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Go Back   The Trek BBS > Star Trek TV Series > Star Trek - Original Series

Star Trek - Original Series The one that started it all...

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Old September 17 2013, 12:52 AM   #1
Saginaw
Cadet
 
Location: Texas, USA
What's in a name?

Greetings, all!

First, I'd like to thank the administrators for accepting my registration. Now to my question.

The ships and craft of the Federation have displayed some memorable names, but the one thing that I've wondered about is what factor determines what a starship or shuttlecraft is christened? For example, in the Original Series, most of the starships seen or verbally referenced to bore names that reflected either what ships were then active in the U.S. Navy (Enterprise, Constellation, Lexington, etc.) or historically noted ships from other navies around the world (Hood, Potemkin, etc.). The names of the two shuttlecraft seen in the series (Galileo and Columbus) would have easily been known by most school students of the 1960s.

'The Next Generation' greatly expanded this practice by revealing names that were more "inclusive" and reflected the changing view and perception of the world around us. For example, not only were there the "old school" names for starships (Enterprise, Hood) but also ships named after historical personages (Gandhi, Crazy Horse, etc.) or major Earth cities (Berlin, Cairo, etc.). But, just like in the Original Series, the shuttlecraft and shuttlepods continued to be named after explorers, artists, and scientists (Hawking, Voltaire, Fermi, et al). This naming convention continued in 'Deep Space Nine' and 'Voyager'.

When the Original Series was remastered, the shuttlecraft seemed to have been given particular attention to detail with the revelation of a few more names. As before, the practice of naming them after "academics" continued (i.e., Picasso, Einstein, Da Vinci).

So, what's in a name?


--Saginaw
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Old September 17 2013, 01:30 AM   #2
Praetor Baldric
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Re: What's in a name?

That's an interesting observation. Insofar as naming vessels after people is concerned, I guess one's historical stature determined whether a starship or a shuttlecraft was named after you.

So, Gandhi and Crazyhorse are deemed more important to Earth's history than say, Einstein?

Of course, I am proceeding from the assumption that it is a greater honor to have a starship named after you than a shuttlecraft.
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Old September 17 2013, 01:49 AM   #3
scotpens
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Re: What's in a name?

Saginaw wrote: View Post
When the Original Series was remastered, the shuttlecraft seemed to have been given particular attention to detail with the revelation of a few more names. As before, the practice of naming them after "academics" continued (i.e., Picasso, Einstein, Da Vinci).
I seem to recall reading somewhere -- possibly a non-canon source -- that, at least in the TOS era, it was a starship captain's prerogative to choose names for his ship's shuttlecraft. Maybe Kirk had a thing for historic astronomers and explorers.
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Old September 17 2013, 02:55 AM   #4
Saginaw
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Re: What's in a name?

scotpens wrote: View Post
I seem to recall reading somewhere -- possibly a non-canon source -- that, at least in the TOS era, it was a starship captain's prerogative to choose names for his ship's shuttlecraft. Maybe Kirk had a thing for historic astronomers and explorers.
As Mr. Spock would say, "fascinating".

Like many 'Trek' aficionados focused on the technical aspects of the franchise, I've thought of names for both starships and shuttlecraft, particularly in the TOS era. Here are a few of my favorite personal examples:

"Laika" - the dog that was launched by the Soviets on Sputnik 2 in 1957. To me, this would definitely be a name for a shuttlecraft.

"Melville" - named after American writer Herman Melville (1819-91), the author of Moby-Dick. This one is tough. In the 'Trek' universe, would his name merit a christening upon a starship or a shuttlecraft?

"Braille" - named after Louis Braille (1809-52), the blind French educator who invented the Braille alphabet. Another tough one. Starship or shuttlecraft?

I like to think that, in the TOS universe, a selected name would be used on a shuttlecraft in one era and a starship in another. Of course, the selection and assignment of a name would depend on a myriad of factors, like personal choice, influence reflective of Federation ideals, etc.


--Saginaw
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Old September 17 2013, 03:58 AM   #5
Avro Arrow
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Location: Ontario, Canada
Re: What's in a name?

In the Einstein example above, I don't have any trouble believing that there could be a ship named Einstein as well. Starfleet presumably manages the names of its ships, and ensures there are no duplicates, but things are probably a little more lax with shuttlecraft names. There are probably so many shuttlecraft that you're going to have repeating names across different motherships. In the Starfleet records, a shuttlecraft is probably just known by its registry, eg - NCC-1701/7 or NCC-1701-D/15, and then perhaps the name is actually assigned by the ship commander, as scotpens mentioned above. (IIRC, one of the Titan novels showed this happening in the TNG era too.)

