Questions tagged [terminology]

Questions regarding words and abbreviations used in the fields of spaceflight and space exploration, and their meaning when used in those contexts.

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
1
vote
0answers
79 views

What terminology is used to describe spacecraft in stationkeeping?

Forgive any inaccurate wording of this question. If a Soyuz craft which had been docked at the Zvezda module backed away from the ISS and remained at stationkeeping, would NASA, Roscosmos, or the ESA ...
1
vote
0answers
104 views

Official terminology for non osculating orbital elements

When I need to talk about an orbital element that is not osculating and that it is the true/actual element at a given instant, I use the term "actual": actual perigee, actual eccentricity, actual semi-...
3
votes
0answers
53 views

What is the proper terminology for the process of a satellite entering a planet's shadow? [closed]

What is the proper terminology for when a satellite or spaceship passes into a planet's shadow or night side? Is it crossing the terminator? Passing into eclipse (or something better)? If there is a ...
2
votes
0answers
65 views

Does NASA use any of the twilight designations?

Do the differences in civilian, nautical, and astronomical twilight have any technical relevance to NASA either on Earth or any other object in the solar system where a probe has landed? Does NASA ...
3
votes
1answer
142 views

NASA's definition of a launch vehicle

Does NASA's use of the term launch vehicle apply only to those that ascend from the Earth's surface and leave the atmosphere? If so why is the term limited that way?
1
vote
3answers
263 views

When is a rocket a rocket?

A comment was offered in this question, how technically soft landing works without air on the moon?, asking "what do you mean by 'rocket'." This brought to mind the question of what is a rocket. Does ...
6
votes
1answer
147 views

What (the heck) are “space-fixed coordinates” as described in Apollo mission trajectory analyses?

@Ludo's answer to If I wanted to reconstruct an entire Apollo mission's crewed spacecraft trajectories, what are the key sources of historical data I'd look for? shows the table and its source shown ...
2
votes
1answer
129 views

What do these Apollo era terms mean?

@Ludo's answer to If I wanted to reconstruct an entire Apollo mission's crewed spacecraft trajectories, what are the key sources of historical data I'd look for? links to Apollo Mission 11, ...
24
votes
4answers
3k views

Name for geostationary orbit around another planet

A geostationary orbit is a circular orbit in Earth's equatorial plane whose rotation period matches that of the Earth. The "geo" in "geostationary" means Earth, so is there another term to designate ...
1
vote
1answer
57 views

Definition of a trans-Earth injection

Should every "propulsion maneuver used to set a spacecraft on a trajectory which will intersect the Earth's Sphere of influence" be called a trans-Earth injection? Regardless where the spacecraft ...
2
votes
1answer
158 views

Orbital vocabulary confusion! How can the tangential velocity of an elliptical Kepler orbit not be tangent to the orbit?

I'm now officially confused about the usage of "tangential" when breaking down orbital velocity components. It started with edits and comments on this answer to Orbital speed is (vector) sum of ...
1
vote
1answer
52 views

What is the Azimuth plane and how did it originate?

Background: As I understand it, "up" and "down" navigation aboard the ISS are referred to as Nadir and Zenith with down (towards Earth) being Nadir ...
5
votes
1answer
117 views

Term used to identify the blue bars/rails in the ISS?

The interior of the ISS is filled with blue bars used by astronauts to secure their feet and remain in one place. Does NASA have a term for these?
5
votes
2answers
488 views

What is the difference between an engine skirt and an engine nozzle?

I have seen "engine skirt" and "engine nozzle" both used for the bell-shaped end of a rocket engine. Is there a difference?
24
votes
3answers
5k views

Are there any “Third Order” acronyms used in space exploration?

On a recent episode of the Planetary Radio podcast, the topic of Third-Order Acronyms was brought up. At NASA, there are many Second-order acronyms like SAFER - Simplified Aid For EVA Rescue, where ...
0
votes
1answer
159 views

What exactly is an F-mission?

This @CometInterceptor tweet shows the mission's insignia. The complete wording on the patch is as follows: COMET INTERCEPTOR F-mission Question: What exactly is an F-mission? See also: ...
2
votes
0answers
93 views

Is “Space Shuttle” written as a proper noun in the spaceflight industry?

