Space Exploration Abbreviations, Acronyms, and Definitions

A1-C and A6-L Early Apollo suit prototypes
A/S Ascent stage (LM)
A7-L and A7-LB Actual Apollo pressure suits worn on missions
AAP Apollo Applications Program
ACBWG Apollo Reentry Communications Blackout Working Group
ACE acceptance checkout equipment; also automatic checkout equipment
ACED AC Electronics Division, General Motors Corporation
ACRV Assured Crew Return Vehicle (or) Astronaut Crew Rescue Vehicle
Actuator Mechanism(s) used to start or initiate something
AEC Atomic Energy Commission
AEDC Arnold Engineering Development Center, Air Force
AES Apollo Extension System, forerunner of Apollo Applications Program
AFETR Air Force Eastern Test Range
AFRM  airframe
AFSC Air Force Systems Command
ALEP Apollo lunar exploration program
ALMAZ 2nd generation Soviet manned orbital space station - military Salyut
ALS Advanced Launch System
ALSCC Apollo Lunar Surface Closeup Camera
ALSD Apollo Lunar Surface Drill - drill used to bore holes into the lunar surface
ALSEP Apollo 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
AMU Astronaut Manuevering Unit (preceeded MMU)
AOA Abort Once Around (Shuttle abort plan); also Angle Of Attack
AOCS Attitude and Orbit Control System
AOH Apollo operations handbook
AP Associated Press
APM Attached Pressurized Module (a.k.a. Columbus)
Apollo U.S. Manned lunar program
APU Auxiliary Power Unit
ASP Apollo Simple Penetrator - A pointed rod pushed into the lunar surface to determine it's penetration properties
ARC Ames Research Center
Ariane European commercial launch vehicle (rocket)
ARTEMIS Advanced Relay TEchnology MISsion
AS Apollo-Saturn
ASAT Antisatellite weapon
Ascent stage Upper part of LM used as cabin and to propel crew back into lunar orbit after landing operations were concluded
ASE Active Seismic Experiment - ALSEP experiment
ASI Agenzia Spaziale Italiana (Italian Space Agency)
ASPO Apollo Spacecraft Program Office, MSC
ASRM Advanced Solid Rocket Motor
ASSB Apollo Site Selection Board
ASTP Apollo-Soyuz Test Project - joint US/USSR docking mission of an Apollo CSM and Soviet Soyuz
astronaut U.S./European space traveler
ASTT Apollo Special Task Team
ATDA Augmented Target Docking Adapter
ATM Apollo Telescope Mount (Skylab)
ATO Abort To Orbit (Shuttle abort plan)
BAC  Bell Aerospace Company or, before January 1970, Bell Aerosystems Company 
Baikonour Soviet/Russian space launch center
BeV billion electron volts
BIG Biological 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 stem Drill 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
BP Boilerplate
BPC Boost Protective Cover - launch cover used on Apollo CMs
BSLSS Buddy Secondary Life Support System
BSS Boeing Satellite Systems
Btu British thermal units
Bubble Helmet Pressure 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
CARIDS customer acceptance review item dispositions
CARR Customer Acceptance Readiness Review
CASE Coordinated Aerospace Supplier Evaluation
cc cubic centimeter(s)
CCAS/CCAFS Cape Canaveral Air Station/Cape Canaveral Air Force Station
CCB Configuration Control Board
CCD Charge-Coupled Device
CCGE Cold Cathode Gage Experiment - ALSEP experiment, similar to the CCIG (below)
CCIG Cold Cathode Ion Gage - ALSEP experiment, similar to the CCGE (above)
CDR Abbreviation for Commander, the man on an Apollo mission who had overall command of the mission, and who piloted the LM
Central Station ALSEP component used to route commands and electrical power to the individual experiments and send experiment data to earth
CG Center of Gravity
CGRO (Arthur Holley) Compton Gamma Ray Observatory (was GRO)
Chromel R Metallic 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.
