Aperture Science

Out of curiosity, what's your craft naming scheme?

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Hey there.

It's actually been a while since I last played KSP, but after taking a look at a few crafts of mine and the way I named, I got curious:

What naming scheme do you use to name your ships?

I, for instance, used the USAF naming scheme for naming aircraft, and a self-made scheme for naming rocket based on their characteristics, such as:

-Total Stages

-Crewed (if so, how many crewkerbs)

-Carriable cargo, in tons

-Ship ID

-Ship version

-Total delta-V once in LKO, in m/s, sum of all stages


Kerbal-X, for instance, would look something like 3 C/3 0 "Kerbal X" A 4302 (note: 4302 is just an example)


I'm curious to know how you guys name yours, feel free to share!

Edited by Aperture Science

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I'm ridiculously boring usually. Usually it's just <destination> <job> <iteration>, as in "Mun Orbit 2" or "Laythe Lander 1" or maybe "Jeb Rescue"

Sometimes I throw in something whimsical. "Eve Exploder" in tribute to Scott Manley or something like that. "Kill Me Not" for dangerous stuff. Whatever. But more often than not, it's the simple <destination> <job> <iteration>

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It's different in every save, and often highly random (for example, I had a save where every craft name was the name of a Simon & Garfunkel song). The only exception is my naming scheme for RSS/RO/RP-1, where spacecraft are named after figures from Ancient Greek history and mythology. Even there, though, I pick something random for my booster/upper stage naming scheme (for example, I had a save where boosters were named after birds of prey, and upper stages after songbirds).

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I'm with 5th Horseman.  In my current game so far there have been:

Sub Orbital 

Tourist sub orbital 

First orbit 

Tourist orbital 



However I plan to break convention,  my next launch will be Agena, a target vessel for the next ship, which probably called Docker or Dock Test.  No prizes for guessing thier mission :D

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I don't really have one. I mean I do, but it's weird. 

If it's unmanned, then the name is the probe core name (OKTO, HECS etc) if it has any other purposes than just being in orbit, like it has a scanning equipment, I add SCAN. 

For manned missions I simply use the capacity as a name - if it can hold one kerbal, it's Single, if two it's Double etc.

Then the rest of the name: it goes from Mk1 to Mkwhatever, so far I got only to 3. Mk1 can get into LKO and nothing more, Mk3 can reach Minmus orbit and come back (and is more reliable) OR, the regular iterations, if I don't plan to increase their dV but the overall design changes to better, with newer tech, like my Lune Mk1, the SaturnV-ish Apollo-ish ship for Mun landing.

Then I add letters: D if it has a docking port, R if at least the first stage is recoverable, L if it goes for landing somewhere.

So I can have OKTO2 Mk3RL or Triple Mk2RD

Planes have their own names, so do rovers, orbital stations, bases (the last two have planet prefix, like Kerbutt (don't ask) and Dunbase)

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Similar to 5thHorseman, but abbreviated.  MX1 would be space station (X) 1 at (or going to) the Mun.

Every planet/moon has a unique single-letter designation: e.g. 'N' is Minmus.  Every type of craft has a unique single-letter designation: e.g. 'R' rover.  I use X for space station only because mine is 'Krux', which is a cross.

For the exact type of craft, when it is important, I sometimes add that after code for clarity, especially for airplanes.  On Kerbin and the Mun, with lots of bases, I'll add the longitude for the base the craft is attached to (even if it is traveling).

Haystack searches happily on short, consistent abbreviations, so entering e.g. '34W' brings up everything relevant to that longitude, if it is so marked.  The clarity part after the abbreviation could include something like 'KX1', which prompts me that when it has finished its mission, it should return to base, Kerbin space station #1.

The system is still somewhat fluid and evolving.  So perhaps something like 'KX1H1 Hawk', meaning 'first Hawk attached to KX1' is where it is going.

Edited by Hotel26

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I have several that I am currently using.

Standard spacecraft and modules are all given a designation as Alnitak, Alnilam, or Mintaka, mostly just depending on their size; these names come from the stars in Orion's Belt. Alnitak covers 1.25m to 1.875m parts, Alnilam covers 2.5m parts, and Mintaka covers 3.75m and larger parts. This naming scheme is for crewed spacecraft and for modules of crewed vehicles; uncrewed large spacecraft will perhaps get a separate naming scheme once I actually create some, but probes are typically bespoke for a particular mission.

