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Jason DavisApril 19, 2018

Funpost! Can you name a space vehicle for each letter of the alphabet?

Welcome back for another weekly Funpost!

On Monday, Orbital ATK released new details about its proposed rocket that would compete with United Launch Alliance, SpaceX, and maybe even Blue Origin for Air Force launches. One of those new details was the name: Omega. As far as names go, Omega isn't bad! Except that Orbital ATK writes it out as OmegA, with a capital O and A, to reference the company name.

I don't think I can bring myself to use the capital A. Normally I'm all for getting naming conventions right—it's LightSail 2, dang it, not Lightsail 2 or LightSail-2—but since this feels solely like a branding thing, I'm leaning towards just calling it Omega. That puts me in dissent with outlets like Space NewsSpace.com, and GeekWire, with only Popular Mechanics in my corner so far.

But you know who has yet to weigh in? Politico. Their third weekly space newsletter comes out tomorrow, and I'm curious to see if they use the capital A. Come on, Politico, stand with me! I promise to drop our TWITTER BEEF in return.

It's probably pretty hard to come up with good names for new space vehicles. Many of the cool constellations, stars, and Greek gods are already taken. This got me wondering whether there was a space vehicle name for each letter of the alphabet. And then I started wondering how many letters I could come up with in five minutes. (I wonder A LOT.)

So, here's the challenge: print out this PDF and try it yourself, or just make your own digital list. Set a timer for five minutes and give it a try! To keep it simple, let's assume the rules are broad. You can pick both spacecraft and rockets; basically, any proper noun for something that flies in space or flies things into space counts.

You'll probably beat me! I only got 18 out of 26. I like word games, but the time-limited ones stress me out. Take Bananagrams, for instance. When I play Bananagrams with my wife, I inevitably get frustrated after she goes on a 10-tile run, so I start playing questionable words because I'm going to lose anyway. "FLONK? OF COURSE THAT'S A WORD. NO NEED TO LOOK IT UP."

By the way, there are indeed spacecraft for each letter of the English alphabet! Here's a NASA list to help; for Y and Z, you're going to have to go international. 

That's it for this week's Funpost! If you have any questions or topics for a future Funpost!, send me an email at [email protected].

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Jason Davis

Digital Editor for The Planetary Society
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