Circumlunar Around 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
CIRRIS Cryogenic InfraRed Radiance Instrument for Shuttle
CM Command 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
CMP Command Module Pilot - crewman who piloted the CSM and remained in the CM in lunar orbit while the CDR and LMP descended to the moon
CNES Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales - French Space Agency, most famous for the Ariane rocket
COBE COsmic 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
cosmonaut Soviet/Russian/Eastern Bloc space traveler
COSMOS Generic name given to any Soviet/Russian spacecraft before it's official function is made public
COSTAR Corrective Optics Space Telescope Axial Replacement
CPLEE Charged Particle Lunar Environment Experiment - ALSEP experiment
cps cycles per second (see Hz)
CRAF Comet Rendezvous / Asteroid Flyby (unmanned probe)
CRD Cosmic Ray Detector - ALSEP experiment.  Also see LSCRD
CRO Call sign letters for Carnarvon, Western Australia tracking station
CRRES Combined Release / Radiation Effects Satellite
CSA Canadian Space Agency - builder of the Shuttle RMS and SSRMS
CSC Contingency Sample Container
CSM Command and Service Module - Combination of the Command Module and the Service Module
CSRC Contingency Sample Return Container
cu m cubic meter, cubic meters
CWG Constant Wear Garment
Cyrillic Russian alphabet system
DAC Data Acquisition Camera
DCR Design Certification Review
degrees C degrees Celsius (centigrade)
degrees F degrees Fahrenheit
Descartes-Cayley Apollo 16 landing site
Descent stage Bottom half of lunar module
DFI development flight instrumentation
DLR German space agency
DM Docking Module
DOD Department of Defense
DPS descent propulsion system, pronounced DIPS
DSBD Documented Sample Bag Dispenser
DSN Deep Space Network
EAFB Edwards Air Force Base
EASEP Early Apollo Scientific Experiments Package – small, simplified ALSEP package deployed on Apollo 11 consisted of PSEP, LR3, and SWC
ECP engineering change proposal
ECS environmental control system
EDCP engineering design change proposal
EDD Engineering and Development Directorate
EDS emergency detection system
EDO Extended Duration Orbiter (Shuttle)
EELV Evolved Expandable Launch Vehicle (USAF program, Delta 4, Boeing)
ELS earth landing system
ELV Expendable Launch Vehicle - any rocket that is not reusable
EMS  entry monitor system
EMU Extravehicular Mobility Unit – Space suit used both in and outside of the spacecraft
Energiya Russian design bureau (NPO), also Heavy Lift Russian booster
EO engineering order
eV  electron volts(s)
ERBS Earth Radiation Budget Satellite
ERTS Earth Resources Technology Satellite
ESA European Space Agency
ESOC European Space Operations Center
ESRO European Spatial Research Organization
ET (Shuttle) External Tank, also Extraterrestrial
EVA Extravehicular Activity – Anything done by a crewman outside of a spacecraft, including moon walks and space walks in open space
Explorer U.S. series of unmanned probes and satellites
FAI Fédération Aéronautique International (International Aeronautical Federation)
FCOD Flight Crew Operations Directorate
FCS Fecal Containment System
FCSM flight combustion stability monitor
FGS Fine Guidance Sensors (on HST)
FHST Fixed Head Star Trackers (on HST)
FOC Faint Object Camera (on HST)
FOD Flight Operations Directorate
FOS Faint Object Spectrograph (on HST)
fps feet per second
Fra Mauro Landing site for Apollo 13 (which never landed) and Apollo 14
FRR Flight Readiness Review
ft  foot, feet
FUVC Far Ultraviolet Camera - ALSEP experiment
G specific gravity
gram, gravity, specific gravity
G- H- and J-Series Mission(s) Apollo landing missions denoting the compexity of the missions. See Apollo Stats
GAEC Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation
GAO Government Accounting Office
GAS Get-Away Special - small, cheap payload containers flown on board the U.S. Shuttle
GATV Gemini Agena Target Vehicle
GCTA Ground Controlled Television Assembly
GDS Call sign letters for Goldstone, California tracking station
GE General Electric Company
Gemini Manned space program preceding Apollo, used to verify space activities such as EVA, rendezvous, docking, etc.
