Historic Spacecraft Historic Spacecraft Logo

Space Acronyms


ACE   Advanced Composition Explorer
ACIP   Aerodynamic Coefficient Identification Package
ACRV   Assured Crew Return Vehicle
AOA   Angle Of Attack
AOA   Abort Once Around
AOS   Acquisition of Signal
APAS   Androgynous Peripheral Attachment System
APU   Auxiliary Power Unit
ARC   Ames Research Center
ASRM   Advanced Solid Rocket Motor
ASTP   Apollo-Soyuz Test Project
ATDRS   Advanced Tracking and Data Relay Satellite
ATLAS   Atmospheric Laboratory for Applications and Sciences
ATM   Apollo Telescope Mount (Skylab)
ATO   Abort To Orbit
ATV   Automated Transfer Vehicle
AU   Astronomical Unit
AXAF   Advanced X-ray Astrophysics Facility


BIS   British Interplanetary Society
BMDO   Ballistic Missile Defense Office


CAD   Computer Aided Design
CaLV   Cargo Launch Vehicle
CAM   Computer Aided Manufacturing
CATS   Cheap Access To Space
CAPCOM   Capsule Communicator
CBC   Common Booster Core
CBM   Common Berthing Mechanism
CCAFS   Cape Canaveral Air Force Station
CCTV   Closed Circuit Television
CDR   Commander
CDT   Central Daylight Time
CDV   Cargo Delivery Vehicle
CEV   Crew Exploration Vehicle
CG   Center of Gravity
CHAMP   Comet Halley Active Monitoring Program
CLV   Crew Launch Vehicle
CM    Command Module (Apollo spacecraft)
CMG   Control Movement Gyro
CONUS   Continental United States
CO2   Carbon Dioxide
CRAF   Comet Rendezvous / Asteroid Flyby
CRV   Crew Reuturn Vehicle
CSA    Canadian Space Agency
CSM    Command and Service Module (Apollo spacecraft)
CST   Central Standard Time


DC-X   Delta Clipper Experimental Program
DFI   Developmental Flight Instrumentation
DFRC   Dryden Flight Research Center
DFRF   Dryden Flight Research Facility (was ADFRF, now DFRC)
DMSP   Defense Meteorological Satellite Program
DOD   Department Of Defense
DOE   Department Of Energy
DOT   Department Of Transportation
DSCS   Defense Satellite Communications System
DSN   Deep Space Network
DSP   Defense Support Program


EAFB   Edwards Air Force Base
ECS   Environmental Control System
ECLSS   Environmental Control and Life Support System
EDO   Extended Duration Orbiter
EDL   Entry, Descent, and Landing
EDS   Earth Departure Stage
EELV   Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle
ELV   Expendable Launch Vehicle
EMU   Extravehicular Mobility Unit
EOI   Earth Orbit Insertion
EOR   Earth Orbit Rendezvous
EOS   Earth Observing System
ERBS   Earth Radiation Budget Satellite
ERV   Earth Rerturn Vehicle
ESA   European Space Agency
ESAS   Exploration Systems Architecture Study
EST   Eastern Standard Time
ET   External Tank (Space Shuttle)
EVA   ExtraVehicular Activity


FCS   Flight Control System
FTETTM   From The Earth To The Moon (HBO Mini-series)
FTL   Faster Than Light
FTP   File Transfer Protocol


GAS   Get Away Special
GEO   Geosynchronous Earth Orbit
GMT   Greenwich Mean Time
GPS   Global Positioning System
GRC   Glenn Research Center (NASA)
GRO   Gamma Ray Observatory
GSFC   Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA)
GTO   Geostationary Transfer Orbit


H2   Hydrogen
H2O2   Hydrogen Peroxide
He   Helium
HEO   High Earth Orbit
HGA   High Gain Antenna
HLV   Heavy Lift Vehicle
HOTOL   HOrizontal TakeOff and Landing (proposed SSTO design)
HPU   Hydraulic Power Unit
HST   Hubble Space Telescope
HTHL   Horizontal Takeoff Horizontal Landing
HTV   H-II Transfer Vehicle
HTVL   Horizontal Takeoff Vertical Landing


LMO   Low Mars Orbit
IMU   Inertial Measurement Unit
INU   Inertial Navigation Unit
ISAS   Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (Japan)
ISO   Infrared Space Observatory
ISO   International Standards Organization
Isp   Specific Impulse
ISRU   In-Situ Resource Utilization
ISS   International Space Station
ISY   International Space Year
IUS   Inertial Upper Stage


JEM   Japanese Experiment Module (International Space Station)
JPL   Jet Propulsion Laboratory
JSC   Johnson Space Center (NASA)
JWST   James Webb Space Telescope


KAO   Kuiper Airborne Observatory
KM   Kilometer
KSC   Kennedy Space Center (NASA)
kWh   kilowatt hour


LCC   Life Cycle Cost
LCH4   Liquid Methane
LDEF   Long Duration Exposure Facility
LEM   Lunar Excursion Module (Apollo spacecraft)
LEO   Low Earth Orbit
LES   Launch Escape System
LGA   Low Gain Antenna
LH2   Liquid Hydrogen
LiOH   Lithium Hydroxide
LLO   Low Lunar Orbit
LM   Lunar Module (Apollo spacecraft)
LN2   Liquid Nitrogen
LOI   Lunar Orbit Insertion
LOR   Lunar Orbit Rendezvous
LOS   Loss of Signal
LOX   Liquid OXygen
LPR   Libration Point Rendezvous
LRB   Liquid Rocket Booster
LRO   Lunar Reconnaissance Orbitor
LSAM   Lunar Surface Access Module
LSR   Lunar Surface Rendezvous
LTP   Lunar Transient Phenomenon
LUT   Launch umbilical Tower
LV   Launch Vehicle


