets by giving them a version letter, Like 'Firebrand_G'. Same as most air forces designate their aircraft versions. For an identical rocket, making a second journey, it gets a number, Like 'Lensman_D2'. If there is a point in keeping a version saved, but it has undergone a minor modification before the mission, it gets a mark letter, roman numeral, like 'Kronos_C_MkII'. In this case there never was a literal 'Kronos_C' mission. It's only a saved rocket. The Kronos_C is the Kronos_C_MkII.

I only change name if it's a new design from the ground up, which it might be, even if some components are identical to already used in other rockets. - Or:  if the modification is for a complete mission change, like going to Gillie instead of Ike. But only if it's a modification, otherwise it keeps the old version name with a new number, even if it performs a different mission, because ultimately this naming system serves the way of storing my designs. That's the purpose.

 

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I've been working on this problem myself for awhile.  I used to use a series of names that I used for years based on various gods/goddesses (Danu, Morrigan, Thor, etc).  To keep my VAB files organized I started using mission numbers like 1 "mission name" and so on.  Now I use "program designations", which are also named, followed by vehicle names.  For launchers I use "S1 or 2 followed by a letter" much like the Saturn launch system.

Oh and I also use the "notes" mod to keep things even more organized.  Honestly I just started a new career game because my last was becoming hideously disorganized.  I didn't even know where half my designs were.

Example:  My initial manned missions are under the "Valhalla" designation.  Completed payloads with launchers get "Valhalla-1 or 2 etc".  Launch systems are divided by stages "Thor S1A" or "Thor S2B".  Full spacecraft get a name and a program designation unless they are universal systems.

I have put waaaaaaay more effort into this then anything else, like flying spacecraft. :(

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In career, when I'm working on a design that I plan to use frequently, I usually do something like this:

XP1 Maharajah Nova XS "Tumbleweed"

X = experimental - it loses this when it eventually works as intended :)
P = plane, R for Rocket, SP for Spaceplane, H for helicopter, etc
1 = design serial (first plane, second plane etc)
Maharajah = family/make of craft (arbitrary decision by me whether it belongs to an existing or new family, usually based on 'look')
Nova = craft model name
XS = usually denotes options, e.g. XS has an optional SRB booster stage, XR for Extended Range (drop tanks) etc)
"Tumbleweed" = particular designation for particular vehicle, to differentiate between multiple missions using identical designs.

 

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On 6/11/2016 at 2:15 PM, The_Rocketeer said:

In career, when I'm working on a design that I plan to use frequently, I usually do something like this:

XP1 Maharajah Nova XS "Tumbleweed"

X = experimental - it loses this when it eventually works as intended :)
P = plane, R for Rocket, SP for Spaceplane, H for helicopter, etc
1 = design serial (first plane, second plane etc)
Maharajah = family/make of craft (arbitrary decision by me whether it belongs to an existing or new family, usually based on 'look')
Nova = craft model name
XS = usually denotes options, e.g. XS has an optional SRB booster stage, XR for Extended Range (drop tanks) etc)
"Tumbleweed" = particular designation for particular vehicle, to differentiate between multiple missions using identical designs.

 

Ha!  See I'm not totally crazy. :D  I actually used to do something like this before I switched systems.

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I build modular rockets with a booster and a payload sections.  For boosters, my naming convention is that each new major type is named for a Greek letter (Alpha, Beta, Delta, Gamma...).  Each new revision of a booster type is numbered (Gamma 1, Gamma 2, etc...), but if the only modification is strap-on boosters, then I add "Heavy" to the end (Gamma 2 Heavy).

Payload sections are more variable.  For satellites launched to fill a contract, it's simply named after the contracting agency and numbered (Winter Owl 1).  Science missions are usually just named for what they do (Mun Lander 1).  I'm more creative with manned capsules, and they're usually named following some kind of theme.  In my current game, it's names of KPop singers.

The final vehicle name is then payload + booster, so something like "Mun Lander 1 Beta 2".

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I have names for the different craft classes, Hugin for landers and Mun/Minmus capable rockets, Sleipnir for interplanetary ships and so on. I add a number to designate the generation and one or more letters designating special characteristics, such as a science focused craft or a craft with extra high delta-v.

