Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) are contracts awarded by NASA for delivery of cargo and supplies to the International Space Station (ISS) on commercially operated spacecraft. SpaceX signed a contract for 15 launches, the first of which was named CRS-1, and launched on 7th October, 2012.

Subsequent launches were named using step-iteration. However on June 28, 2015, CRS-7 experienced a launch failure, resulting in a 'loss-of-vehicle'.

Presuming SpaceX gets FAA clearance to re-fly the mission, what will the launch be called? What is the protocol followed for naming launches in the events of A) failure with loss-of-vehicle or B) failure with an undamaged vehicle.

In the event that the launch is transferred to another corporation (eg. Orbital Sciences), are the old naming conventions retained?

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Since Elon himself, or some students he hired, seem to come up with the crazy names thus far, I'd propose: "Of course I'll come back to you, honey", "Sorry, I didn't mean to hit you that hard", "I hope you will stand up for me this time", "Burn burn burn". Pick your favourite ;-) $\endgroup$
    – LocalFluff
    Commented Jun 30, 2015 at 18:19
  • $\begingroup$ Considering the CRS-6 landing, 'I hope you will stand up for me this time' is my pick! $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 30, 2015 at 18:55

2 Answers 2


The next Orbital Cygnus flight, on Atlas V is called Orb-4 (per SpaceflightNow.com's launch schedule).

Since the lost flight was Orb-3, then we can assume that SpaceX will follow a similar pattern and the next flight will be CRS-8.

The next Progress is named 60, after Progress 59 failed. So looks like the pattern (2 data points makes a line, one data point tells you everything when on the Internet) is to just increment the count and move on.

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    $\begingroup$ +∞ for "one data point tells you everything when on the Internet" $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 30, 2015 at 16:48

Mission names are never reused. Even if the mission never launches or fails to reach orbit, reusing the name would cause confusion in documenting separate missions.

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    $\begingroup$ How about adding an 'A' to the name. How about Soyuz 18 and 18a? Ok, that is the only example I could find, so meh. Mostly disprove my own point. Nuts to that! $\endgroup$
    – geoffc
    Commented Jun 30, 2015 at 22:08
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    $\begingroup$ @geoffc, in the Soviet Union, failed missions never existed, so there's no re-use of names. $\endgroup$
    – Mark
    Commented Jun 30, 2015 at 23:05
  • $\begingroup$ @Mark Budda boom. Good point. The non-people. $\endgroup$
    – geoffc
    Commented Jun 30, 2015 at 23:24

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