Space Exploration Abbreviations, Acronyms, and Definitions


A1-C and A6-LEarly Apollo suit prototypes
A/SAscent stage (LM)
A7-L and A7-LBActual Apollo pressure suits worn on missions
AAPApollo Applications Program
ACBWGApollo Reentry Communications Blackout Working Group
ACEacceptance checkout equipment; also automatic checkout equipment
ACEDAC Electronics Division, General Motors Corporation
ACRVAssured Crew Return Vehicle (or) Astronaut Crew Rescue Vehicle
ActuatorMechanism(s) used to start or initiate something
AECAtomic Energy Commission
AEDCArnold Engineering Development Center, Air Force
AESApollo Extension System, forerunner of Apollo Applications Program
AFETRAir Force Eastern Test Range
AFRM airframe
AFSCAir Force Systems Command
ALEPApollo lunar exploration program
ALMAZ2nd generation Soviet manned orbital space station – military Salyut
ALSAdvanced Launch System
ALSCCApollo Lunar Surface Closeup Camera
ALSDApollo Lunar Surface Drill – drill used to bore holes into the lunar surface
ALSEPApollo Lunar Surface Experiments Package – name given to the various sets of experiments left on the moon by the Apollo crews – see also EASEP
AMS Apollo mission simulator
AMUAstronaut Manuevering Unit (preceeded MMU)
AOAAbort Once Around (Shuttle abort plan); also Angle Of Attack
AOCSAttitude and Orbit Control System
AOHApollo operations handbook
APAssociated Press
APMAttached Pressurized Module (a.k.a. Columbus)
ApolloU.S. Manned lunar program
APUAuxiliary Power Unit
ASPApollo Simple Penetrator – A pointed rod pushed into the lunar surface to determine it’s penetration properties
ARCAmes Research Center
ArianeEuropean commercial launch vehicle (rocket)
ARTEMISAdvanced Relay TEchnology MISsion
ASATAntisatellite weapon
Ascent stageUpper part of LM used as cabin and to propel crew back into lunar orbit after landing operations were concluded
ASEActive Seismic Experiment – ALSEP experiment
ASIAgenzia Spaziale Italiana (Italian Space Agency)
ASPOApollo Spacecraft Program Office, MSC
ASRMAdvanced Solid Rocket Motor
ASSBApollo Site Selection Board
ASTPApollo-Soyuz Test Project – joint US/USSR docking mission of an Apollo CSM and Soviet Soyuz
astronautU.S./European space traveler
ASTTApollo Special Task Team
ATDAAugmented Target Docking Adapter
ATMApollo Telescope Mount (Skylab)
ATOAbort To Orbit (Shuttle abort plan)
BAC Bell Aerospace Company or, before January 1970, Bell Aerosystems Company 
BaikonourSoviet/Russian space launch center
BeVbillion electron volts
BIGBiological Isolation Garment – special suit used by Apollo 11 crew after splashdown to isolate the crew from the environment of the earth in case they had been exposed to any possible pathogenic lunar organisms (germs)
Bore stemDrill tube used with ALSD to drill holes into lunar surface to obtain deep core specimens of the moon and to place Heat Flow and Neutron Probe experiments sensors
BPCBoost Protective Cover – launch cover used on Apollo CMs
BSLSSBuddy Secondary Life Support System
BSSBoeing Satellite Systems
BtuBritish thermal units
Bubble HelmetPressure Helmet Assembly – used inside spacecraft and under LEVA while on the moon. See also LEVA
Buran“Snowstorm” Name given to only flown Russian space shuttle
CARIDScustomer acceptance review item dispositions
CARRCustomer Acceptance Readiness Review
CASECoordinated Aerospace Supplier Evaluation
cccubic centimeter(s)
CCAS/CCAFSCape Canaveral Air Station/Cape Canaveral Air Force Station
CCBConfiguration Control Board
CCDCharge-Coupled Device
CCGECold Cathode Gage Experiment – ALSEP experiment, similar to the CCIG (below)
CCIGCold Cathode Ion Gage – ALSEP experiment, similar to the CCGE (above)
CDRAbbreviation for Commander, the man on an Apollo mission who had overall command of the mission, and who piloted the LM
Central StationALSEP component used to route commands and electrical power to the individual experiments and send experiment data to earth
CGCenter of Gravity
CGRO(Arthur Holley) Compton Gamma Ray Observatory (was GRO)
Chromel RMetallic cloth used on extravehicular space suits. It had great abrasion resistant properties. It was used on the boots, gloves, and backs of the extravehicular space suits.