On top of the Orion's Belt names, there are sub-classes, denoted by a number appended to the star name. Alnitak-1 denoted my first crewed spacecraft series (a one-kerbal spacecraft and some basic station modules), Alnitak-2 now covers my Gemini-like two-kerbal crew transport and the expanded infrastructure designed to work with it (including future Mun and Minmus landers), Alnitak-3 will consist of extensions of the Alnitak-class spacecraft for surface base construction on Mun and Minmus, and Alnitak-4 will only be used if I continue using similar technology for early interplanetary missions (probably limited to flybys of Eve and Duna, and certainly nothing more complex than landings on Gilly and Ike). Alnilam-1 will include technology somewhat comparable to both the Apollo program and the lunar aspect of the Constellation program, Alnilam-2 will involve things like Duna landings and surface infrastructure (as well as expanding upon all previous capabilities), and beyond that it really depends where I want to go and when. Mintaka-class modules will almost exclusively be components of stations and interplanetary transports, though the classification will also include some of the larger landing vehicles.

Each individual spacecraft of the aforementioned classes also has its own designation, but that is just a short alphanumerical sequence to indicate what it does (e.g. CT3 refers to a crew transport for three kerbals). These designations are always unique because within a particular series of spacecraft (i.e. similar level of technology) it makes little sense to have several that do the same thing.

All that said, these names do not apply to the actual missions. Crewed missions, mission programs, modular spacecraft (like interplanetary transports), and space stations are all named after Jovian moons. Surface bases are named after Uranian moons. Uncrewed spacecraft like probes are named after Saturnian moons - with the exception of landers, and atmospheric ascent vehicles for gas giants, which are named after Neptunian moons. Regarding crewed missions, any bespoke infrastructure (anything designed exclusively for that mission without the possibility of modularity) will just be named after the mission; for example, if I choose to name my upcoming Munar missions the Pasiphae program (one of the Jovian moons I am considering for the name), a versatile orbital resupply depot will be Alnitak-class while a lander designed exclusively for transporting cargo to the Munar surface will be Pasiphae-class.

My launch vehicles are standardized and also have a naming scheme, though I doubt many people will be able to guess the source material (the names in question are Argos, Halcyon, Minos, Aegis, Orion, and Mimir).

Just about the only things I do not yet have a standardized naming scheme for are standard transfer stages (for sending payloads of a particular mass from low Kerbin orbit to other locations, and potentially back again), planes, and rovers, but in all three of these cases that is because I have not yet made any of these vehicles in my current 1.6 playthrough.

Edited by septemberWaves

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I use a TLA designation for the ship's purpose, in a deliberate homage to the Culture novels. OUV is "Orbital Utility Vehicle"; SCT is "SOI Crew Transport"; CCS is "Container Cargo Ship".


Then each has a name, which is usually something to do with an event that happened in game. So the SCT Slingshot is named because it's shakedown launch resulted in an unexpected slingshot journey around the Mun in order to get home, while the OUV Faust was named because it was launched on a mission to save an earlier ship called Demon.

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For space vessels:

  • Pathfinder class: manned short-range science flights
    • Kerbin-1: sounding rocket
    • Kerbin-2: suborbital rocket
    • Kerbin-3: LKO rocket
  • Spaceliner class: manned personnel/tourist transport
    • Spaceliner-1: LKO
    • Spaceliner-2: Mun/Minmus orbiter
    • Spaceliner-3: Mun/Minmus orbiter with RCS and docking capability
    • Spaceliner-4: near interplanetary orbiter
    • Spaceliner-5: far interplanetary orbiter
  • Surveyor class: unmanned science flights
    • Surveyor-1: single-shot Mun/Minmus probe
    • Surveyor-2: Minmus orbiter + rover
    • Surveyor-3: Gilly/Ike orbiter + rover
    • Surveyor-4: Dres/Bop/Pol orbiter + rover
  • Explorer class: manned long-range science flights
    • Explorer-1: single-person Mun/Minmus orbiter
    • Explorer-2: single-person Mun/Minmus lander
    • Explorer-3: two-person Mun/Minmus lander with sufficient dV for polar landings
    • Explorer-4: near interplanetary (Duna/Dres/Moho) orbiter, lander and manned rover
    • Explorer-5: far interplanetary (Jool/Eeloo) orbiter and SSTO lander shuttle
  • Argus class: Grand Tour mothership with a rocket SSTO rated for Tylo's gravity, an airbreathing SSTO rated for Kerbin's gravity and an ISRU rig rated for Moho's gravity

For aircraft, with an increasing letter suffix as more advanced engines are developed and used:

  • L - Mk1
    • L1: twin Juno, then single-engine
    • L2: twin-engine
      • L2 Record Breaker: triple-engine with no science or personnel payload
    • L3: SSTO
  • M - Mk2
    • M1: twin-engine
    • M2: quad-engine
      • M2 Record Breaker: hexa-engine with no science or personnel payload
    • M3: SSTO
  • H - Mk3
    • H1: atmospheric
    • H2: SSTO

No designations for STS analogues yet, because I'm yet to produce a flyable tailsitter shuttle. My last attempt made suborbital, but it was very small and instead of being a tailsitter, it had the tanks and engines symmetrically attached on the top and bottom instead of only at the bottom.

