fy2000 link to home page glossary


ACTS Advanced Communications Technology Satellite
ADEOS Advanced Earth Observing Satellite
ADS-B Automated Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast
AEAP Atmospheric Effects of Aviation Project
AGATE Advanced General Aviation Technology Experiment
AMOS Air Force Maui Optical Site
ARS Agricultural Research Service (USDA)
AST Advanced Subsonic Technology (Program)
ASTER Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer
ASTP Apollo-Soyuz Test Project
ATLAS Atmospheric Laboratory for Applications and Science
AVHRR Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer
AVIRIS Airborne Visible and Infrared Imaging Spectrometer
AVOSS Advanced Vortex Sensing System
AXAF Advanced X-ray Astrophysics Facility (former name of Chandra X-ray Observatory)


BIA Bureau of Indian Affairs (DoI)
Black hole A completely collapsed, massive dead star whose gravitational field is so powerful that no radiation can escape from it; because of this property, its existence must be inferred rather than recorded from radiation emissions
BXA Bureau of Export Administration (DoC)


CEOS Committee on Earth Observation Satellites
CIS Commonwealth of Independent States
CITEL Commission on Inter-American Telecommunications
CME Coronal Mass Ejections
CNES Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (France)
COPUOS Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (United Nations)
Corona The outer atmosphere of the Sun, extending about a million miles above the surface
CORS Continuously Operating Reference Station
Cosmic rays Not forms of energy, such as x-rays or gamma rays, but particles of matter
Committee on Space Research
CrIS Cross-track Infrared Sounder
CRISTASPAS Cryogenic Infrared Spectrometers and Telescopes for the Atmosphere-Shuttle Pallet Satellite
CSC Commercial Space Center
CSOC Consolidated Space Operations Contract
CT Computerized tomography
CUE Collaborative Ukrainian Experiment


DAAC Distributed Active Archive Center
DARWIN Design Assessment of Reliability With Inspection
DMSP Defense Meteorological Satellite Program—DoD's polar-orbiting weather satellite system
DoC Department of Commerce
DoD Department of Defense
DoE Department of Energy
DoI Department of the Interior
DoS Department of State
DoT Department of Transportation
DSN Deep Space Network
DSP Defense Support Program


EELV Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (program)
EHF Extremely high frequency
El Niño A warm inshore current annually flowing south along the coast of Ecuador around the end of December and extending about every 7 to 10 years down the coast of Peru
EOS Earth Observing System—a series of satellites, part of NASA's Earth Science Enterprise, being designed for launch at the end of the 1990's to gather data on global change
EPA Environmental Protection Agency
EPIC Environmental Photographic Interpretation Center (EPA)
ERAST Environmental Research Aircraft and Sensor Technology (project)
EROS Earth Resources Observation System (USGS)
ERS European Remote-Sensing Satellite
ESE Earth Science Enterprise
ESA European Space Agency
ET External Tank
ETM+ Enhanced Thematic Mapper-Plus (Landsat instrument)
EUV Extreme ultraviolet
EVA Extravehicular activity


FAA Federal Aviation Administration
FACE Free Air Carbon dioxide Enrichment
FAR Federal Acquisition Regulation
FAS Foreign Agricultural Service (USDA)
FCC Federal Communications Commission
FGB Functional Cargo Block (Russian acronym)
Fly-by-light The use of light signals to connect the pilot's control devices with the aircraft control surfaces; or the use of light (fiber optic) control connections with no mechanical backup linkages and providing the pilot direct control of aircraft motion rather than control surface position
Fly-by-wire The use of electrical signals to connect the pilot's control devices with the aircraft control surfaces; or the use of electrical control connections with no mechanical backup linkages and providing the pilot direct control of aircraft motion rather than control surface position
Free flight A concept being developed by the FAA and the aviation community in which pilots could ultimately choose their own routes, speeds, and altitudes in flight, thus improving safety, while saving fuel, time, and natural resources.
FSA Farm Service Agency (USDA)
FSS Fixed Satellite Service
FWS (U.S.) Fish and Wildlife Service (DoI)
FY Fiscal year


Gamma rays The shortest of electromagnetic radiations, emitted by some radioactive substances
GDIN Global Disaster Information Network
Geostationary Traveling around the Earth's equator at an altitude of at least 35,000 kilometers and at a speed matching that of the Earth's rotation, thereby maintaining a constant relation to points on the Earth
Geosynchronous geostationary
GIS Geographic Information System
GOES Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite
GOIN Global Observation Information Network
GPS Global Positioning System


Heliosphere The region of the Sun's influence, including the Sun and the interplane- tary medium
HST Hubble Space Telescope
Hypersonic Faster than Mach 4; faster than "high speed"
Hyperspectral An instrument capability using many very narrow spectral frequency bands (300 or more), enabling a satellite-based passive sensor to discriminate specific features or phenomena on the body being observed (such as Earth)