As an example, in the 24th century shows, both Cochrane and Goddard appeared as names of both starships and shuttlecraft. I'm sure there are other examples, too.
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Old September 17 2013, 06:20 AM   #6
Retu
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Location: Finland
Re: What's in a name?

Then there are the Danube-class runabouts which are named after Earth's rivers (Danube, Yangtze Kiang, Rubicon etc.) even if they are nothing more than a larger version of a shuttlecraft.
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Old September 17 2013, 12:26 PM   #7
EnsignHarper
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Re: What's in a name?

Avro Arrow wrote: View Post
In the Einstein example above, I don't have any trouble believing that there could be a ship named Einstein as well. Starfleet presumably manages the names of its ships, and ensures there are no duplicates, but things are probably a little more lax with shuttlecraft names. There are probably so many shuttlecraft that you're going to have repeating names across different motherships. In the Starfleet records, a shuttlecraft is probably just known by its registry, eg - NCC-1701/7 or NCC-1701-D/15, and then perhaps the name is actually assigned by the ship commander, as scotpens mentioned above. (IIRC, one of the Titan novels showed this happening in the TNG era too.)

As an example, in the 24th century shows, both Cochrane and Goddard appeared as names of both starships and shuttlecraft. I'm sure there are other examples, too.
The shuttle in "The Most Toys" that got destroyed was named Pike! I am ASSUMING it was for Christopher, and not Zebulon...
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Old September 17 2013, 04:59 PM   #8
jpv2000
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Re: What's in a name?

Avro Arrow wrote: View Post
In the Starfleet records, a shuttlecraft is probably just known by its registry, eg - NCC-1701/7 or NCC-1701-D/15, and then perhaps the name is actually assigned by the ship commander, as scotpens mentioned above. (IIRC, one of the Titan novels showed this happening in the TNG era too.)
Yes, it was mentioned in the Titan novels. Captain Riker named the Titan shuttles after Jazz artists that he enjoyed.

And a hearty Welcome Aboard to Saginaw.
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Old September 18 2013, 01:42 AM   #9
The Old Mixer
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Re: What's in a name?

^So...if I were a Starfleet captain following that example, my first four shuttles would be the Lennon, the McCartney, the Harrison, and the Starr....
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Old September 18 2013, 01:45 AM   #10
Push The Button
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Re: What's in a name?

One TNG episode had a shuttle named Onizuka, in honor of Ellison Onizuka, who was lost in the Challenger disaster. And of course there was the USS Grissom in The Search for Spock.
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Old September 18 2013, 07:25 PM   #11
davidant32
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Re: What's in a name?

Why is it that all of the ship names are so Earth-centric? Where are the ships named after landmarks / famous individuals from the worlds of the other founding members of the Federation (Vulcan, Andoria, Tellar Prime)? And all the hulls are painted with Earth letters and numbers, as well.

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Old September 18 2013, 07:37 PM   #12
danellis
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Re: What's in a name?

I understand that Mike Okuda's Andorian geography leaves a little to be desired

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Old September 19 2013, 06:04 AM   #13
Nerys Myk
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Re: What's in a name?

davidant32 wrote: View Post
Why is it that all of the ship names are so Earth-centric? Where are the ships named after landmarks / famous individuals from the worlds of the other founding members of the Federation (Vulcan, Andoria, Tellar Prime)? And all the hulls are painted with Earth letters and numbers, as well.

Homo sapiens only club!
It's almost as if its a TV show intended for an audience of English speaking humans!

On occasion they did use non-human names for ships.
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Old September 19 2013, 10:55 AM   #14
Mario de Monti
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Re: What's in a name?

Nerys Myk wrote: View Post
davidant32 wrote: View Post
Why is it that all of the ship names are so Earth-centric? Where are the ships named after landmarks / famous individuals from the worlds of the other founding members of the Federation (Vulcan, Andoria, Tellar Prime)? And all the hulls are painted with Earth letters and numbers, as well.

Homo sapiens only club!
It's almost as if its a TV show intended for an audience of English speaking humans!
Those bastards

But seriously, Starfleet (admiralty, ship personnel, Starfleet Academy) is mostly staffed by humans, with "aliens" being a clear minority. So it is only logical that in-universe Starfleet would name its vessels accordingly, chosing mostly earth-related names. Apparently humans are the main "operator" of Starfleet and possibly also driving force behind it.

Mario
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Old September 19 2013, 11:11 AM   #15
MacLeod
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Location: Great Britain
Re: What's in a name?

Well we have seen ships called the Sarek (no doubt named for Ambassador Sarek), The Gorkon (Klingon Chancellor), The Sitak (sounds Vulcan but can't be confirmed).

So we have examples of ships that are not Earth centric named.

But yes it does seem as if many of the ships named/seen in ST are taken from the navies on Earth, esp the RN and USN.
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