GEO Geosynchronous Earth Orbit
GET  ground elapsed time
GFE government-furnished equipment
GHRS Goddard High Resolution Spectrograph (on HST)
GLEP  Group for Lunar Exploration Planning
GMT  Greenwich mean time
GOX Gaseous OXygen
GPC General Purpose Computer (Shuttle)
GPS Global Positioning System
GRO Gamma Ray Observatory (now CGRO)
GSE ground support equipment
GSFC Goddard Space Flight Center
GT Gemini Titan
GTO Geostationary Transfer Orbit
GWM Call sign letters for Guam tracking station
Hadley-Appenines Landing site for Apollo 15
Hasselblad German 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
HAW Call sign letters for Hawaii tracking station
HCT Hand Tool Carrier
HEAO  High Energy Astronomy Observatory (satellite)
HFE Heat  Flow Experiment, ALSEP experiment
HF  high frequency
HGA High Gain Antenna
HOTOL HOrizontal TakeOff and Landing (a proposed SSTO craft)
HSK Call sign letters for Honeysuckle Creek tracking station
HST Hubble Space Telescope
type of rocket fuel (propellant) which explodes when mixed together, thereby not requiring an ignition source
Hz hertz (unit of frequency: 1 cycle per second)
IBM International Business Machines Corporation
ICBC Interagency Committee on Back Contamination
ICBM Intercontinental Ballistic Missile
IMU inertial measurement unit
in inch, inches
IR InfraRed
IRAS InfraRed Astronomical Satellite
ISS International Space Station
ITMG Integrated Thermal Micrometeroroid Garment – outside layer of EMU
ITT  International Telephone and Telegraph Corporation
IU Instrument Unit (Saturn rocket)
IUS Inertial Upper Stage
JEM Japanese Experiment Module (for SSF)
JPL  Jet Propulsion Laboratory
JSC Johnson Space Center (Manned Spacecraft Center before February 1973)
K Kelvin scale, kelvin(s)
kg  kilogram, kilograms
km kilometer(s)
km/hrs  kilometers per hour
Korou in French Guiana, French space center - site of all Ariane launches
Krechet Soviet lunar surface EMU
KSC Kennedy Space Center
L Lagrange (as in Lagrange points L1 through L5)
LACE Lunar Atmospheric Composition Experiment – unique ALSEP experiment flown only on Apollo 17
LaRC Langley Research Center
lb(s) pound(s)
LC  Launch Complex
LCG Liquid Cooling Garment
LCRU Lunar Communications Relay Unit
LDEF Long Duration Exposure Facility (Shuttle)
LEAM Lunar Ejecta and Meteorites – unique ALSEP experiment flown only on Apollo 17
LEC Lunar Equipment Conveyor – cable used to transport equipment to and from the LM cabin to the lunar surface
LEM lunar excursion module
LEO Low Earth Orbit
LeRC Lewis Research Center
LES/LET LES – Launch escape system/Launch escape tower
LEV  LEV – Launch escape vehicle
LEVA Lunar Extravehicular Visor Assembly
LGA Low Gain Antenna
LGI  lunar geology investigation
LH Liquid Hydrogen (also LH2 or LHX)
LiOH Lithium Hydroxide – chemical used to scrub CO2 from spacecraft or EMU atmosphere
LION Lunar International Observer Network
LK Lunniy Korabl – Soviet lunar module
LLRF  Lunar Landing Research Facility
LLTV lunar landing training vehicle
LM Lunar Module
LM Quad or Bay 4 triangular shaped sections of LM descent stage, used to carry lunar surface equipment
LMP  lunar module pilot
LMS lunar module simulator
LMSS  lunar mapping and survey system
LN2 Liquid N2 (Nitrogen)
LOC Launch Operations Center
LOI lunar orbit insertion
LOK Lunniy Orbital’niy Korabl – Soviet version of the Apollo CSM, basically a souped up Soyuz spacecraft
LOLA  lunar orbit and landing approach
LOX liquid oxygen
LRL  Lunar Receiving Laboratory
LRRR or LR3 or LR Cubed Laser Ranging Retroreflector – ALSEP/EASEP experiment
LRV lunar roving vehicle
LSCRD Lunar Surface Cosmic Ray Detector – ALSEP experiment.  Also see CRD
LSG Lunar Surface Gravimeter – unique ALSEP experiment flown only on Apollo 17
LSI Lunar Science Institute
LSM Lunar Surface Magnetometer – ALSEP experiment.  Also see Portable Magnetometer
LTA  LEM test article
LSP Lunar Seismic Profiling - Unique ALSEP experiment flown only on Apollo 17
LTV  Ling-Temco-Vought
Lunar of or about the moon
Lunar Orbiter U.S. series of unmanned probes, mapped the moon from lunar orbit
m m - meter, meter(s)
M&SS Mapping and survey system
MA Mercury Atlas
MAD Call sign letters for Madrid tracking station, also cold war term for "Mutually Assured Destruction"