MA   Mercury-Atlas
Max Q   Maximum Dynamic Pressure
MBPS   Mega Bits Per Second
MCC   Mission Control Center
MCD   Minimum Cost Design
MCO   Mars Climate Orbiter
MECO   Main Engine CutOff
MER   Mars Exploration Rover
MET   Mission Elapsed Time
MEV   Mars Excursion Vehicle
MGS   Mars Global Surveyor
MLP   Mobile Launch Platform
MLV   Medium Launch Vehicle
MMU    Manned Maneuvering Unit
MO   Mars Observer
MOI   Mars Orbit Insertion
MOL   Manned Orbiting Laboratory
MOR   Mars Orbit Rendezvous
MPL   Mars Polar Lander
MPLM   Multi-Purpose Logistics Module
MR   Mercury Redstone
MS   Mission Specialist
MSFC   Marshall Space Flight Center (NASA)
MSL   Materials Science Laboratory
mT   Metric Ton
MTV   Mars Transfer Vehicle


N2   Nitrogen
N2H4   Hydrazine
NACA   National Advisory Committee on Aeronautics
NASA   National Aeronautics and Space Administration
NASDA   NAtional Space Development Agency (Japan)
NASM   National Air and Space Museum
NASP   National AeroSpace Plane
NEAR   Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous (NEAR Shoemaker)
NERVA   Nuclear Engine for Rocket Vehicle Application
NGST   Next Generation Space Telescope
NOAA   National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
NORAD   NORth American aerospace Defense
NRO   National Reconnaissance Office
NSA   National Security Agency
NSF   National Science Foundation
NTO   Nitrogen Tetroxide
NTR   Nuclear Thermal Rocket


OAST   Office of Application and Space Technology
O2   Oxygen
OMB   Office of Management and Budget
OMS   Orbital Maneuvering System
OPF   Orbiter Processing Facility
ORU   Orbital Replacement Unit
OSP   Orbital Space Plane
OSS   Office of Space Science
OSTA   Office of Space and Terrestrial Applications
OTV   Orbital Transfer Vehicle
OV   Orbital Vehicle


PAM   Payload Assist Module
PAM-D   Payload Assist Module, Delta-class
PAO   Public Affairs Office
PDI   Powered Descent Initiation
PI   Principal Investigator
PLSS   Portable Life Support System
PLT   Pilot
PM   Pressurized Module
PMD   Propellant Management Device
PMA   Pressurized Mating Adaptor
PS   Payload Specialist (Space Shuttle)
PV   Photovoltaic


R&D   Research and Development
RADAR   RAdio Detection And Ranging
RAS   Royal Astronomical Society
RASC   Royal Astronomical Society of Canada
RCC   Reinforced Carbon-Carbon
RCS   Reaction Control System
RME   Radiation Monitoring Equipment
RMS   Remote Manipulator System
RP1   Kerosene
RSA   Russian Space Agency
RSRB   Reusable Solid Rocket Booster
RSS   Rotating Service Structure
RTG   Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator
RTLS   Return To Launch Site (Shuttle abort plan)


SAR   Search And Rescue
SAR   Synthetic Aperture Radar
SAS   Space Adaptation Syndrome
SBS   Satellite Business System
SCA   Shuttle Carrier Aircraft
SDI   Strategic Defense Initiative
SDIO   Strategic Defense Initiative Organization
SDHLV   Shuttle Derived Heavy Launch Vehicle
SEI   Space Exploration Initiative
SETI   Search for ExtraTerrestrial Intelligence
SIR   Shuttle Imaging Radar
SIVB   Saturn 5 Third Stage
SLC   Space Launch Complex
SM   Service Module
SMM   Solar Maximum Mission
SOHO   SOlar Heliospheric Observatory
SPARTAN   Shuttle Point Autonomous Research Tool
SPS   Solar Power Satellite
SPS   Service Propulsion System
SRB   Solid Rocket Booster
SRM   Solid Rocket Motor
SRTM   Shuttle Radar Topography Mission
SSI   Space Studies Institut
SSIP   Shuttle Student Involvement Program
SSME   Space Shuttle Main Engine
SSRMS   Space Station Remote Manipulator System
SST   SuperSonic Transport
SSTO   Single Stage To Orbit
STA   Static Test Article
STS   Space Transportation System


TAL   Transatlantic Abort Landing (Shuttle abort plan)
TANSTAAFL   There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch (Heinlein)
TDRS   Tracking and Data Relay Satellite
TEI   Trans Earth Injection
THEMIS   THermal EMission Imaging System (Mars 2001 Odyssey experiment)
TIROS   Television InfraRed Observation Satellite
TLI   Trans Lunar Injection
TMI   Trans Mars Injection
TPS   Thermal Protection System
TSTO   Two Stage To Orbit
TV   Television


UARS   Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite
UDMH   Unsymmetrical DiMethyl Hydrazine
UFO   Unidentified Flying Object
UHF   Ultra High Frequency
USAF   United States Air Force
UV   UltraViolet


VAB   Vehicle Assembly Building (formerly Vertical Assembly Building)
VAFB   Vandenberg Air Force Base
VEEGA    Venus-Earth-Earth Gravity Assist (Galileo flight path)
VHF   Very High Frequency
VLA   Very Large Array
VSE   Vision for Space Exploration
VTHL   Vertical Takeoff Horizontal Landing
VTVL   Vertical Takeoff Vertical Landing


WFPC   Wide Field Planetary Camera (HST)
WSF   Wake Shield Facility
WSMR   White Sands Missile Range
WTR   Western Test Range
Creative Commons License Images by Richard Kruse are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.

Historic Spacecraft Store