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First spaceship nicknames: The first cosmonauts named their Vostok flight capsules Swallow, Falcon, Golden Eagle, Hawk and Sea Gull.
First American nicknames: The first astronauts named their Mercury flight capsules Freedom 7, Liberty Bell 7, Friendship 7, Aurora 7, Sigma 7 and Faith 7. Of the Gemini series of two-man capsules, only the first had a nickname, Molly Brown. After that it became too hard for government bureaucrats to approve astronaut nickname choices.
First Moonship nicknames: The astronauts called their Apollo command modules Gumdrop, Charlie Brown, Columbia, Yankee Clipper, Odyssey, Kitty Hawk, Endeavor, Casper and America. The lunar excursion modules were named Spider, Snoopy, Eagle, Intrepid, Aquarius, Antares, Falcon, Orion and Challenger.
First space shuttle name: Prototype shuttle Enterprise was called OV-101 when its construction started in 1974, but 100,000 Star Trek TV fans wrote in, convincing President Gerald Ford to name it Enterprise in 1976. NASA didn't like the name, wanting to call the shuttle Constitution. Structure-test orbiter OV-099 became Challenger, the shuttle which exploded in 1986. OV-101, to be named Columbia, became the first shuttle to fly in space. OV-102 became Discovery. OV-103 became Atlantis. The orbiter built to replace Challenger is OV-105 named Endeavour.
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