What’s in a name?

A brief piece by Lunar Enterprise Daily asks this question: “What Does Leading Suborbital Spaceflight Company Want to Be Called Now?” Before wondering if Virgin Galactic is planning a name change, the article is actually referring to Rocketplane Ltd.—or is it Rocketplane Kistler? Since the announcement earlier this year that Rocketplane and Kistler Aerospace would “join forces”, there has been a little confusion among observers about what to call the company. The rocketplane.com web site calls itself simply “Rocketplane”, although the kistleraerospace.com web site now calls itself “Rocketplane Kistler”. Confusing, no?

At Space Access ’06 last week, Chuck Lauer started his presentation by saying that the company’s name “is now Rocketplane Kistler”. “We did have a major change in our corporate structure and focus. This happened over the last few months.” It remains to be seen if the mixed messages in the web sites and other corporate communications is simply the natural lag in re-branding that comes after a merger, or if Rocketplane and Kistler will be retained as separate brands or operating units over the longer term.

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