CircumlunarAround the moon. This indicated that the vehicle sent to the moon would not orbit the moon but merely loop around it, as in the Zond missions and Apollo 13
CIRRISCryogenic InfraRed Radiance Instrument for Shuttle
CMCommand Module – conical “capsule” or spacecraft used in Apollo to house the crew during all operations except the lunar landing. It was the “Mother Ship” of Apollo, and the only part of the entire rocket that returned to earth, also Center of Mass
cm centimeter, centimeters
CMPCommand Module Pilot – crewman who piloted the CSM and remained in the CM in lunar orbit while the CDR and LMP descended to the moon
CNESCentre National d’Etudes Spatiales – French Space Agency, most famous for the Ariane rocket
COBECOsmic Background Explorer (satellite)
Communications Carrier (aka “Snoopy Cap”)Soft cloth cap worn while inside space suit, held microphones and earphones for radio and intercom communications
cosmonautSoviet/Russian/Eastern Bloc space traveler
COSMOSGeneric name given to any Soviet/Russian spacecraft before it’s official function is made public
COSTARCorrective Optics Space Telescope Axial Replacement
CPLEECharged Particle Lunar Environment Experiment – ALSEP experiment
cpscycles per second (see Hz)
CRAFComet Rendezvous / Asteroid Flyby (unmanned probe)
CRDCosmic Ray Detector – ALSEP experiment.  Also see LSCRD
CROCall sign letters for Carnarvon, Western Australia tracking station
CRRESCombined Release / Radiation Effects Satellite
CSACanadian Space Agency – builder of the Shuttle RMS and SSRMS
CSCContingency Sample Container
CSMCommand and Service Module – Combination of the Command Module and the Service Module
CSRCContingency Sample Return Container
cu mcubic meter, cubic meters
CWGConstant Wear Garment
CyrillicRussian alphabet system
DACData Acquisition Camera
DCRDesign Certification Review
degrees Cdegrees Celsius (centigrade)
degrees Fdegrees Fahrenheit
Descartes-CayleyApollo 16 landing site
Descent stageBottom half of lunar module
DFIdevelopment flight instrumentation
DLRGerman space agency
DMDocking Module
DODDepartment of Defense
DPSdescent propulsion system, pronounced DIPS
DSBDDocumented Sample Bag Dispenser
DSNDeep Space Network
EAFBEdwards Air Force Base
EASEPEarly Apollo Scientific Experiments Package – small, simplified ALSEP package deployed on Apollo 11 consisted of PSEP, LR3, and SWC
ECPengineering change proposal
ECSenvironmental control system
EDCPengineering design change proposal
EDDEngineering and Development Directorate
EDSemergency detection system
EDOExtended Duration Orbiter (Shuttle)
EELVEvolved Expandable Launch Vehicle (USAF program, Delta 4, Boeing)
ELSearth landing system
ELVExpendable Launch Vehicle – any rocket that is not reusable
EMS entry monitor system
EMUExtravehicular Mobility Unit – Space suit used both in and outside of the spacecraft
EnergiyaRussian design bureau (NPO), also Heavy Lift Russian booster
EOengineering order
eV electron volts(s)
ERBSEarth Radiation Budget Satellite
ERTSEarth Resources Technology Satellite
ESAEuropean Space Agency
ESOCEuropean Space Operations Center
ESROEuropean Spatial Research Organization
ET(Shuttle) External Tank, also Extraterrestrial
EVAExtravehicular Activity – Anything done by a crewman outside of a spacecraft, including moon walks and space walks in open space
ExplorerU.S. series of unmanned probes and satellites
FAIFédération Aéronautique International (International Aeronautical Federation)
FCODFlight Crew Operations Directorate
FCSFecal Containment System
FCSMflight combustion stability monitor
FGSFine Guidance Sensors (on HST)
FHSTFixed Head Star Trackers (on HST)
FOCFaint Object Camera (on HST)
FODFlight Operations Directorate