Edited by Fraktal

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My naming scheme is: launcher rocket with serial and mission name,for example:
Rutherford 6+DunaDiscoveryMission 1 "Shot and hope"

(my early rocket don't have a naming scheme because the are designed with the pay load all ready integrated)


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I use a simple "type-capacity-destination" scheme, so I can remember the mission it is running as mission sometimes take over a month in RL time.

e.g. ore-2500-duna-ike, tour-30-minmus, rescue-1-ker, etc.

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It changes every game. This time round I give all my probes a utilitarian name appended with the name of a famous criminal kingpin, so I have an "Eve Probe "Escobar"", a "Urlum Probe "Capone"" and a "Jool Probe "Putin"".

As for manned vessels, if it's just a routine flight I don't bother naming them but proper interplanetary ships are always named after fictional characters from a particular source. This save they will be named after SWTOR characters e.g. in a year's time the Nadia Grell and its attached lander Sarkhai will depart for Duna. Unlike probes, they are usually major and infrequent enough for me to learn which is which.

Booster subassemblies follow a similar pattern, with size 0, size 1 and size 2 series being named after characters from I, Robot, The Lost Fleet and Mass Effect respectively.

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3 hours ago, voicey99 said:

Booster subassemblies ... named after characters from I, Robot, The Lost Fleet and Mass Effect

If you have an Olivaw series somewhere out there I'd keep an eye on it. It might just start running your space program for you without you even knowing it.


For my saved craft I usually append an abbreviation for the planetary body they are intended to go to and a prefix including a string of letters that stand for (O)rbiter, (F)lyby, (P)robe, (L)ander, (R)eentry, or (C)rewed followed by the number of crew members it can carry. After this is the series name. Crewed science craft are named after scientists, real or fictional. Crew transport ferries are named after explorers or pilots; fuel tankers after large animals; science probes are named after birds; and communication satellites for authors. So a craft saved as "Du.LRC4 - Fermi" would be a four crew science vessel capable of landing on Duna and reentering on Kerbin. But the "Mo.FP - Raven" would be an unmanned flyby probe to Moho that's never coming back.

Launchers are saved as subassemblies with a prefix to indicate tonnage to 100km Kerbin orbit, the payload diameter, and a series name. The "L020T-2.5 - Enterprise" is a lifter that can carry 20 tons to LKO. Lifters are named after famous ships, real or fictional and may get A, B, C designations for minor variants such as extra solid rocket boosters or different fairing sizes.

Space stations and surface bases get more fanciful names based on the titles from books, films or television. "The Restaurant and the End of the Universe" may be a space hotel, for example, or "The Devil in the Dark" an ore mining base.

Edited by HvP

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If final version of craft:


If in experimental phases of construction:


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16 hours ago, Fraktal said:

No designations for STS analogues yet, because I'm yet to produce a flyable tailsitter shuttle. My last attempt made suborbital, but it was very small and instead of being a tailsitter, it had the tanks and engines symmetrically attached on the top and bottom instead of only at the bottom.

You can be twice as efficient and just do that instead :wink:


I built this in literally ten minutes and made it to orbit without issues and back with both shuttles

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I had a very complicated one before but now since 1.5 I use a more simple.

First letter is what type of craft it is. Like,

F for Flyer meaning anything that flies in atmosphere like planes.

O for Orbiter, anything that can land and can get to orbit, mostly on low gravity bodies. They are mostly landers.

ST for Stations

S for Satellite and Relays

P for Probes, anything that I launch that is supposed to go to a specific target and get data of it.

R for Rovers

V for Vessel meaning anything that transport Kerbals, get to orbit do whatever mission it is supposed to do then get back to Kerbin in a capsule. 

Then I add its name that I take mostly from ancient gods or names I like. Then a roman numeric number to tell which version it is.

And you get something like this : S - Deimos II or ST - Mirai I.



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For stuff with wings, they get a standard number/letter designation plus a random name.

