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Culture names and Maydays (split from SpaceX)


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Do note that such verbose names are, generally, a bad idea for anything manned. If you have to call mayday, ideally you want either a single word, or something that can be comfortably truncated to a single word (like a person's name). There's a good reason to avoid silly-sounding names for anything that's going to come up when talking on the radio. 

Common words are not exactly a good idea, either. As is "Damfino". 

Edited by Guest
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Culture names are only for the ASDS.

BFR, or even Starship are not vehicle names, they're classes.

No one said around liftoff from the capsule, "Houston, Saturn five Apollo 11 Columbia, we're go for ..." They'd say "Houston, Apollo 11" or even just "Houston, 11, ..."

Once the CSM and LM were split, then "Houston, Columbia" and "Houston, Eagle"

So Starship Heart of Gold, would call out "Heart of Gold" and maybe if short comms, just "Gold" as Apollo flights used just their number in some comms.

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Can you even call MAYDAY in space? Or rather, would it be worth the effort to transmit? The purpose of a MAYDAY call is to alert ATC of your craft type, position, problem, intentions and request any help basically. Ground control already has all that information and is probably already working on a solution to the problem, and will give the astronauts the updated flight plan, rather than the astronauts doing it themselves as would be common in terrestrial aviation.

Also to make a joke, this isn't Jeopardy where if you don't phrase it properly, you don't get the points. Its not like Apollo 13 said "we have a problem" and Houston came back "this is Houston, spacecraft transmitting, please identify"

Edited by Meecrob
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"Mayday, my commercial spacecraft, Unfortunate Conflict Of Evidence broke!"

Repeated many times to the universe. Eventually some ham radio person responds:

"Sucks to be you."

 

(it's not like there's a space rescue squad, or immediate "contracts" with many takers to rescue your kerbal).

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I think it would play out more like this:

MAYDAY MAYDAY MAYDAY Ground, Conflict One, 300 miles from Earth, over the Pacific, ballistic trajectory puts us down in the mid Atlantic, RCS not functioning, cannot achieve optimal re-entry angle of attack, will overshoot landing zone."

"Conflict One, no excrements, we have all these computers here tracking your status. Sit tight while the ships come out to pick you up...400 miles further than you were supposed to be"

Ham radio: "Sucks to be you"

 

Edit: I think my eyes broke...I totally missed your last sentence, Tater. But totally true, we don't have a bunch of rockets waiting to be launched (without nuclear warheads on them), and space rescue is still science fiction in the present day...It might be reality tomorrow, who knows? But as of right now, you kinda have to re-enter before any aid can be applied. Lots of people say "just dock at the ISS" This is a KSP forum, so I'm sure we can all appreciate the Dv cost of matching the ISS' orbit is inefficient (especially in an emergency) unless you specifically launched to rendezvous with it.

Edited by Meecrob
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1 hour ago, tater said:

 

Once the CSM and LM were split, then "Houston, Columbia" and "Houston, Eagle"

 

Even NASA used Snoopy and Charlie Brown for an earlier Apollo mission (assuming Scott Manley is correct :)) before they started to worry about what the rest of the world would think of them. I can imagine it now

"Houston, Charlie Brown has touched down... Finally!"

 

(I know- it would have been Snoopy touching down, but that doesn't work as well)

Edited by Ricktoberfest
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The problem with using funny names arises when a tragedy occurs. It would suck to hear that three astronauts had been killed in a fire aboard a capsule named something corny like I'd like to buy that for a dollar. Or can you imagine a newscaster trying to solemnly break the news of a fire costing 25 lives aboard the expedition vessel Boaty McBoatface? People still talk about the tragic loss of the Edmund Fitzgerald, would they remember the lives lost as much if the ship had been named Chewbacca?

Funny names are fine for unmanned probes or service vessels, but once you risk tying the fate of people to the vessel, something that can be said in a somber tone is to be preferred. Just in case.

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Just now, Codraroll said:

The problem with using funny names arises when a tragedy occurs. It would suck to hear that three astronauts had been killed in a fire aboard a capsule named something corny like I'd like to buy that for a dollar. Or can you imagine a newscaster trying to solemnly break the news of a fire costing 25 lives aboard the expedition vessel Boaty McBoatface? People still talk about the tragic loss of the Edmund Fitzgerald, would they remember the lives lost as much if the ship had been named Chewbacca?

Funny names are fine for unmanned probes or service vessels, but once you risk tying the fate of people to the vessel, something that can be said in a somber tone is to be preferred. Just in case.

Meh.

Many, many people (10s of thousands) were killed in aircraft with fanciful names like Puss'nBoots, Calamity Jane, The Pink Lady, etc, ad nauseum (complete with girls painted on the side).

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1 hour ago, Codraroll said:

The problem with using funny names arises when a tragedy occurs. It would suck to hear that three astronauts had been killed in a fire aboard a capsule named something corny like I'd like to buy that for a dollar. Or can you imagine a newscaster trying to solemnly break the news of a fire costing 25 lives aboard the expedition vessel Boaty McBoatface? People still talk about the tragic loss of the Edmund Fitzgerald, would they remember the lives lost as much if the ship had been named Chewbacca?