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FYI, I'm almost done with my new mod:  Persistent Dynamic Pod Names, which will allow you to use a template for a craft, which would get updated with values at launch and at each staging.  It's going to have the following capabilities:

  • Specify a template name for the entire vessel
  • Specify either a template name or a static name for each command pod in the vessel
  • Define your own templates

There will be a number of variables you will be able to use in the template, including a special counter which you can define to count launches of a specific craft; ie:  Apollo 7, Apollo 8, etc.

I'm hoping to be done with it in the next two weeks or so

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On 6/11/2016 at 6:59 PM, linuxgurugamer said:

FYI, I'm almost done with my new mod:  Persistent Dynamic Pod Names, which will allow you to use a template for a craft, which would get updated with values at launch and at each staging.  It's going to have the following capabilities:

  • Specify a template name for the entire vessel
  • Specify either a template name or a static name for each command pod in the vessel
  • Define your own templates

There will be a number of variables you will be able to use in the template, including a special counter which you can define to count launches of a specific craft; ie:  Apollo 7, Apollo 8, etc.

I'm hoping to be done with it in the next two weeks or so

This is a great idea.  It would save so much headache in the tracking station!  Looking forward to it.

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My current game is sort of a take on a post apollo that never happened.  As such, I have a various Jool (Saturn) launchers built from sub assemblies named for Saturn stages.  So I have J-IB, J-IC, J-II, J-IVB stages that get assembled to make analogs of Saturn IB, INT-18, INT-19, INT-21, V, etc rockets as needed, as well as a KTS (STS analog, shuttle).  Missions get named using various derivitives of real world series or descriptive names.

Artemis -Apollo

StarLAB -Skylab

Missions to StarLAB via rocket, SL-xxx starting at 101, shuttle launches KTS-xxx starting at 001. 

Oresat is a polar ore scanning satellite. -M for Mun, -D for Duna, etc.

Moonbase I'm building is called Alpha (Space 1999).

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I haven't played the game in a while, but one of the techniques that that that I used was this: Every craft that I built belonged to a program. This program was given a Two-letter abbreviation, and each craft was given a program number. The naming scheme resulted in:

- XX-01,02, etc.

 

Lastly, each craft was given a nickname. For example, my reusable spaceplanes fell under Project Astral Might. Thusly, my spaceplaces were named:

 

- AM-01 "EuroBird", 

- AM-02 "Ursa" 

 

And so on.This naming scheme is organized, methodical, and adds an "official" flare to my space program. Hope this helps!

Edited by SkyHook
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Generic rockets (the kind I bolt a pair of boosters to extend its range from Munar to Minmusian orbit) I give rather generic names based on the center stack size, and the number of stages. Stack size is based on the Greek Alphabet, and stage count is merely in Roman numerals.

For Stack Size:

  • 0.625m - Alpha
  • 1.25m - Beta
  • 1.875m - Gamma
  • 2.5m - Delta
  • 3.75m - Epsilon
  • 5m - Zeta
  • 7.5m - Eta

So a 4 stage rocket with a 3.75m center stack would be Epsilon IV.

However, for actually mission function I have a set of abbreviations:

  • Science - S
  • Habitation - H
  • Mining - O
  • Processing - P
  • Construction - C
  • Emergency - E
  • Experimental - X
  • Tugging/Redirection - T
  • Tanker/Fuel Pod - F
  • Crew Transfer - K

Ship Class:

  • Station - S
  • Rover - R
  • Spaceplane - P
  • Base - B
  • Orbital vessel - O
  • SSTO - T
  • Probe - P
  • Satellite - L
  • Lander - G

I also class them by wet mass: K=Kiloton, T=Tonnage, k=kilogram. I end the name with their ship number (which unless different ones are outfitted with different equipment, is left blank in the editor), with the lead ship of the class always being 01. A 12-ton Science Lander would be classed 12T/SG-(ship number).

