In October Sky by Homer Hickam, what does "Auk" stand for?

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samson98 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

October Sky (originally titledĀ Rocket Boys) a story about a boy who, despite growing up in a small mining town, develops an interest in rocketry. Sonny, the main character, founds the Bear Creek Missile Agency (BCMA), a club in which he and some friends attempt to build rockets using various fuels. Their first rocket was titled Auk 1, and it was powered by black powder; all of their subsequent rockets also bore the name "Auk." This name was ironic because an Auk was a seabird that was unable to fly. Moreover, Auks have been extinct since the 19th century. Much like the bird, Auk 1 was not particularly successful at flying; it barely flew six feet before crashing. This did not deter the boys from their quest, however; the "Rocket Boys" ultimately launched 35 rockets.