FOSFaint Object Spectrograph (on HST)
fpsfeet per second
Fra MauroLanding site for Apollo 13 (which never landed) and Apollo 14
FRRFlight Readiness Review
ft foot, feet
FUVCFar Ultraviolet Camera – ALSEP experiment
Gspecific gravity
gram, gravity, specific gravity
G- H- and J-Series Mission(s)Apollo landing missions denoting the compexity of the missions. See Apollo Stats
GAECGrumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation
GAOGovernment Accounting Office
GASGet-Away Special – small, cheap payload containers flown on board the U.S. Shuttle
GATVGemini Agena Target Vehicle
GCTAGround Controlled Television Assembly
GDSCall sign letters for Goldstone, California tracking station
GEGeneral Electric Company
GeminiManned space program preceding Apollo, used to verify space activities such as EVA, rendezvous, docking, etc.
GEOGeosynchronous Earth Orbit
GET ground elapsed time
GFEgovernment-furnished equipment
GHRSGoddard High Resolution Spectrograph (on HST)
GLEP Group for Lunar Exploration Planning
GMT Greenwich mean time
GOXGaseous OXygen
GPCGeneral Purpose Computer (Shuttle)
GPSGlobal Positioning System
GROGamma Ray Observatory (now CGRO)
GSEground support equipment
GSFCGoddard Space Flight Center
GTGemini Titan
GTOGeostationary Transfer Orbit
GWMCall sign letters for Guam tracking station
Hadley-AppeninesLanding site for Apollo 15
HasselbladGerman camera company which developed and built most of the cameras used in Apollo. The Hasselblad 500 EL was the “moon camera” seen mounted to the chests of the crewmen while on the moon
HAWCall sign letters for Hawaii tracking station
HCTHand Tool Carrier
HEAO High Energy Astronomy Observatory (satellite)
HFEHeat  Flow Experiment, ALSEP experiment
HF high frequency
HGAHigh Gain Antenna
HOTOLHOrizontal TakeOff and Landing (a proposed SSTO craft)
HSKCall sign letters for Honeysuckle Creek tracking station
HSTHubble Space Telescope
type of rocket fuel (propellant) which explodes when mixed together, thereby not requiring an ignition source
Hzhertz (unit of frequency: 1 cycle per second)
IBMInternational Business Machines Corporation
ICBCInteragency Committee on Back Contamination
ICBMIntercontinental Ballistic Missile
IMUinertial measurement unit
ininch, inches
IRASInfraRed Astronomical Satellite
ISSInternational Space Station
ITMGIntegrated Thermal Micrometeroroid Garment – outside layer of EMU
ITT International Telephone and Telegraph Corporation
IUInstrument Unit (Saturn rocket)
IUSInertial Upper Stage
JEMJapanese Experiment Module (for SSF)
JPL Jet Propulsion Laboratory
JSCJohnson Space Center (Manned Spacecraft Center before February 1973)
KKelvin scale, kelvin(s)
kg kilogram, kilograms
km/hrs kilometers per hour
Korouin French Guiana, French space center – site of all Ariane launches
KrechetSoviet lunar surface EMU
KSCKennedy Space Center
LLagrange (as in Lagrange points L1 through L5)
LACELunar Atmospheric Composition Experiment – unique ALSEP experiment flown only on Apollo 17
LaRCLangley Research Center
LC Launch Complex
LCGLiquid Cooling Garment
LCRULunar Communications Relay Unit
LDEFLong Duration Exposure Facility (Shuttle)
LEAMLunar Ejecta and Meteorites – unique ALSEP experiment flown only on Apollo 17
LECLunar Equipment Conveyor – cable used to transport equipment to and from the LM cabin to the lunar surface
LEMlunar excursion module
LEOLow Earth Orbit
LeRCLewis Research Center
LES/LETLES – Launch escape system/Launch escape tower
LEV LEV – Launch escape vehicle
LEVALunar Extravehicular Visor Assembly
LGALow Gain Antenna
LGI lunar geology investigation
LHLiquid Hydrogen (also LH2 or LHX)
LiOHLithium Hydroxide – chemical used to scrub CO2 from spacecraft or EMU atmosphere
