Babies Named for Apollo Astronauts

Eleven of NASA’s Apollo space flights were manned flights. According to what I’ve been able to find in old newspapers, at least three of these flights inspired baby names.

Apollo 8
December 21-27, 1968
Astronauts: Frank Borman, James A. Lovell, Jr. and and William A. Anders

  • A baby boy born in Holland was named William James Frank Noel Hopmans.

    The baby’s parents decided to name him after America’s three Apollo 8 astronauts and Noel for Christmas. He was born on Christmas Eve.

Apollo 11
July 16-24, 1969
Astronauts: Neil A. Armstrong, Michael Collins and Edwin E. Aldrin, Jr.

  • A baby boy born in Lebanon was named Apollo Selim.

    Beirut, Lebanon – A couple in Fadhous village north of here named their new baby Apollo Selim. He’s their 11th child, born on the day of the Apollo 11 moonshot.

  • A baby boy born in Columbia, S.C., on July 21 was named Michael Edwin Neil Harkness.

    He is named for all three members of the Apollo 11 moon team.

  • A baby boy born in Washington state at 1:17 p.m., the minute the Apollo 11 astronauts landed on the moon, was named Neil Armstrong Dial.

    Within minutes of Neil Dial’s birth, virtually everyone in the moonstruck maternity ward that Sunday afternoon was eagerly suggesting that Dallas and Patricia Dial name their son “Lunar” or “Apollo.”

    “But the PR types, they came in and said we ought to name our son ‘Neil Armstrong,’ Dallas Dial happily recalled last week during an interview at his Edmonds home. “They were even filling out the birth certificate as ‘Neil Armstrong Dial.’ So we went along with it.”

In 1969, the baby name Neil spiked in usage and the baby name Aldrin appeared on the SSA’s baby name list for the very first time.

Apollo 12
November 14-24, 1969
Astronauts: Charles Conrad, Jr., Richard F. Gordon, Jr. and Alan L. Bean

  • A baby boy born in Baltimore just as the Apollo 12 astronauts were lifting off was named Charles Richard Alan Wilson.

    The news was radioed up to the spaceship just after Charles Conrad Jr., Richard F. Gordon Jr. and Alan L. Bean woke up late Monday afternoon. “There’s a new baby boy, born to a Baltimore mother at the precise time of your liftoff,” spacecraft communicator Paul Weitz said. “His name is Charles Richard Alan. Wilson is the last name.”

Do you know of any other people named for Apollo astronauts (or any other astronaut, for that matter)? I’d love to hear about them. Please leave a comment.

Sources:

  • “Baby Named After Apollo Spacemen.” Los Angeles Times 18 Nov. 1969: 21.
  • “Baby Named Apollo.” Palm Beach Post 20 Jul. 1969: B2.
  • “Baby Named for Spacemen.” Reading Eagle 31 Dec. 1968: 10.
  • Conklin, Ellis E. “‘Moon Baby’ made feet-first landing.” Deseret News 21 Jul. 1994: 21.
  • Manned Flights.” NASA.
  • “Palmetto baby gets moon men’s names.” Washington Afro-American 29 Jul. 1969: 5.

P.S. Tomorrow’s post is about the Mercury astronauts.

Update, Jan. 2014: A NASA publication called NASA’s Astronauts and Aeronautics, 1969 (pdf) mentions three international babies named to commemorate the Apollo 11 landing:

  • In Singapore, a baby girl was named Luna. She was “born half hour after lunar landing.”
  • In Pakistan, a baby boy was named Apollo.
  • In Somalia, the “[p]arents of baby boy born on lunar landing day broke with Muslim tradition and named [their] child Armstrong Abdurahman Osman.”

5 thoughts on “Babies Named for Apollo Astronauts

  1. Hi. My name is Aldrin Armstrong Collins Wilding-West. I was born July 22 1969 in Suffolk, England, and given the first names Aldrin and Armstrong, celebrating Neil and Buzz walking on the moon. I have since added Collins to ensure that Michael is also remembered in my name :) and of course, being a West and marrying my beautiful wife who is a Wilding, we just had to hyphenate our surname!

  2. I was 12 at the time of Apollo 11 and I remember it well. A news item I remember from the time said that a woman in Jordan was giving birth to her 11th child and named it Apollo Eleven. However I asked on a website called Quora whether anyone else remembered this and someone posted a link to your site which mentions baby Apollo Selim in Lebanon. I don’t know whether these are 2 different babies or possible the news item I remember got the country wrong. I thought maybe “Selim” is Arabic for “Eleven” but that’s “ahd eshr”.

  3. @Chris – You’ve got a good memory! But we now have a mystery on our hands.

    TIME magazine had this to say about the baby I mentioned in the post: “In Beirut on the morning of launch, a woman gave birth to her eleventh child — and promptly named him Apollo Eleven Salim.”

    My original source did not mention “Eleven” being part of the name, and had “Selim” in place of “Salim.” As of right now, I don’t know which source is more accurate.

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