If the craft is special enough, I'll name give the class a bona fide class name. As for these particularly special craft, shuttles, interplanetary transports, and so on, I generally name them whatever I find most fitting. I have a massive (in the kilotons) asteroid/junk tug I simply called the Mammoth. Other ships, such as my favorite big shuttle (it can lift 90 tons to LKO, and still get the Liquid Fuel Booster to LKO with it), might get mythological names such as Janus. Others, assuming it'll spell something pronounceable, will get acronyms like DAVe (Duna Ascent Vehicle) as the class name.

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I like to have independent names for:

  1. Complete vehicles with a particular purpose - for example, most of my vertical crew ascent vehicles are either called Mercury or Hermes, depending on whether or not their launch systems are recoverable. This naming convention stops when I need more than 8 kerbals in orbit on a single launcher.
  2. Types of launcher - different names for each series of launcher, but similar names for similar launchers. For example, my Tano launcher series consists of the Tano A, Tano X1, Tano X2, and Tano X4. All are non-recoverable 2.5m launchers with very similar designs (you can build all the way up the series from the basic Tano A) and a maximum payload mass that increases as the power increases. My naming for launchers usually changes depending on diameter, and whether or not they're recoverable.
  3. Commonly used sub-assemblies - I personally like to name things like command/service modules, because I'll use the same design for many different things (e.g. a three-crew Hydra 3a capsule with SRB-based LAS/landing motors and a 0.625m docking port can be used as a Mercury/Hermes capsule or for a non-reusable Mun/Minmus vehicle).
  4. Landers/ascent vehicles/spaceplanes - Sometimes a planet needs a particular SSTO design, and I name it for that planet (e.g. Duna Exploration Vehicle/DEV), other times the same design can be used for multiple places, in which case it'll be given its own name (Ceres and Ceres β are two of my examples), or there's HAAVs (Heavy Atmospheric Ascent Vehicles, currently the Sugilite HAAV is the only one I have need for) for Eve and any modded worlds with high gravity and thick atmospheres. My naming conventions for spaceplanes don't really have a reasoning behind them, I'll just append mission nomenclature depending on where their destination is, and give them an abbriviated classification (e.g. Single Stage Orbital Freighter/SSOF).
  5. Rovers/atmospheric planes/boats - Similar designs warrant similar names. I don't really have any good examples currently, because wheels have been buggy since I've worked out my standardized nomenclature, and I haven't done much in-depth exploration of Laythe recently either.
  6. Interplanetary and interstellar transport vehicles - I have a few rules for these. The first part of the name is the vessel classification (IPT/InterPlanetary Transport, IPF/Interplanetary Freighter, IST/InterStellar Transport, ISF/InterStellar Freighter) depending on what it does. Transports are more modular and are usually used for early missions as well as crew transport, whilst freighters are a massive late-game solution for moving enormous colonial pieces. The next part of the name is the name of the vessel itself; I usually go with a piece of music that I like but it doesn't really matter what they're called. The final part of the name is the mission nomenclature.
  7. Missions to a particular planet/moon - This is the mission nomenclature that I've mentioned previously. Anything going further than Kerbin orbit will have a mission designation. This is unique to the planet being explored (I always explore moon systems wherever I go so there's no need to pick names for moons). The name (e.g. Athena for Duna missions) is added to the end of any relevant vessels in square brackets. An example Duna transport would be called "IPT Red Star [Athena]".
  8. Anything that's either unique or follows a particular aesthetic different from the rest of your vehicles - this is a special category. If you ever decide you want to experiment and make something completely out of your usual style, this is the sort of naming convention that might be good for you. My best example is my Titan vessel series: a set of truly enormous vehicles designed for colonising just about anywhere. The Hyperion Mass Crew Transport can land anywhere, and functions as an SSTO from any stock world except Kerbin and Eve (so I still have to use HAAVs to get crew off Eve's surface) as long as you refuel it on the surface for the larger worlds; it holds 24 crew and every stock science experiment, and has a lot of docking ports so that it can serve either as a station core or as a base module. The Prometheus β and Prometheus Major are huge fuel transports that are still in the design phase but they are pretty big. The rest have yet to be named, but I have a skycrane planned, as well as a few other things. All will be named after Titans from ancient Greek mythology, and for the most part there won't be any duplicate names because they're all designed to work anywhere (Prometheus β was an exception because I needed fuel but the main Prometheus craft wasn't done yet).