Writing the question Was a real Space Shuttle ever used as a really big simulator? (and several others) I capitalize Space Shuttle because as far as I know, that's the actual name of NASA's spacecraft,...
9
votes
1answer
1k views

What is and what isn't ullage in rocket science?

This comment and others below this answer address ullage. "Ullage" basically just means "the portion of the tank that isn't filled with liquid". The extended rocket-science implications of ullage ...
44
votes
2answers
7k views

Why do space operations use “nominal” to mean “working correctly”?

In common parlance, "nominal" means "in name only", "small (amount or quantity)" or "stated, but not necessarily reflective of reality". So, the general sense is that "nominal" means something that ...
0
votes
1answer
62 views

Usage of “weight-to-thrust” instead of “thrust-to-weight”

Section 4.1.5 of the Apollo Program Summary Report states The major design criteria for the Saturn I were: a. Minimum vehicle lift-off weight to thrust ratio I've usually seen the reverse ...
1
vote
1answer
79 views

Gravitational keyhole for spacecraft flyby?

Is there a term for the area near a planet a spacecraft must pass through for a gravitational-assist flyby, or does 'gravitational keyhole' apply to gravitational assists as well as for asteroids?
7
votes
1answer
299 views

Did NASA distinguish between the space shuttle cockpit and flight deck?

NASA used both terms on their website, Cockpit and Flight Deck. One answer on Aviation SE Cockpit vs Flight Deck?says there is a difference between the two. Did NASA use the terms interchangeably, ...
0
votes
2answers
112 views

What is the distinction between detaching, jettisoning, and dumping?

What is the difference between the terms detach, jettison, and dump? Related Aviation.SE question: https://aviation.stackexchange.com/q/22903 Examples of using the term "detach": Why was the ...
0
votes
1answer
200 views

How often did launch vehicles have a “Stage 0”, and what does it mean exactly?

While trying to do some reading for the question Need help understanding staging shown in infographic of Titan launch of Hexagon satellites I ran across the Wikipedia article for Titan III. This ...
3
votes
1answer
174 views

Is the term 'lead head' used by astronauts?

In an article on the Space.com website, the author states "Very few astronauts have what's called the 'lead head'--immune from space adaptation syndrome or space sickness." I couldn't find any other ...
0
votes
1answer
62 views

GLOM of a launch vehicle

What do you mean by GLOM of a launch vehicle? When I googled about it, it says it is a type of mass but I am unclear about it.
2
votes
1answer
71 views

List of words and abbreviations like A-OK and MAG

Is there a list of casual, non-technical words, phrases, abbreviations and the like that have developed in any of the space agencies around the world?
0
votes
0answers
106 views

Is there a term for the activity of weightless astronauts hanging out on walls or ceilings?

Weightless astronauts often sit, stand, walk, or sleep on (or near) surfaces that (with gravity) we would normally call walls or ceilings. I reference such a phenomenon in my comment here: I would ...
7
votes
3answers
2k views

Why “strap-on” boosters, and how do other people say it?

This came up for me in the context of translating something into German. Everybody throws around terms like "strap-on boosters", although they aren't actually held on by straps. It's not even meant ...
5
votes
1answer
341 views

Did NASA have a term for the “sky” during the Apollo missions

Did NASA have a distinct word to describe what the Apollo astronauts saw when they looked at out at the stars, when traveling between the Earth and the Moon? Sky does not seem right, as that word ...
1
vote
4answers
146 views

Is GEO redundant (Geo- and Earth)? Would we call a Lunasychronous Lunar orbit LLO?

I think the title of the question Is it possible to establish a synchronous lunar orbit without using Lagrange points? is absolutely clear; it's an orbit around the Moon that is synchronous to the ...
4
votes
3answers
1k views

When was the first strap-on booster used in spaceflight?

The first use of the term "strap-on" in Google Ngram viewer is in 1930 and presumably that wasn't about a booster being attached to a rocket for additional thrust at lift-off. When was a strap-on ...
2
votes
2answers
177 views

Terminology dispute: is an orbital flight still a ballistic flight?

We have a terminology dispute with a colleague: could a flight by elliptical orbit trajectory be called a ballistic flight as well or limits of the later is a parabolic trajectory of a suborbital ...
1
vote
1answer
108 views

What is SpaceX's “rocket canister”?