ICM Interim Control Module
IGEB International GPS Executive Board
IGOS Integrated Global Observing Strategy
IGS International GPS Service for Geodynamics
INM Integrated Noise Model
INMARSAT International Mobile Satellite Organization
InSAR Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar
INSAT Indian Remote Sensing Satellite
Integrated modular avionics Aircraft-unique cabinet that replace multiple black boxes with shared common equipment and generic software
INTELSAT International Telecommunications Satellite Organization
Interferometry The production and measurement of interference from two or more coherent wave trains emitted from the same source
Internet An international computer network that began about 1970 as the NSF Net; very slowly it became a collection of more than 40,000 independ- ently managed computer networks worldwide that have adopted common protocols to permit the exchange of electronic information
That region of Earth's atmosphere so named because of the presence of ionized atoms in layers that reflect radio waves and short-wave transmissions
IPO Integrated Program Office
ISO International Organization for Standardization
ISS International Space Station
ITA International Trade Administration (DoC)
ITU International Telecommunications Union


JEM Japanese Experimental Module
JPL Jet Propulsion Laboratory (NASA)

K-band Radio frequencies in the 20-gigahertz range
Ka-band Radio frequencies in the 30-gigahertz range
KSC Kennedy Space Center
Ku-band Radio frequencies in the 11–12-gigahertz range


Landsat Land [remote sensing] Satellite—a series of satellites designed to collect information about Earth's natural resources
Laser Light amplified by simulated emission of radiation—a device that pro- duces an intense beam of light that may be strong enough to vaporize the hardest and most heat-resistant materials, first constructed in 1960
LDEF Long-Duration Exposure Facility
LEO Low-Earth Orbit—100 to 350 nautical miles above Earth
2 Liquid Hydrogen
LIDAR Light Intersection Direction and Ranging
LOX Liquid Oxygen
LVIS Laser Vegetation Imaging Sensor


Mach A relative number named after Austrian physicist Ernst Mach (1838–1916) and indicating speed with respect to that of sound in a given medium; in dry air at 32 degrees Fahrenheit and at sea level, for example, Mach 1=approximately 741 miles per hour (1,192 kilometers per hour)
Magnetosphere The region of Earth's atmosphere in which ionized gas plays an important role in the atmospheric dynamics and where, consequently, the geomagnetic field also exerts an important influence; other magnetic planets, such as Jupiter, have magnetospheres that are similar in many respects to Earth's
MCC-H Mission Control Center–Houston
MCC-M Mission Control Center–Moscow
MCO Mars Climate Orbiter
MHz Megahertz
MilSatCom Military Satellite Communications
MISR Multi-angle Imaging Spectroradiometer
MMH Monomethyl Hydrazine
MMS Minerals Management Service (DoI)
MODIS Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectrometer
MPL Mars Polar Lander
MPLM Multi-Purpose Logistics Module


NAPP National Aerial Photography Program
NAS National Airspace System (FAA)
NASA National Aeronautics and Space Administration
NASDA National Space Development Agency (of Japan)
NASM National Air and Space Museum
NASS National Agricultural Statistics Service (USDA)
NATO North Atlantic Treaty Organization
NAWQA National Water Quality Assessment
NCAP National Civil Applications Program (USGS)
NDGPS Nationwide Differential GPS
NDOP National Digital Orthoquad Program
NESDIS National Environmental Satellite, Data and Information Service (NOAA)
Neutronstar Any of a class of extremely dense, compact stars thought to be composed primarily of neutrons; see pulsar
NEXRAD Next Generation Weather Radar
NGS National Geodetic Survey
NGSO Nongeostationary satellite
NIST National Institute of Standards and Technology (DoC)
NOAA National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (DoC); also the des- ignation of that administration's Sun-synchronous satellites in polar orbit
Nominal Functioning as designed
NOx Oxides of nitrogen
NPOESS National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System
NPP NPOESS Preparatory Project
NPS National Park Service (DoI)
NRA NASA Research Announcement
NRCS National Resources Conservation Service (USDA)
NRO National Reconnaissance Office (DoD)
NSC National Security Council
NSF National Science Foundation
NTIA National Telecommunications and Information Administration (DoC)—the Federal Government's radio spectrum manager, which coordinates the use of LEO satellite networks, such as those for Landsat, Navstar GPS, the Space Shuttle, and the Television and Infrared Operational Satellite (TIROS), with other countries of the world
NWRC Northwest Watershed Research Center (ARS)


OAST Office of Aerospace and Space Technology (former NASA office)
ODERACS Orbital Debris Radar Calibration Spheres
OLMSA Office of Life and Microgravity Sciences and Applications (NASA)
OMPS Ozone Mapping and Profiler Suite
Order of magnitude An amount equal to 10 times a given value; thus if some quantity was 10 times as great as another quantity, it would be an order of magnitude greater; if 100 times as great, it would be larger by two orders of magnitude
ORFEUSSPAS Orbiting and Retrievable Far and Extreme Ultraviolet Spectrograph-Shuttle Pallet Satellite
OSMRE Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (DoI)
OSS Office of Space Science (NASA)
OSTA Office of Space and Terrestrial Applications (former NASA office)
OSTP Office of Science and Technology Policy