This is really just the way that I do things, but it might benefit you to develop a similarly in-depth naming convention so that you no longer have to wonder whether or not to give a new name to the vehicle or just to stick another number on the end of what you already have.

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I name mine something like this:

MHLV-2 MunLander

Medium-Heavy Launch Vehicle mk2  [Mission]

So a solar satellite using the same launch vehicle would be something like MHLV-2 Sunsat. The name of the payload is the name of the craft, plus the # of the same craft used before.

This excludes my turboprops, which have the name of my little company and a random numeric-alphabetic name which is meant to sound funny.

Edited by The Optimist
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1 hour ago, The Optimist said:

I name mine something like this:

MHLV-2 MunLander

Medium-Heavy Launch Vehicle mk2  [Mission]

So a solar satellite using the same launch vehicle would be something like MHLV-2 Sunsat. The name of the payload is the name of the craft, plus the # of the same craft used before.

This excludes my turboprops, which have the name of my little company and a random numeric-alphabetic name which is meant to sound funny.

I do very much the same, it makes it easy to create cool names that mean something and help you determine which craft it is. An example i have is LADEP-Mk3 (low altitude duel engine plane, and then version 3). 

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Acronyms. Acronyms everywhere. A few examples: 

  • ELAPSE (Extremely Low APproach Solar Explorer)
  • KEOMAST (KEOstationary Meteorological Analysis STation)
  • BEERS (Belt Exploration & Electron Radiation Surveyor) 

Most sequence schemes are a letter followed by a number or vice versa,  like TDRS A1/A2/A3 or WAO 3A/3B/3C/3D. 

Artemis spacecraft use a Soyuz style  system. 

For example, AB2-005 would be:
A = Artemis (doesn't change)
B2 = Block 2
005 = fifth mission in the sequence

The Athena IV uses a serial number system inspired by the Ariane but more like STS where the flights are manifested but not necessarily flown in that order.

For example, VA4-015 would be:
VA4 = Vol Athena IV (Vol is French for flight)
015 = order manifested

(Pardon the formatting, I'm on mobile and I can't do a single space enter. @KasperVld perhaps there should be an option to enable it from the mobile editor? That is if it's possible?) So much better on desktop.

Edited by Mrsupersonic8
FINALLY can properly format
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NASA pre-STS named the programs after Greek or Roman gods, and the rockets (Subassemblies) had (and still have) separate program names from the payload.  Mercury was technically "Mercury-Redstone" or "Mercury-Atlas" depending on which rocket they used, but the governing convention in early NASA was that the short name was the name of the payload, sequentially numbered.  When the payload core changed (effectively equivalent to which command pod was used), it was due to a new program.  A few programs diverged widely in architecture from start to end, Mariner being the most notable - Voyager I was originally Mariner 11 before it got its own name.

The system changed with the introduction of the Shuttle, with a reusable craft all the missions became serialized according to the order in which they were planned, and launches ended up out of sequence depending on when the payload was available, the required launch window, delays due to weather, equipment problems, etc.

In my case, I originally followed a similar convention, which Earth mythology for the program names:

Daedalus - manned missions (1-man capsule)
Artemis - manned missions (3-man capsule)

Icarus - unmanned satellites, followed by
Cerberus - Long-range unmanned
Cassandra / Kassandra - advanced unmanned satellites (typically my communications network for RemoteTech)
Orpheus - used for a few other satellites

I've used Athena for both manned and unmanned depending on the game save

My Subassemblies ("Boosters") were named after major mythological figures: Ares, Zeus, Hades, Loki, Thor, Odin, Poseidon

Cargo resupply named after beasts of burden or large animals - Pachyderm, Dromedary, and my tugs are usually names Hepahaestus, Hercules / Heracles, or Samson

My spaceplanes are normally named after birds

If the design changed from a prior version, I name it Mark [X], i.e. "Mk 3" or "Mk III".  If the design is unchanged I'll rename the craft in orbit to be a sequential number - "Cassandra 5", for example.  I have poor consistency on that one.  If the design revision is minor, it might get a letter - "Kassandra Mk IA" for example.

