The sounding rocket you can see above will be launched from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on the 4th of December, and according to NASA it “will be MUSIC to the ears of aspiring and early career engineers testing new space technology on a suborbital vehicle.” That’s because the name of the payload stands for Multiple User Suborbital Instrument Carrier (MUSIC).

I am a long-time admirer of NASA’s creativity when it comes to creating acronyms for their missions. Here is a selection of the best.

ARTEMIS

Acceleration, Reconnection, Turbulence and Electrodynamics of the Moon’s Interaction with the Sun


BARREL

Balloon Array for Radiation belt Relativistic Electron Losses


CALIPSO

Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observation satellite


CATS

Cloud-Aerosol Transport System


FUSE

Far Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer


GRAIL

Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory


IMAGE

Imager for Magnetopause-to-Aurora Global Exploration


IRIS

Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph


MESSENGER

Mercury, Surface, Space Environment, Geochemistry and Ranging


OSIRIS-REX

Origins Spectral Interpretation Resource Identification Security - Regolith Explorer


SOFIA

Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy


SOHO

Solar and Heliospheric Observatory


STEREO

Solar and Terrestrial Relations Observatory


TRACE

Transition Region and Coronal Explorer


TWINS

Two Wide-Angle Imaging Neutral-Atom Spectrometers


WISE

Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer


All images by NASA