LIONLunar International Observer Network
LKLunniy Korabl – Soviet lunar module
LLRF Lunar Landing Research Facility
LLTVlunar landing training vehicle
LMLunar Module
LM Quad or Bay4 triangular shaped sections of LM descent stage, used to carry lunar surface equipment
LMP lunar module pilot
LMSlunar module simulator
LMSS lunar mapping and survey system
LN2Liquid N2 (Nitrogen)
LOCLaunch Operations Center
LOIlunar orbit insertion
LOKLunniy Orbital’niy Korabl – Soviet version of the Apollo CSM, basically a souped up Soyuz spacecraft
LOLA lunar orbit and landing approach
LOXliquid oxygen
LRL Lunar Receiving Laboratory
LRRR or LR3 or LR CubedLaser Ranging Retroreflector – ALSEP/EASEP experiment
LRVlunar roving vehicle
LSCRDLunar Surface Cosmic Ray Detector – ALSEP experiment.  Also see CRD
LSGLunar Surface Gravimeter – unique ALSEP experiment flown only on Apollo 17
LSILunar Science Institute
LSMLunar Surface Magnetometer – ALSEP experiment.  Also see Portable Magnetometer
LTA LEM test article
LSPLunar Seismic Profiling – Unique ALSEP experiment flown only on Apollo 17
LTV Ling-Temco-Vought
Lunarof or about the moon
Lunar OrbiterU.S. series of unmanned probes, mapped the moon from lunar orbit
mm – meter, meter(s)
M&SSMapping and survey system
MAMercury Atlas
MADCall sign letters for Madrid tracking station, also cold war term for “Mutually Assured Destruction”
Magnetometerdevice used to read the strength of a magnetic field
MarinerU.S. series of unmanned probes, explored Mercury, Venus, and Mars
mascons mass concentrations of dense material on lunar surface
MC megacycles
MCC (H) (K) Mission Control Center (Houston) (Kennedy)
MCPmission control programmer
MCRmaster change record
MDAMultiple Docking Adapter (Skylab)
MDF mild detonating fuse
MDOPmaximum design operating pressure
MECOMain Engine CutOff
MercuryFirst U.S. manned space program
MESAModularized Equipment Stowage Assembly – large equipment pallet located in Quad IV of the LM descent stage
METmobile equipment transporter
MeVmillion electron volts
MGSMars Global Surveyor
MHzmegahertz (million cycles per second)
mimile, miles
MirSoviet/Russian 3rd generation space station
MITMassachusetts Institute of Technology
mm millimeter
MMH monomethylhydrazine
MOL Manned Orbiting Laboratory
MPAMortar Package Assembly – ALSEP experiment
MPLMars Polar Lander
MQFMobile Quarantine Facility – silver trailer used on board Apollo recovery ships to isolate returning crews
MRMercury Redstone
MRB Material Review Board
MSCManned Spacecraft Center (became Johnson Space Center February 1973)
MSF Manned Space Flight
MSFC Marshall Space Flight Center
MSFNManned Space Flight Network
MSOBManned Spacecraft Operations Building
N-1 NositelSoviet manned lunar launch vehicle, G Class
N2O4Nitrogen Tetroxide – hypergolic propellant
NAANorth American Aviation, Inc. (until Sept. 22, 1967)
NACA National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics
NAR North American Rockwell Corporation (Sept. 22, 1967-Feb. 16, 1973; then Rockwell International Corporation)
NAS NAS – National Academy of Sciences
NASANational Aeronautics and Space Administration
NASDANAtional Space Development Agency (Japan)
NASM National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution
NASPNational AeroSpace Plane – SSTO concept.  cancelled
NEARNear Earth Asteroid Rendezvous (now named NEAR Shoemaker)
NERVANuclear Engine for Rocket Vehicle Application
Neutron ProbeUnique ALSEP experiment flown only on  Apollo 17
NGCNew General Catalog
NGSTNext Generation Space Telescope
NIRNear InfraRed
nm nautical mile(s)
NORADNORth American aerospace Defense
NRNorth American Rockwell Corporation (North American Aviation, Inc., before Sept.
