Feeds

NASA rejects democracy, names ISS node 'Tranquility'

Get sweaty on the COLBERT

Intelligent flash storage arrays

NASA has selected the name "Tranquility" for the International Space Station's new living quarters, not only rejecting attempts by Comedy Central's Steven Colbert to get the new node named after himself but also largely ignoring a popular vote on the subject.

Despite "Colbert" winning the space agency's Help Name Node 3 online poll by a landslide, NASA opted to name the module after after the area of Apollo 11's historic lunar landing, made 40 years ago this July.

"We don't typically name US space station hardware after living people and this is no exception," said Bill Gerstenmaier, NASA's associate administrator for space operations. "However, NASA is naming its new space station treadmill the 'Combined Operational Load Bearing External Resistance Treadmill,' or COLBERT. We have invited Steven to Florida for the launch of COLBERT and to Houston to tryout a version of the treadmill that astronauts train on."

Tranquility wasn't the second most popular vote behind Colbert, or even the fourth. The chosen name was in fact a distant eighth in the list of public write-ins, begging the questions: what was the point of the poll anyway?

NASA's node-naming campaign asked its online audience to vote for the module's new name by choosing one of four NASA-approved options (Earthrise, Legacy, Serenity, Venture) or by making their own suggestions. Soon after the poll was opened, Colbert hijacked the contest by urging fans of his television show to enter his name in the running - ultimately earning 230,539 votes compared to the second place and NASA-approved choice, "Serenity."

The poll was supposed to be part of NASA's strategy of public outreach to drum up interest in the ISS, which clearly mistakenly suggested the public's opinion would have factored in the naming. The contest rules stated that while NASA will take into consideration the results of the voting, it "reserves the right to ultimately select a name in accordance to the best interests of the agency." Most following the contest assumed if the agency wasn't going to name the node Colbert, it would at least choose the most popular NASA-approved suggestion.

Newly-Christened Tranquility is scheduled to arrive at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida in May. It will depart for the ISS on space shuttle Endeavour's mission STS-130, targeted for a February 2010 liftoff. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
SECRET U.S. 'SPACE WARPLANE' set to return from SPY MISSION
Robot minishuttle X-37B returns after almost 2 years in orbit
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
'Utter killjoy Reg hacks have NEVER BEEN LAID', writes a fan
'Shuddit, smarty pants!' Some readers reacted badly to our last Doctor Who review ...
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
White LED lies: It's great, but Nobel physics prize-winning great?
How artificial lighting could offer an artificial promise
Origins of SEXUAL INTERCOURSE fished out of SCOTTISH LAKE
Fossil find proves it first happened 385 million years ago
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.