Magnetometer device used to read the strength of a magnetic field
Mariner U.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)
MCP mission control programmer
MCR master change record
MDA Multiple Docking Adapter (Skylab)
MDF  mild detonating fuse
MDOP maximum design operating pressure
MECO Main Engine CutOff
Mercury First U.S. manned space program
MESA Modularized Equipment Stowage Assembly - large equipment pallet located in Quad IV of the LM descent stage
MET mobile equipment transporter
MeV million electron volts
MGS Mars Global Surveyor
MHz megahertz (million cycles per second)
mi mile, miles
min minute(s)
Mir Soviet/Russian 3rd generation space station
MIT Massachusetts Institute of Technology
mm  millimeter
MMH  monomethylhydrazine
MOL  Manned Orbiting Laboratory
MPA Mortar Package Assembly - ALSEP experiment
MPL Mars Polar Lander
MQF Mobile Quarantine Facility - silver trailer used on board Apollo recovery ships to isolate returning crews
MR Mercury Redstone
MRB  Material Review Board
MSC Manned Spacecraft Center (became Johnson Space Center February 1973)
MSF  Manned Space Flight
MSFC  Marshall Space Flight Center
MSFN Manned Space Flight Network
MSOB Manned Spacecraft Operations Building
Mw megawatt(s)
N-1 Nositel Soviet manned lunar launch vehicle, G Class
N2O4 Nitrogen Tetroxide - hypergolic propellant
NAA North 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
NASA National Aeronautics and Space Administration
NASDA NAtional Space Development Agency (Japan)
NASM  National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution
NASP National AeroSpace Plane - SSTO concept.  cancelled
NEAR Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous (now named NEAR Shoemaker)
NERVA Nuclear Engine for Rocket Vehicle Application
Neutron Probe Unique ALSEP experiment flown only on  Apollo 17
NGC New General Catalog
NGST Next Generation Space Telescope
NIR Near InfraRed
nm  nautical mile(s)
NORAD NORth American aerospace Defense
NR North American Rockwell Corporation (North American Aviation, Inc., before Sept.
NRO National Reconnaissance Office
NSA National Security Agency
NSF National Science Foundation
NSSDC National Space Science Data Center
OAO Orbiting Astronomical Observatory (satellite)
OART  Office of Advanced Research and Technology, NASA Headquarters
OAS  optical alignment sights
Ocean of Storms Oceanus Procellarum -  Landing site for Apollo 12
OCP  Operational Checkout Procedure
Omega Chronograph Apollo "moon watch"
OMS Orbital Maneuvering System (Shuttle)
OMSF Office of Manned Space Flight, NASA HQ
OPF Orbiter Processing Facility
OPS oxygen purge system
ORDEAL orbital rate drive electronics for Apollo and LM
ORI Operational readiness inspection
Orlan Russian/Soviet EMU adapted from Krechet suit, used on Salyut, Mir and ISS
OSC Orbital Sciences Corporation
OSO  Orbiting Solar Observatory (satellite)
OSSA Office of Space Science and Applications, NASA Headquarters
OTA Optical Telescope Assembly (on HST)
OTDA Office of Tracking and Data Acquisition, NASA Headquarters
OV Orbital Vehicle (Shuttle)
PAD  project approval document
PAM Payload Assist Module
PAM-D Payload Assist Module, Delta-class
PDR Preliminary Design Review
PGA  Pressure garment assembly
PHS Public Health Service
PI principal investigator
PIB Pyrotechnic Installation Building
Pioneer U.S. series of unmanned probes, explored Venus, Jupiter and Saturn
PLSS  Portable Life Support System, pronounced PLISS
PLSS Tool Carrier Harness Harness used to attach various tools and a sample bag to the PLSS
PM Pressurized Module
PMA Pressurized Mating Adapter (ISS)
PMC Permanently Manned Capability
pogo launch vehicle induced oscillations (not an acronym; derived from "pogo stick" analogy
Polyus Russian orbital space weapon platform, flew on 1st Energiya flight.  Falied to reach orbit
Portable Magnetometer Portable version of magnetometer, carried on the Apollo 14 MET and the Apollo 16 LRV.  Also see LSM
Proton Russian/Soviet launch vehicle used to loft the Zond spacecraft, Salyut space stations, Mir space station components, and large satellites
PSAC President’s Scientific Advisory Committee
PSE Passive Seismic Experiment – ALSEP experiment designed to measure "moon quakes"
PSEP Passive Seismic Experiment Package – self-contained EASEP version of the PSE