NRONational Reconnaissance Office
NSANational Security Agency
NSFNational Science Foundation
NSSDCNational Space Science Data Center
OAOOrbiting Astronomical Observatory (satellite)
OART Office of Advanced Research and Technology, NASA Headquarters
OAS optical alignment sights
Ocean of StormsOceanus Procellarum –  Landing site for Apollo 12
OCP Operational Checkout Procedure
Omega ChronographApollo “moon watch”
OMSOrbital Maneuvering System (Shuttle)
OMSFOffice of Manned Space Flight, NASA HQ
OPFOrbiter Processing Facility
OPSoxygen purge system
ORDEALorbital rate drive electronics for Apollo and LM
ORIOperational readiness inspection
OrlanRussian/Soviet EMU adapted from Krechet suit, used on Salyut, Mir and ISS
OSCOrbital Sciences Corporation
OSO Orbiting Solar Observatory (satellite)
OSSAOffice of Space Science and Applications, NASA Headquarters
OTAOptical Telescope Assembly (on HST)
OTDAOffice of Tracking and Data Acquisition, NASA Headquarters
OVOrbital Vehicle (Shuttle)
PAD project approval document
PAMPayload Assist Module
PAM-DPayload Assist Module, Delta-class
PDRPreliminary Design Review
PGA Pressure garment assembly
PHSPublic Health Service
PIprincipal investigator
PIBPyrotechnic Installation Building
PioneerU.S. series of unmanned probes, explored Venus, Jupiter and Saturn
PLSS Portable Life Support System, pronounced PLISS
PLSS Tool Carrier HarnessHarness used to attach various tools and a sample bag to the PLSS
PMPressurized Module
PMAPressurized Mating Adapter (ISS)
PMCPermanently Manned Capability
pogolaunch vehicle induced oscillations (not an acronym; derived from “pogo stick” analogy
PolyusRussian orbital space weapon platform, flew on 1st Energiya flight.  Falied to reach orbit
Portable MagnetometerPortable version of magnetometer, carried on the Apollo 14 MET and the Apollo 16 LRV.  Also see LSM
ProtonRussian/Soviet launch vehicle used to loft the Zond spacecraft, Salyut space stations, Mir space station components, and large satellites
PSACPresident’s Scientific Advisory Committee
PSEPassive Seismic Experiment – ALSEP experiment designed to measure “moon quakes”
PSEPPassive Seismic Experiment Package – self-contained EASEP version of the PSE
psipounds per square inch
psia pounds per square inch absolute
PTV parachute test vehicle
PVOPioneer Venus Orbiter
RangerU.S. series of unmanned probes, explored the moon on flyby missions
RASPOResident Apollo Spacecraft Program Office
RCARadio Corporation of America
RCS reaction control system
RCURemote Control Unit – chest mounted system used to control EMU and PLSS while on lunar EVA
Red AppleHandle of EMU pressure relief valve
RF radio frequency
RLVReusable Launch Vehicle (USAF)
RMSRemote Manipulator System – robotic “Canadarm” used on the Shuttle, precursor to SSRMS
Rockwell International CorporationRockwell International Corporation)
RTCCReal Time Computer Complex
RTG radioisotope thermoelectric generator
RTLSReturn To Launch Site (Shuttle abort plan)
RTVroom temperature vulcanizing
S/C spacecraft
SalyutFirst generation Soviet manned space station program
SAMSOSpace and Missiles Organization, Air Force
SARSynthetic Aperture Radar
SaturnClass of Apollo manned launch vehicles
Saturn 1Bsmaller of 2 Apollo manned launch vehicles, used to launch spacecraft to earth orbit
Saturn Vlarger of 2 Apollo manned launch vehicles, used to launch spacecraft to the moon and to launch the Skylab OWS into earth orbit
S-Bandradio frequency from 1.55 ghz through to 3.9 ghz
SBSSatellite Business Systems
SCAShuttle Carrier Aircraft
SCBSample Collection Bag – Teflon bags used to return lunar samples to earth