CF-##@     Fighter-like  aircraft   (CF-01A Vampire is a Mig-15-ish early game single seat jet with a Wheesley, the -01B has a Panther instead)

CFP-##@   Prop or turboprop fighter-like aircraft

CB-##@   Bomber-like aircraft

CP-##@   Passenger aircraft

CS-##@    Spaceplanes

CSP-##@   Seaplanes

CT-##@   In theory trainers, but only ever used for my barely starting the tech tree, barely flyable fixed gear & Juno aircraft

For stuff that departs from the launch pad:

Non-interplanetary craft:         <Launcher> <Description>    ie Titan Mun Lander for a lander on top of a 1.875m launcher.

My launchers are:  1.25m - Jabbit, 1.875m Titan, 2.5m Olympic (Expendable) or Nexus V (Reusable), 3.75m Goliath (Expendable) or Nexus VI (Reusable), I don't have a "standard" 5m launcher to give it a name.  Each launcher typically has several variants saved as subassemblies - with & without radial boosters of different types, core length & engine choice, etc.  The Olympic series is probably the most versatile, with standard (Mainsail), Heavy (Twin Boar)  & Light (SpaceY Moa, 965 kN) variants, each with multiple radial booster setups. 

Interplanetary:     Planetary <Description>   ie Planetary Lander & Relay Mk 1V for a combination relay satellite & probe lander, earliest version (mk 1), for vacuum worlds (V).   That way everything for interplanetary ops is grouped together in the load menu.

Some standard description abbreviations:   STM-#: Station Transfer Module, for swapping crews to/from stations, # indicates crew capacity.  OTV-# - Orbital Tourist Vehicle, # indicates passenger load.   OMV - Orbital Maneuver Vehicle, pod with small amount of fuel & snacks & RCS.  Only used for early tech rendezvous & dock missions before I develop the tech for my the more capable:. MPV-# - Multi-purpose vehicle, basically a pod of whatever size with power generation, docking, snacks, & a good amount of dV for whatever mission it's needed for.   # indicates version (MPV-1 is lower tech than MPV-2), usually made in standard & ER versions with extra dV

Special purpose craft - big stations or bases, just about anything for Eve or Tylo, etc just get a descriptive name (Eve Pancake Lander or Laythe Floating Base)

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On ‎2‎/‎8‎/‎2019 at 11:32 PM, Aperture Science said:

Out of curiosity, what's your craft naming scheme?

We're supposed to have one of them? :wink:

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I can't quite remember the naming policy for my vacuum-related crafts. But standard kerbin (space)planes go by two letters, then numbers (no system behind that one really) and some kerby name:

~IIRC, that is xD

Sizes goes from A, B, C, D and J

"A" being small cute ones to "J" being very big planes.


Purpose goes A or F, B, C and J

"A or F"ighter as being small for taxi flights, C and J being long range and/or utility (like cargo transport).

I think I had a letter specifically for supersonic vs long range capabilities.

(Like, if dV is below 30k or above, as hi-bypass turbofans easily can stack some +70k "of range")


I had a CJ transport plane (left) a fuel truck to another airfield:







Numbers have no purpose really, which for sure would serve more for space-related stuff. I can't remember since the last time I did true career plays was in 2016 :o . Been wanting to upload the recordings and do more career stuff, but ehh, RL is annoying :v.


Lastly, I just add a kerby name if possible.


Rovers get "R".

Landers, I can't remember. Although I do tie in the mission name.

Like EKOO - Expeditionary Kerbin Orbital, regarding Kerbin's orbit.

or such like Expeditionary Mun Orbital/Surface.
Can't remember much, but it was kinda like that.

So far, I only had done flybys/orbits to Dres (who?) and Mojo. So the naming stuff was quite limited from then on.
Was 1.0.5 with mods back then. Need to do a mostly-stock one and get back into career shennanigans!

I also wanted to use a bit of those classifications as in the real world with airplanes. IIRC, some digits meant the number of engines and whatnots.

Edited by Spraki

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Simple descriptive names.  Usually of the [Destination] [Function] [Craft Type] format.  For example, "Mun Science Lander", or "Duna Communication Satellite".

It's very dry.  On rare occasions I might get a little more creative.  For example, I had a vessel that was designed to extract ore on the Mun.  It was propelled by a pair of Vector engines mounted on either side of it, and their high thrust and high gimble range caused the craft to "wobble" a bit back and forth in flight as it kept correcting itself.  Because of this characteristic, I nicknamed it the "Duck Driller", because it reminded me of how duck's look when they walk.

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I was surprised to see there are so many people using abbreviated codes to designate a spacecraft's purpose. Kinda reads like part numbers, not that there's anything wrong with that. I can see it being very efficient for finding what you need, or knowing what a crafts capabilities are without having to try to remember, or having to actually look at the design.

