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.

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10
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2answers
253 views

Is "medihelion" a word?

"Medihelion" is what I call the two points on a solar elliptical orbit where distance from the sun is the same as the ellipse's semi-major axis. These two points also correspond to the end-points of ...
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What would a physically correct term be for "artificial gravity by rotation"?

Microgravity causes some health concerns in the long run, so it has been proposed that one could create what is often called "artificial gravity" by rotating the space station. This is not strictly ...
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What do you call an object that has a moon orbiting?

On Earth we call The Moon a moon, but if we were on The Moon what would we call the object we are orbiting around? If I'm not being very clear I'm looking for a word that would describe what Earth to ...
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What is a reference mission?

I've seen the term "reference mission" used in connection with proposed missions to the Moon, Mars, etc.. What exactly is "reference" about a "reference" mission, as opposed to a proposal, plan, or ...
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1answer
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What is a "Y-Thomson spin"?

I am new in the field of Spacecraft Attitude Dynamics and Control, and came across the terminology "Y-Thomson spin". What is it? Where can I read more about this attitude control mode?
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1answer
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Does Star Trek's adherence to naval tradition have roots in NASA or earlier real organizations?

I know this sounds off topic, but bear with me. This is a question about real world space agencies. Is it well established that Star Trek follows naval tradition. For example its ranks come from ...
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2answers
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What exactly were the controller roles in the Apollo go/no-go calls?

In the Apollo era, whenever there was a significant event about to occur, the flight director (I can recall the voice of Gene Kranz) would do a sort of go/no-go "roll call". He would call off names ...
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5answers
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Does the moon have a name?

Is there any scientific name for "The Moon", Earth's satellite, when talking about it apart from, but in context of, other moons? Google simply states that Earth's only natural satellite is simply ...
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2answers
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How do apsides of celestial bodies get their names?

If you look at this site, it shows some of our common bodies' apsidal names, as shown below: Objects Periapsis Apoapsis Galaxy Perigalacticon Apogalacticon Black hole Perimélasma ...
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8answers
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Is the air "sucked out" or "blown out" into space when the hatch opens?

In a somewhat famous Star Trek: The Next Generation quote Data corrects Riker on the 'correct term' for a scenario where a hatch on a space capsule breaks open and all the crew are killed. Riker: &...
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0answers
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What are non-rocket-based reaction mass drives called?

There's plenty of talk out there about a certain type of propulsion system, but I don't know the proper name for it. You gather up / buy / otherwise acquire some kind of non-rocket material, like ...
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What is Retropropulsion?

In a recent news NASA, SpaceX Share Data On Supersonic Retropropulsion My question is what is Retropropulsion?
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What is one full orbit?

I saw David Ratti's question about Yuri Gagarin's voyage on Vostak 1 and how it was considered orbital, and that it was considered the first. I was wondering what constitutes one full trip around the ...
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1answer
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What's the name of this maneuver for unlimited delta-v?

Let's say you have magical unlimited delta-v, but very low thrust-to-weight ratio. You could travel by accelerating constantly for half the trip, then braking for the other half, until your arrival. ...
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1answer
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Pitch and yaw axes of rocket systems such as Apollo

Broadly speaking, most rocket systems appear to have at least 3 or 4 fold radial symmetry about their long axis (if you don't consider internals or smaller features not obvious from a distance). A ...
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Which coordinates does "Satellite is in correct position" imply? time and direction or only x,y,z?

command: "get satellite in correct position". Intension: satellite adjusts to a certain angle and move through space. Is the command sufficient? Position := which{t,s,d,x,y,z}?
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2answers
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Why do they say "go" and "no go"

I'm sure we're all familiar with the go/no go standard phrasing for reporting whether something is OK or not. Having a standard phrasing clearly makes comprehension easier and more reliable, ...
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1answer
954 views

Why do we differentiate between astronauts and cosmonauts?

And how tenable is this distinction now that a third space agency carries out manned flights (China), and others are poised to follow? I can think of no other profession/job title where this ...
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What distinguishes a sounding rocket from a suborbital flight?

What are the differences between a sounding rocket and a suborbital flight? Sounding rockets have long been used for science purposes. Some of them have trajectories elliptic enough to do ...
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7answers
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What are these orientations called in orbit?

Let's say a spacecraft is in an orbit like this one: If the red arrows point to prograde and retrograde, and the blue arrows point to normal and antinormal, what do the green arrows point to? In ...
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1answer
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Who really coined the phrase "Light the Candle!" to commence with a rocket launch?

This NASA's image of a Mercury-Redstone rocket Freedom 7 carrying Alan Shepard, the first American in space, is titled Light the Candle:        Light the Candle (Image ...
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1answer
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Why do the Russians call the Soyuz launcher the same name as the Soyuz capsule?

It is sometimes confusing that the Russians call the booster rocket Soyuz, and the payload Soyuz. Is there a reason for this naming model? Reading Anatloy Zak's book he notes several proposed ...
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1answer
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What is the significance of the name "Jade rabbit"?

On Saturday (December 14, 2013), the first soft landing on the Moon since 1976 occurred. The rover is named "Jade rabbit", what is the significance of that name?
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Is the use of "former" with astronauts really necessary?

When reading space exploration related articles, I often come across the use of "former" to classify astronaut's status. NASA even puts "former astronauts" as a separate classification on their pages, ...
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Karman line analog on other celestial bodies

Is there a common definition of where the space begins on other planets (and other celestial bodies)? An equivalent of the Karman line. How far one should go from the martian surface to get to the ...
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6answers
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How far do you have to be from Earth to be "in space"?

According to a recent news article a group of USC students are attempting to launch a rocket "in to space" with a planned height of 62 miles. Making them "the first group of students to successfully ...
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Is an orbital epoch merely a timestamp?

Just what the title states please. This site writes to say Orbit epoch is the time at which the established orbital elements are true The site goes on to mention sub-elements - Start Day The ...
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What is feathering?

I heard that Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo just tested something called “feathering”. What is it? How come I didn't hear about the shuttle doing this, it is unique to Virgin Galactic's ship?
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1answer
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What is the naming procedure for rocks on Mars?

I think that the relevant naming 'authority' for e.g. craters on the Moon (and Mars) is the International Astronomical Union. Besides weak spots in the system, the basic idea is that people or ...
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Did NASA ever use astronomical symbols for planets?

In 19th century texts on astronomy, the planets are often represented by symbols: ☿ for Mercury, ♀ for Venus, etc.. Did NASA ever use these symbols, or were they already obsolete by then? If they ...
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1answer
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Did NASA use metric units for the Mercury missions?

Did NASA use metric or English units for Project Mercury? For example, did they measure delta-v in meters/second or in feet/second?
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1answer
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What is the difference between a "space-oriented" and an "Earth-oriented" satellite?

From the NASA TIROS page on TIROS-1: The craft was spin-stabilized and space-oriented (not Earth-oriented). Therefore, the cameras were only operated while they were pointing at the Earth when that ...
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When did the term "Space" first come into use?

When did "Space" become the accepted terminology for the area beyond the Earth's atmosphere? What, if anything, was it called before it became known as "Space"?

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