Lately I've had 2 major departures from this naming scheme.  My space stations all have unique names, but they're usually mythological places - Elysium, Asgard, Valhalla, Eden, Shamballah, Paradise, etc.  If they're sent on a giant booster, they just get a single name - if in multiple pieces, they become Asgard I, II, III, etc.  The other are my deep space vessels, which get the designation DSE (Deep Space Explorer) followed by a serial number and a unique name.  My current major ship design that I'm working on for a mission to Cercani ("Other Worlds") is "DSE-02 William Klarke".

I also have some one-offs and "joke" names like a probe called "DaProbe" and some very roomy Munar missions called "Kadillac".  But they're not in any sense "conventional"

For a while under 0.18 - 0.24 I had a manned mission series called "Trailblazer", they were sequentially numbered and if they had nuclear engines they got an "N" - i.e. "Trailblazer XIIN".  I've also sometimes named craft with -E or -MJ to indicate they were built with parts from Kerbal Engineer or MechJeb so that I knew which mods needed to be installed to load them into a newer game.  Some of my designs date back to version 0.17 or 0.18.

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11 minutes ago, panarchist said:

NASA pre-STS named the programs after Greek or Roman gods, and the rockets (Subassemblies) had (and still have) separate program names from the payload.  Mercury was technically "Mercury-Redstone" or "Mercury-Atlas" depending on which rocket they used, but the governing convention in early NASA was that the short name was the name of the payload, sequentially numbered.  When the payload core changed (effectively equivalent to which command pod was used), it was due to a new program.  A few programs diverged widely in architecture from start to end, Mariner being the most notable - Voyager I was originally Mariner 11 before it got its own name.

 

Yeah, it seems like NASA may not even have a perfect protocol for when to or when not to serialize missions.

Found this last night...

Quote

Each project name will be a simple euphonic word that will not duplicate or be confused with other NASA or non-NASA project titles. When possible and if appropriate, names will be chosen to reflect NASA's mission. Project names will be serialized when appropriate…however, serialization will be used only after successful flight or accomplishment has been achieved.

The big wildcard there is the phrase, "when appropriate." It probably means there have been times when tens of thousands of dollars were spent on a committee to bicker for a week over what to call a new probe :cool:

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I give them the following designations:
A brief description of what it is, followed by an appropriate name (often a pop culture, or historical, reference). If I can't think of any appropriate names, cool-sounding ones are an acceptable substitute.

For example, my first mun and back craft is usually called the "Munar Lander 'Luna'". If I send something to the moon that stays there forever, it's something like "Impact Probe 'Nightmare Moon'", and if I send a probe for data from the sun, it's the "Solar Probe 'Icarus'".

Edited by strigon
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A new one for me since switching from diesel electric locomotives on rapid land trains of mostly death.. I used to strictly adhere to a class system where the first set of numbers denoted the railway class number eg 44 followed by locomotive number like 31 so following railway practise 4431 would be both her number...name of which legendary feats were applied too in history..and the sorrow of loss..respecting her fallen sisters before her

But!

With the switch to KSC taxiway trundling trackless trains serving as crew and fuel transport..small in size..ultra flexable electricly powered and speed limited to either 5 ms for a shuttlecar limited to KSC and 13ms for an outer suburban 4 car passenger set,

 

Theyve become friendly SAFE perfectly viable joys to drive both exploring KSCs surprisingly complex network of pathways and roads and taking an almost relaxing drive to outlying bases..if a little slow..but slow means survival.. Speed is death

 

They dont quite deserve to be numbered and in essence follow the dark traditions of land trains of old..

Ive decided to follow a short lived idea of sydneys tramline and give each a name..in time ill paint it on 

 

First up is outer suburban set class leader.. Yet to be painted light blue

Lobster-Magnet

EUfGgPE.png

Her name comes from the pre-youtube newgrounds flash animation by the same name , although not having a beek..

The name is both happy and a play on previous trains Kraken attracting properties

Her sister train, a 2 car KSC set is similar named YATTA in the same ideals

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  • 3 weeks later...

My rovers:

Wuzzit designed for? Laythe? L-1

What color is Laythe? Blue? Sapphire

L-1 "Sapphire" LMV

So imaginative

EDIT: To be specific, manned rovers

Edited by Brownhair2
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