I used to name all craft after their purpose, like Unmanned Mun Lander 1. I still do that for relays, like Minmus Relay 1, since I always plan to have 3 orbiting every planet and moon.

Lately though I've tried to get more creative and name spacecraft after plants and animals. Example:

  • Polar Bear
  • Ivy
  • River Willow

I also have an unmanned flyby-and-return vehicle appropriately named Boomerang. The one I sent to Duna is named Dunarang :)

Honestly I'm not very creative when it comes to language, and it's actually really hard for me to name things in an artistic instead of purely pragmatic way. Same goes for rocket designs themselves. I see so many beautiful KSP creations on the forums and YouTube and think, "why can't I do that?" I'm usually building purely for efficiency and or practicality, so my ships are rather spartan. I'm truly envious of people who seem to have a boundless well of artistic creativity.

Edited by Xavven

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I have a very simple yet effective naming scheme:

{Abbreviation of Agency}{- Additional information} + {"MEANINGFUL AND CREATIVE NAME"} + Iteration or random letter

As you can see, the random and meaningful name of whatever agency I am playing as has a great impact on the naming of my spacecraft. There's also additional information added to the abbreviation, stands for Unmanned, stands for Crewed and so on.

In the examples below, I am roleplaying as the "Tree Planting Society", a company that keeps an eye on the environment and focuses on reusable rockets.

  • TP-U "Munissima" V (Unmanned probe, probably headed to the Mun)
  • TP-C "Orion" X (Crewed vessel)
  • TP-U "Butan" Z (Unmanned probe)
  • TP-R "Buckshot" II (Unmanned rescue vessel, carries multiple capsules, thus called "Buckshot")

I usually waste a ton of time coming up with purely artistic names for my vessels, it's part of the experience to have proper names for the ships and their mission. This creative naming process combined with practical and aesthetically pleasing naming schemes is wonderful. :)

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For me, unique vessels get a unique name ("Tylo Lander") but vessels that have similar functions get a particular class / naming scheme, though they're not identical - it's more about function than form...

Satellite Network

--  Named after Football Grounds.

-- Examples: Stamford Bridge, Highbury, Moss Rose

--  Vessel consisting of 3-5 probes, all of which have their own propulsion, a large satellite dish and various ScanSat equipment. Designed to establish a communications network around a body

Rover Bus

-- Named after Chordates

-- Examples:  Kangaroo, Turtle, Gecko

--  Vessel consisting of 2-4 rovers all with their own fuel ready to land on a particular body  Some theming - marsupials for Duna; Amphibians for Laythe, etc.


--  Female Scientists

-- Examples:  Ida Noddack, Emmy Noether, Lynn Margulis

--  Surface base designed with good habitation and facilities to keep Kerbals supplied and in good health. Often sent in tandem with other vessels (manufacturing,refinery,inflatables,launchpad)


-- Dog and Cat breeds.

-- Examples:  Alsatian, Persian, Corgi

--  Short for "Eternal Voyager", all EV-class vessels have an on-board ISRU, can land, and have ore capacity. This variant seats two and has wheels and can be used as a rover if necessary


-- Bands

-- Examples:  Oasis, Destiny's Child, Scissor Sisters

--  ISRU-lander with crew capacity of 8, serves to ferry crews from surface to orbit and vice-versa

Crew Transport

-- Mathematicians

-- Examples:  Leonard Euler, Eratosthenes, Omar Khayyam

--  Transit vessel that gives good habitation ratings to kerbals whilst on their journey.  Some theming - Greek for Duna, Calculus-related for Jool, etc.


-- Footballers

-- Examples: Lionel Messi, Divock Origi, Gareth Bale.

--  A returner is designed to complete the "worlds first" requirement of having a vessel land on the surface and return to Kerbin, normally by detaching a landing portion, having it land, rendezvous back with the parent and then ditch almost all of it for the return

Mun Tourist

--  Shakespeare plays or quotations

-- Examples:  As you like it, Henry VI, Comedy of Errors.

--  Vessel designed to land 4-10 tourists on either the Mun or Minmus for contract purposes

Sun Peeker

--  Terry Pratchett books

-- Examples: Feet of Clay, Good Omens, Monstrous Regiment

--  Designed to peek out of Kerbin's SOI and return immediately, seats six tourists.

Eve Landers

-- Classical Music

-- Examples:  Ritt der Walkuren, Ruslan and Lyudmilla, Zadok the Priest

--  Designed to reach and return from the surface of Eve

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