Funny names are fine for unmanned probes or service vessels, but once you risk tying the fate of people to the vessel, something that can be said in a somber tone is to be preferred. Just in case.

While I agree with you in principle, I don't think engineers are making spacecraft to fail. I think if a silly name were used, it would be in a sombre tone "the lives of the intrepid explorers of space aboard spacecraft XXXXXX nicknamed "boaty mcboatface" by the explorers themselves have not been in vain, they have provided us with XXXXXX science"

 

Edit: its 2019...Look at your username...and mine...and everyone elses...its all stupid silly names.

Edited by Meecrob
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2 hours ago, CatastrophicFailure said:

Yeah but I can pretty much guarantee no one will ever use mine. :D

 

"Catastrophic One, cleared landing" Rolls off the tongue better than Yankee alpha xray

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21 hours ago, tater said:

Eventually some ham radio person responds

One of the purposes of the JSC Amateur Radio Club is actually to provide emergency backup communications with ISS (and previously Shuttle).  It has acted in that capacity at least once during the Shuttle era.

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They might use a mission designation instead of the ship name (i.e. CRS-42 instead of Heart of Gold) during a mayday. On the other hand I skimmed some of the Apollo 10 transcripts and they seemed to handle ships named Snoopy and Charlie Brown without too much drama, and they did use them as handles during radio transmissions (along with 10, Apollo 10, and Snoop). This did lead to a rule change at NASA, but apparently Apollo 16 called their command module Casper anyway. It isn't anything new, though SpaceX's situation does give them the freedom to use as much whimsy as they like (or at least more than most).

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On Apollo 11, Armstrong confused Mission Control by suddenly changing his callsign from Eagle to Tranquility Base once they landed.

I think that any astronauts in the near future will refer to themselves however they want.  What's MC going to do, just ignore them for lack of proper protocol?

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Note that spacegoing vessels in general are probably going to be handled a lot like aviation currently is. In the near future it probably won't matter, but if space travel becomes as common as air travel (as Musk seems to want it), then it will need a similar level of formal procedures.

My original comment referred to ships of the floating kind, which follow different rules. Aircraft can be named whatever, because they use an airline-specific callsign when communicating. Spacecraft will probably be the same, seeing as they tend to briefly be aircraft, anyway. 

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Except they will not be talking to people, because what spacecraft do will not be extemporaneous. A spacecraft on EDL doesn't request permission at the last minute, the flight plan is set before it ever leaves, and physics is doing the driving.

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In aircraft you also file your flight plan before you ever leave. You have to do this even if you're flying a Cessna, nevermind an airliner. I would expect spacecraft, once there's more of them in orbit, to have to radio in for a permission to dock, undock, deorbit, and so on. We're talking traffic levels in which you can't ensure a big honkin' no fly zone for each EDL, because any such zone would be effectively permanent. So yes, they will be talking to people, because computers are only good when everything's going according to plan, or fails in an anticipated way. We can operate spacecraft on autopilot, with crew as backup, because there isn't a risk of there being 50 of them waiting in line to dock with a station. Once that's a routine state of traffic, we could even see manned cargo flights. If airports were as leisurely environments as the ISS, we could autoland every plane, too. Most modern airliners can land on autopilot already, but this isn't done all the time because pilots are still better at it. That also seems to be the case with spacecraft docking, humans tend to outperform both Igla and Kurs the few times they took over manual control.

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And who, pray tell, will be handing out the peanuts then? :) If you have pax (as in, actual pax, not a bunch of scientists with basic flight training), you need some sort of crew. Period. If nothing else, if someone on board gets unruly, the other passengers really shouldn't be on their own, with no one of authority to help. Somebody has to be in command.

Computers aren't nearly as good as most people here seem to think. Sure, a lot of things can be automated, but humans are just better at many of them. Currently mass is expensive, but time is cheap, hence computers work well. Once mass becomes cheaper (and it has to, if any of Musk's visions are to come true), and increasing traffic makes time more expensive, human control will take over, assuming computers won't get much better by that time.

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6 hours ago, Dragon01 said:

In aircraft you also file your flight plan before you ever leave. You have to do this even if you're flying a Cessna, nevermind an airliner. I would expect spacecraft, once there's more of them in orbit, to have to radio in for a permission to dock, undock, deorbit, and so on. We're talking traffic levels in which you can't ensure a big honkin' no fly zone for each EDL, because any such zone would be effectively permanent. So yes, they will be talking to people, because computers are only good when everything's going according to plan, or fails in an anticipated way. We can operate spacecraft on autopilot, with crew as backup, because there isn't a risk of there being 50 of them waiting in line to dock with a station. Once that's a routine state of traffic, we could even see manned cargo flights. If airports were as leisurely environments as the ISS, we could autoland every plane, too. Most modern airliners can land on autopilot already, but this isn't done all the time because pilots are still better at it. That also seems to be the case with spacecraft docking, humans tend to outperform both Igla and Kurs the few times they took over manual control.

No human will be controlling anything. The flight plan is the flight. Any emergency will be dealt with by the computer, it's not like there's an EDL problem and some guy grabs the stick and lands Starship on it's tail, that's not a thing, the computers do it, of they die.

The whole "SOS" thing is so rare that the spacecraft name is meaningless.

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