Blue Origin Naming—Past, Present, Future

In light of today’s announcement by Blue Origin, I’ve been thinking about their vehicle naming.

It started with Goddard, their first liquid-fueled vehicle, named in honor of the American rocket pioneer, Robert Goddard.

Then came the suborbital New Shepard, in honor of the first American to take a suborbital journey across the Kármán line, Alan Shepard. New Glenn is their orbital vehicle, in honor of the first American to orbit Earth, John Glenn. Jeff Bezos hinted at their next venture, New Armstrong, named after Neil Armstrong, so we can guess at the mission for that vehicle.

Goddard first flew in 2006, so this naming scheme was a long-term idea. My guess is the second version of any of these vehicles would be named after the next person to fit that given role in history (instead of a 1.0, 1.1, 1.2 versioning model). For instance, the second generation New Glenn-class vehicle would be named New Carpenter, after Scott Carpenter, the second American to orbit Earth.

I wish they’d drop the “New” from these names—and I’m sure we on the outside will do just that in talking about them—or else it’ll get as repetitive as the cities and states here in the northeastern United States.

As I quipped on Twitter today, I also wish they’d drop that ugly feather and embrace the clean lines.