Sea of TranquilityMare Tranquilitatis – Landing site for Apollo 11
SEBSource Evaluation Board
SEP or sepSurface Electrical Properties – ALSEP experiment on Apollo 17.  Also, abbreviation for separation as in “sep burn”
SEQ scientific equipment
SEQ BayLM descent stage Quad II, carried ALSEP experiments pallets
SESCSpecial Environmental Sample Container
SESLSpace Environmental Simulation Laboratory
SEVAStand-up extravehicular activity
S-IBSaturn IB launch vehicle first stage
S-IC Saturn V launch vehicle first stage
SID Space and Information Systems Division (NAA)
SIDESuprathermal Ion Detector – ALSEP experiment
S-II Saturn second stage
SIM scientific instrument module
SIM BayScientific Equipment Module Bay – sector of Apollo SM used on J-series missions to house a suite of experiments and mapping cameras
S-IVB Saturn IB second stage; Saturn V third stage
SkylabFirst U.S. space station
SLA spacecraft-lunar module adapter
SLSS supplementary life support system
SMService module
SoyuzSoviet/Russian manned space vehicle used in earth orbital missions. This S/C has been in use since 1967
Space ShuttleSpacecraft used to transport manned crews to and from earth orbit
SPFsingle point failure
SPK/YMKSoviet version of U.S. Manned Manuevering Unit
SPSservice propulsion system
sq cmsquare centimeter(s)
sq msquare meter, square meters
SRCSample Return Container
SSCspace suit communications
STAG Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee, university-NASA
STGSpace Task Group, NASA (forerunner of Manned Spacecraft Center); Space Task Group, President’s (1969)
STLSTL – Space Technology Laboratories, Inc.
STSSpace Transportation System, aka the Space shuttle
SublimatorCooling system used on manned spacecraft and space suits
SWCSolar Wind Collector – foil sheet used to trap solar particles, ALSEP experiment
SWIPSuper Weight Improvement Program
SWSSolar Wind Spectrometer, ALSEP experiment
Taurus-LittrowLanding site for Apollo 17
TCP test and checkout procedures
TCUTelevision Control Unit
TEItransearth injection (insertion into trajectory to earth)
TLI translunar injection (insertion into trajectory to moon)
TLSATorso Limb Suit Assembly
TMtest model
Traverse GravimeterRover mounted ALSEP experiment used on Apollo 17
TVthermal vacuum-test article; also television
U.S.United States of America
U.S.S.R. Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
UHTUniversal Hand Tool
UTCAUrine Collection and Transfer Assembly
VHF Very high frequency
White RoomRoom at end of launch tower umbilical used to ingress crews into spacecraft
WIFWater Immersion Facility
WSMR White Sands Missile Range, Army
WSTF White Sands Test Facility, MSC, NASA 
ZondSoviet manned lunar orbital program, also the name used for several unmanned probes
Luna Spacey

Luna Spacey

Luna Spacey, a distinguished space researcher, earned her Ph.D. in Astrophysics from MIT, specializing in exotic matter near black holes. Joining NASA post-graduation, she significantly contributed to the discovery of gravitational waves, enriching cosmic understanding.With a 15-year stellar career, Luna has numerous published papers and is currently spearheading a dark matter research project. Beyond her profession, she’s an avid stargazer, dedicated to community science education through local school workshops.Luna also cherishes hiking and astrophotography, hobbies that harmoniously blend her admiration for nature and the cosmos, making her a revered figure in both the scientific and local communities.

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