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How do you come up with your spacecraft names?


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I used the list of 400+ spacecraft names somebody posted on the forum somewhere but I cant find it. For naming planets? I usually take a word that kinda describes them and translate into latin. For example, Canite is latin for blown. and Canite is a planet where a large portion of its surface was blown off. Or I do a little adjusting the latin word so its not potentially the same as somebody elses planet.

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We had a previous thread but, it would probably be a necro to post there. :D


Mine get named for their function using the 'SoHo' method.

2ManNoSciMunFrturn = 2 Kerbal (man) with no science aboard for a Free Return Mun trajectory.

4PassTAJSubOrb = 4 Passenger, Temp, Atmo and Science Jr, Sub orbital. Those are my early kerbuck earners. 

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Any ships I need to assemble in Orbit for a long term mission are broken up into 'Class'. Inner planet missions, where regular fuel and Solar Power will do the job, I call 'Bova Class' after Ben Bova. His 'Grand Tour' Mars books were the first 'Mars colonisation' books I ever read.

Outer planets, which need RTG power to keep the charge up, I call 'Clarke' Class, in honor of the 2001 series, focused on Jupiter.

Breaking up the 'Ship Class' makes it easier to build multiple ones, because the sections are named and numbered in my saved designs, according to what's needed. I fly them up like an assembly line.

I use characters from favored novels for the ship names. My first flights to Duna were called the "SS Lewis", and the "SS Watney" for the characters in The Martian. Jool explorations were named the "SS Bowman", and the "SS Nagata" for the characters in A Space Odyssey, and The Expanse.

Not sure which author I'll use for the Interstellar Class Craft in KSP2. I'm thinking maybe 'Niven', because I liked Ringworld.

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I tend to use two different methods: mythology and parody

Parody is really easy, just take an existing rocket name and imagine a "bootleg" version if you will. I built a series of general purpose rockets and named them each "Jupiter I, Jupiter II" etc. after the real life Saturn rockets. I also had a small series of rockets dedicated to launching satellites/ relays, which i named "SPACEZ" after SpaceX.

As for mythology, just find greek/ roman/ whatever deities that match something about your mission. Though given that we in the real world do this a fair bit too, you might have to work harder for an original name lol

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Right now I have a series of rockets that I’m naming after sizes of champagne bottles- Magnum, Jeroboam, Rehoboam and now Methuselah has joined the list. It’s a departure from my usual rainbow code system where the colour represented the size of rocket, or more specifically the launchpad required to launch it (this is RP-1 where larger capacity launchpads are more expensive and take longer to use) and the name after it followed a theme- I had Red Woodwind, Orange Brass and Purple Shape to name but a few.

In more stock-ish games I tend to just name it after what it’s doing e.g. Mun Returner, Minmus Rover, Contract Cheese Sat 42…

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USC (untitled space craft) and a number, taken from old Soviet designations (at least as shown in the US) as Kosmos-#

Also like the Soviets I'll give it an actual name post success launch.

USS for Untitled Space Station - Hence USS Kerman is my Space Dock.

I used to give "real" names but after all these years...

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I tend to use fairly standard launchers, and name them:  1.25m Jabbit or Horned Jabbit, 1.875m Dawngrazer or Steamglider, 2.5m Girroc, 3.75m Granok.  I don't remember what my 5m or some of my reusable launchers were named.  The names were from creatures fin an MMO I used to play.  I'll typically have several sub-assemblies of each size with different length fuel tanks & possibly different engines.

Individual small craft designs tend to get abbreviations based on their use - OMV= Orbital Maneuver Vehicle - a manned pod with limited dV & RCS, typically what I name the basic Mk 1 pod to get a kerbal into orbit in early career, or MPV - Multi-Purpose Vehicle, usually the 2-man pod with much more dV, usually enough for trips to Mun/Minmus.  OTV# is Orbital Tourist Vehicle (# seats).  If there are variants, that will get an additional abbreviation (ER = Extended Range is the most common).  Then I just add a sequential number to each one I launch (MPV-1, MPV-2, etc).  The design gets saved as (launcher) (craft abbreviation) so something like Dawngrazer MPV-ER or whatever.    Relays usually end up with an abbreviation, altitude & A/B/C for the (usually) 3 relays in the network.  So the second "medium" altitude relay around Kerbin at 500km would be MKR-500-B.

Science probes get usually historic probe names plus destination (Pioneer-Duna, Surveyor-Mun, etc).  

Large craft - something like to take a crew of 4+ kerbals to for missions to other planets and are not disposable get a class designation and individual names, usually running in alphabetical order from a list I made a long time ago:  Exploration Vehicle 1 (EV-1) is usually named Avalon, #2 is Babylon. 

Space Stations will get a basic name (Kerbin Fuel Station or Minmus Science Station or whatever) but whenever I kill a kerbonaut, I rename a station in his/her honor.  Preference goes to more complicated stations first - a fuel depot with no crew quarters tends to just stay Kerbin Fuel Station while a research station that I built out of 8 separate payloads, with greenhouse, science lab and quarters for 20+ kerbals will be one of the first to be named.

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