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NPD 7620.1J
Effective Date: December 20, 2022
Expiration Date: December 20, 2027
Printable Format (PDF)

Subject: Policy for Naming NASA Projects and Facilities

Responsible Office: Office of Communications

1. Policy

This directive establishes policy for assigning official names to NASA projects and facilities, as defined in NPD 7120.4, NASA Engineering and Program/Project Management Policy, NPR 8800.15, Real Estate Management Program, and as determined by the responsible Official-in-Charge.


a. This directive applies to NASA Headquarters and NASA Centers, including Component Facilities and Technical and Support Service Centers. b. This language applies to contractors, grant recipients, or parties to agreements only to the extent specified or referenced in the appropriate contracts, grants, or agreements.

c. For purposes of this directive, the term "project" also includes payloads.

d. For purposes of this directive, the term "facilities" includes NASA- owned buildings and structures, including those under construction or planned for future construction.

e. In this directive all mandatory actions (i.e., requirements) are denoted by statements containing the term "shall," the terms "may" or "can" denote discretionary privilege or permission, "should" denotes a good practice and is recommend but not required, "will" denotes expected outcome, and "are/is" denotes descriptive material.

f. In this directive, all document citations are assumed to be the latest version unless otherwise noted.


The National Aeronautics and Space Act, 51 U.S.C. ยง 20113(a).




a. The NASA Associate Administrators and other Agency leadership, including Center Directors, as outlined and defined in NPD 1000.0, NASA Governance and Strategic Management Handbook, and further detailed in NPD 1000.3, The NASA Organization, are responsible for promoting policies, standards, best practices, and guidance in their areas of responsibility under this NPD. They will coordinate efforts within their respective organizations to identify projects for which names are required, initiate the name selection process, and recommend names to the Associate Administrator for the Office of Communications. The authority of the Associate Administrator for the Office of Communications is described in NPD 1000.3. The key roles and responsibilities within the context of this NPD are summarized in this section.

b. Officials-in-Charge (OIC), as defined in paragraph 5a, will:

(1) Identify projects for which names are required.

(2) Ensure that each major NASA project is assigned an official name as early as possible after approval by the Administrator and in time for use in the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) budget cycle.

(3) Initiate the name selection process by assembling an ad hoc name selection team consisting of at least one member representing the office in which a project name is under consideration (e.g., Science Mission Directorate), and at least one member representing every other NASA Headquarters office participating in the management of a significant element of or having other major involvement in the project. An Office of Communication (OCOMM) historian should be a member of any naming team or included early in any consideration process with responsibility of providing a verifiable review of any individual whose name is being considered, as well as the OCOMM representative co-located in the NASA Headquarters program office initiating the name selection process. The historical analysis led by OCOMM will include a human capital review to ensure diversity, unity, inclusion, and inspiration are considered.

(4) The OIC will lead the team or designate a leader.

c. The ad hoc special project name team will:

(1) Solicit suggestions, particularly from the responsible NASA Centers and contractors.

(2) Where possible, limit the practice of naming projects, missions, instruments, etc., after individuals.

(a) Instead use the theme of unity, inspiration, or the accomplishments of a person as the primary criterion for a project or mission name.

(b) Except in extraordinary circumstances will names of individuals be considered and, only in more rare circumstances, may individuals who are still living receive consideration.

(c) The use of an individual's name should be based on their contributions to America, NASA, and humanity, and therefore be so extraordinary that any other form of recognition by the Agency would be considered inadequate.

(3) Ensure that names are not duplicated and confused with other Agency projects.

(4) Ensure that names reflect the purpose of the mission or activity whenever possible.

(5) Submit, upon completion of its deliberations, specific recommendations, to the Associate Administrator for OCOMM.

(6) Ensure that:

(a) Recommended project names are serialized when appropriate to limit the number in use at any one time, and when names are serialized, they include an Arabic number (e.g., Nimbus 1 and Nimbus 2).

(b) Acronyms are avoided in selecting names except where the acronym is descriptive and easily pronounced.

(c) The recommended name is reviewed and agreed upon by the OCOMM before it is submitted for the NASA Administrator's final approval.

d. The Deputy Associate Administrator for OCOMM will:

(1) Review the recommendations, make a selection, and submit the selection of the special committee to the Administrator for final approval.

(2) Make the appropriate public announcement of the approved name and ensure that all subsequent news releases and supporting digital products use the official name.

Note: If there is a question as to whether a project is subject to this NPD, contact the Director of the Office of Communications History and Information Services Division or their designee.

e. All NASA Headquarters offices making use of an approved project name will ensure the name is printed with only the initial letter capitalized (e.g., Nimbus not NIMBUS), unless the project name is an acronym.






NPD 7620.1I, Official Names for Major NASA Projects, dated February 14, 2000.

/s/ Bill Nelson


ATTACHMENT A. References

a. NPD 1000.0, NASA Governance and Strategic Management Handbook.

b. NPD 1000.3, The NASA Organization.

c. NPD 7120.4, NASA Engineering and Program/Project Management Policy.

d. NPR 8800.15, Real Estate Management Program.


OCOMM - Office of Communications

OIC - Official-in-Charge

OMB - Office of Management and Budget

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This document does not bind the public, except as authorized by law or as incorporated into a contract. This document is uncontrolled when printed. Check the NASA Online Directives Information System (NODIS) Library to verify that this is the correct version before use: https://nodis3.gsfc.nasa.gov.