ESA committed to launching 5 ATV vehicles. All 5 were named.

JAXA has committed to a limited number of HTV launches. And all have been named.

Orbital has contracted for 8 launches, and seems to be naming the Cygnus modules.

Russia has been launching Progress and Soyuz vehicles by the hundreds for close 40-50 years, and has not named any of them beyond a mission number/identifier.

SpaceX has launched several Dragons, with 10 more to go under the current contract and none have been given names.

Can one infer a philosophical difference in the goals, based on the naming pattern? It seems like SpaceX has a more open ended plan like the Russians as compared to the ones with more limited scopes.

  • $\begingroup$ I believe the answer to your question is yes (there is a philosophical difference), but I fear that there may not be a way to objectively establish this. $\endgroup$ – called2voyage Jan 10 '14 at 19:46
  • $\begingroup$ I know, but when I thought of the current examples, ESA/HTV/Cygnus vs Progress/Dragon it seemed much more clear of an example. Those in the for the long haul, seem to not bother with names. If you plan to launch 1000 times, serial numbers are the way to go. Like small airlines naming their jets vs the big guys not bothering. $\endgroup$ – geoffc Jan 10 '14 at 19:52
  • $\begingroup$ Soyuz TMA-21 launch was devoted to the 50th anniversary of the first manned space mission. And the spaceship was given the name of Yuri Gagarin. $\endgroup$ – horsh Jan 10 '14 at 20:16
  • $\begingroup$ @horsh a nice counter example. But one out of 100 vehicles is not a good example. Also Progress is more analogous where hundreds have been launched unnamed. $\endgroup$ – geoffc Jan 10 '14 at 20:30

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