PAMS-STU Passive Aerodynamically Stabilized Magnetically Damped Satellite–Satellite Test Unit
PARCS Primary Atomic Reference Clock in Space
Pathfinder A program that focuses on the processing, reprocessing, maintaining, archiving, and distributing existing Earth science data sets to make them more useful to researchers; NASA, NOAA, and USGS are involved in specific Pathfinder efforts
PCB Polychlorinated biphenyl
PEACESAT Pan-Pacific Education and Communications Experiment by Satellite
PECAD Production Estimates and Crop Assessment Division (FAS)
Photogrammetry. The science or art of obtaining reliable measurements by means of photography
PMA Pressurized Mating Adapter
POES Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite (program)
PPS Precise Positioning Service
PRA Probabilistic risk assessment
Pulsar A pulsating radio star, which is thought to be a rapidly spinning neutron star; the latter is formed when the core of a violently exploding star, called a supernova, collapses inward and becomes compressed together; pulsars emit extremely regular pulses of radio waves


Quasar A class of rare cosmic objects of extreme luminosity and strong radio emission; many investigators attribute their high-energy generation to gas spiraling at high velocity into a massive black hole
QuikSCAT Quick Scatterometer


RADARSAT Canadian Radar Satellite
Ramjet A jet engine with no mechanical compressor, consisting of specially shaped tubes or ducts open at both ends, along with the air necessary for combustion being shoved into the duct and compressed by the forward motion of the engine
RFID Radio Frequency Identification
RLV Reusable launch vehicle
RPA Remotely Piloted Aircraft
RSA Russian Space Agency
RSML Remote Sensing and Modeling Laboratory (ARS)


SAMRSS Shafter Airborne Multispectral Remote Sensing System
SAO Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
SAR Synthetic Aperture Radar
SBIRS Space Based Infrared System
SBS Satellite Business Systems
Scramjet Supersonic-combustion ramjet
SeaWiFS Sea-viewing Wide Field-of-view Sensor
SLS Spacelab Life Sciences
SMA Safety and Mission Assurance
SNOE Student Nitric Oxide Experiment
SOFIA Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy
SOHO Solar and Heliospheric Observatory
Solar wind A stream of particles accelerated by the heat of the solar corona (outer region of the Sun) to velocities great enough to permit them to escape from the Sun's gravitational field
SPACEHAB Commercial module for housing Shuttle experiments
Spartan Shuttle Pointed Autonomous Research Tool for Astronomy
SPOT Satellite Pour l'Observation de la Terre (French satellite for the observation of Earth)
SRB Solid Rocket Booster
SRM Solid Rocket Motor
SRMU Solid Rocket Motor Upgrade
SSBUV Shuttle Solar Backscatter Ultraviolet
SSCC Space Station Control Center
SSCE Solid Surface Combustion Experiment
SSME Space Shuttle Main Engine
SSM/I Special Sensor Microwave Imager
SSRMS Space Station Remote Manipulator System
SSTF Space Station Training Facility
SSTI Small Satellite Technology Initiative
START Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty
STS Space Transportation System
SWAS Submillimeter Wave Astronomy Satellite


TA Technology Administration (DoC)
TATP Triacetone triperoxide (terrorist explosive)
TDRS Tracking and Data Relay Satellite
TERRIERS Tomographic Experiment using Radiative Recombinative Ionospheric EUV and Radio Sources
TOMS Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer
TOPEX Ocean Topography Experiment
TRACE Transition Region and Coronal Explorer
TRACON Terminal Radar Approach Control (system)
TRMM Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission


UARS Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite
UHF Ultrahigh frequency—any frequency between 300 and 3,000 megacycles per second
UNISPACE United Nations Conference on the Exploration and Peaceful Uses of Outer Space
URET User Request Evaluation Tool
U.S. United States
USAID U.S. Agency for International Development
USDA U.S. Department of Agriculture
U.S. Geological Survey (DoI)
USML U.S. Microgravity Laboratory
USMP U.S. Microgravity Payload
USSR Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
USWCL U.S. Water Conservation Laboratory (ARS)


VCL Vegetation Canopy Lidar
VHF Very high frequency—any radio frequency between 30 and 300 megacy- cles per second
VLBA Very Large Baseline Array
VLSA Very Large Scale Aerial


WAAS Wide Area Augmentation System
Wind shear Variation of wind speed and wind direction with respect to a horizontal or vertical plane; powerful but invisible downdrafts called microbursts focus intense amounts of vertical energy in a narrow funnel that can force an aircraft to the ground nose first if the aircraft is caught under- neath
WIRE Wide-field Infrared Explorer
WRC World Radiocommunication Conference
WSDDM Weather Support to Deicing Decision Making
WSF Wake Shield Facility


X-rays Radiations of very short wavelengths, beyond the ultraviolet in the spectrum
XRSIM X-ray simulation software

back to top

go to nasa hqgo to nasa hq history office

Home | NASA | DoD | FAA | DoC | DoI | FCC | USDA | NSF | DoS | DoE | Smithso | Apndx | Gloss