The CNBC News item SpaceX, Boeing design risks threaten new delays for US space program says: Just ahead of the first scheduled un-manned test flight slated for March 2 under NASA's multibillion-...
12
votes
1answer
637 views

Opportunity's last tau was 10.8; what does that mean and how is tau defined and measured?

@ahiijny added a direct link to the Sol 5110-5114 MER B Downlink Report. These are the final days that signals were received from Opportunity. The message "Tau Value is NOT a Typographical Error" ...
5
votes
2answers
112 views

Can “space weather” refer to deep space environments or only to Earth's (or another planet's) upper atmosphere?

@OscarLanzi's interesting answer and my comment there led me to read Wikipedia's article Space weather. The article exclusively seems to only talk about effects in Earth's upper atmosphere; the only ...
0
votes
1answer
209 views

What do you call the Apollo LEM plus CM (Command Module) when they are connected?

In the question How far away can spacecraft be seen with an optical telescope? I used ...Apollo 14 CM & LEM and the Saturn IV B..." for lack of better words. Unlike some people I (don't) ...
6
votes
3answers
677 views

Is it appropriate to use the term “geology” for Martian studies?

Jargons like geology, geophysics, geothermal has its origin in and has strong connections with Earth. Other jargons like the closet point and farthest point of an orbit to a heavenly body get ...
4
votes
1answer
98 views

What's the difference between zenith and radial?

When it comes to orbital mechanics, are zenith and radial the same? Or to put it another way, are nadir and anti-radial the same?
9
votes
1answer
349 views

Why did the S-IV-B refer to “jettison”ing its ullage?

This is based on a recent question about S-IV-B ullage motor shutoff timing, specifically something found in the Technical Information Summary AS-501, page 15: Ullage Jettison ~ 532. But why "...
3
votes
2answers
248 views

Name for point in a satellite's orbit around a planet when the satellite is furthest from the sun

When a satellite is orbiting a planet (which itself is orbiting the sun) there are periodic points when the satellite is closest to and farthest from the sun, once where it is interposed between the ...
3
votes
3answers
319 views

What's the planetary exploration word for “impact parameter” (distance of closest approach if gravity were “turned off”)?

In particle scattering there's a term called "impact parameter", which is the minimum distance a particle would pass a second particle at rest, if the attractive or repulsive force were ignored or "...
3
votes
0answers
69 views

what is the relevance of ion cyclotron and ion collision frequency ratio

On earth, the ion cyclotron and ion collision frequency ratio is 1 at roughly 118 km, and this is used as one of the definitions of the limit to space. What are ion cyclotron frequency and ion ...
3
votes
2answers
161 views

Is Dawn's upcoming low periapsis orbit for XMO7 “resonant”?

The Spaceflight Insider article Dawn will enter lowest ever orbit around Ceres says: In his Dawn Journal blog, mission director and chief engineer Marc Rayman discussed the challenges of bringing ...
7
votes
1answer
1k views

What is BECO? (Gemini) Same as MECO?

This answer links to this answer which shows the acceleration g-force envelopes experienced by early astronauts, reaching as high as almost 7.5g! Both show BECO, which is what I might call MECO or ...
16
votes
2answers
2k views

Are any “strap-on” boosters held in place by actual straps?

Have there been any strap-on boosters that are attached to the main body of a rocket with actual straps (like bands of metal or something similar), as the name implies? If not, what's the origin of ...
3
votes
2answers
162 views

What is a pickup ion?

I've been reading several publications about Titan's atmosphere and chemistry, and the term "pickup ion" kept appearing here and there (see this publication for example). I looked it up and found the ...
3
votes
1answer
151 views

What is the correct term for the exterior of a rocket or space launch system?

Would you call it the casing, cladding, exterior structure, hull, shell...?
4
votes
1answer
173 views

Why are there so many apisidal names

If we look at orbital mechanics, we can find great tables like these, demonstrating the name of the periapsis and apoapsis around various celestial bodies: Objects Periapsis Apoapsis ...
2
votes
1answer
121 views

How does one refer to the “port port” on the ISS?

Saying "port port" is clumsy. Should I refer to it as the port berthing mechanism? Is there specific terminology for what I'm referring to or are there a few options? Also, I'm specifically ...