psi pounds per square inch
psia  pounds per square inch absolute
PTV  parachute test vehicle
PV Photovoltaic
PVO Pioneer Venus Orbiter
Ranger U.S. series of unmanned probes, explored the moon on flyby missions
RASPO Resident Apollo Spacecraft Program Office
RCA Radio Corporation of America
RCS  reaction control system
RCU Remote Control Unit - chest mounted system used to control EMU and PLSS while on lunar EVA
Red Apple Handle of EMU pressure relief valve
RF  radio frequency
RLV Reusable Launch Vehicle (USAF)
RMS Remote Manipulator System - robotic "Canadarm" used on the Shuttle, precursor to SSRMS
Rockwell International Corporation Rockwell International Corporation)
RTCC Real Time Computer Complex
RTG  radioisotope thermoelectric generator
RTLS Return To Launch Site (Shuttle abort plan)
RTV room temperature vulcanizing
S/C  spacecraft
Salyut First generation Soviet manned space station program
SAMSO Space and Missiles Organization, Air Force
SAR Synthetic Aperture Radar
Saturn Class of Apollo manned launch vehicles
Saturn 1B smaller of 2 Apollo manned launch vehicles, used to launch spacecraft to earth orbit
Saturn V larger of 2 Apollo manned launch vehicles, used to launch spacecraft to the moon and to launch the Skylab OWS into earth orbit
S-Band radio frequency from 1.55 ghz through to 3.9 ghz
SBS Satellite Business Systems
SCA Shuttle Carrier Aircraft
SCB Sample Collection Bag - Teflon bags used to return lunar samples to earth
Sea of Tranquility Mare Tranquilitatis - Landing site for Apollo 11
SEB Source Evaluation Board
sec second(s)
SEP or sep Surface Electrical Properties - ALSEP experiment on Apollo 17.  Also, abbreviation for separation as in "sep burn"
SEQ  scientific equipment
SEQ Bay LM descent stage Quad II, carried ALSEP experiments pallets
SESC Special Environmental Sample Container
SESL Space Environmental Simulation Laboratory
SEVA Stand-up extravehicular activity
S-IB Saturn IB launch vehicle first stage
S-IC  Saturn V launch vehicle first stage
SID  Space and Information Systems Division (NAA)
SIDE Suprathermal Ion Detector - ALSEP experiment
S-II  Saturn second stage
SIM  scientific instrument module
SIM Bay Scientific 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
Skylab First U.S. space station
SLA  spacecraft-lunar module adapter
SLSS  supplementary life support system
SM Service module
Soyuz Soviet/Russian manned space vehicle used in earth orbital missions. This S/C has been in use since 1967
Space Shuttle Spacecraft used to transport manned crews to and from earth orbit
SPF single point failure
SPK/YMK Soviet version of U.S. Manned Manuevering Unit
SPS service propulsion system
sq cm square centimeter(s)
sq m square meter, square meters
SRC Sample Return Container
SSC space suit communications
STAG  Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee, university-NASA
STG Space Task Group, NASA (forerunner of Manned Spacecraft Center); Space Task Group, President's (1969)
STL STL - Space Technology Laboratories, Inc.
STS Space Transportation System, aka the Space shuttle
Sublimator Cooling system used on manned spacecraft and space suits
SWC Solar Wind Collector - foil sheet used to trap solar particles, ALSEP experiment
SWIP Super Weight Improvement Program
SWS Solar Wind Spectrometer, ALSEP experiment
Taurus-Littrow Landing site for Apollo 17
TCP  test and checkout procedures
TCU Television Control Unit
TEI transearth injection (insertion into trajectory to earth)
TLI  translunar injection (insertion into trajectory to moon)
TLSA Torso Limb Suit Assembly
TM test model
Traverse Gravimeter Rover mounted ALSEP experiment used on Apollo 17
TV thermal vacuum-test article; also television
U.S. United States of America
U.S.S.R.  Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
UHT Universal Hand Tool
UTCA Urine Collection and Transfer Assembly
VHF  Very high frequency
W Watt(s)
White Room Room at end of launch tower umbilical used to ingress crews into spacecraft
WIF Water Immersion Facility
WSMR  White Sands Missile Range, Army
WSTF  White Sands Test Facility, MSC, NASA 
Zond Soviet manned lunar orbital program, also the name used for several unmanned probes

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