Acronyms/Glossary


ARCAmes Research Center (Mountain View, CA)
AstrobiologyThe study of the living universe. This field provides a scientific foundation for a multidisciplinary study of (1) the origin and distribution of life in the universe, (2) an understanding of the role of gravity in living systems, and (3) the study of the Earth's atmospheres and ecosystems.
Astro MaterialsThe natural, nonbiological materials that constitute the solid bodies of the solar system other than the Earth, including planets, satellites, asteroids, comets, and dust. These materials may be studied in situ in their place of origin, collected by space missions for return to Earth, or brought to Earth by natural phenomena (meteorites, cosmic dust).
Commercial Technology OfficeEach Commercial Technology Office is responsible for facilitating the commercialization of its Field Center's technology with industry.
DFRCDryden Flight Research Center (Edwards, CA)
DoDDepartment of Defense
El NiñoA climate disturbance occurring every 2 to 5 years in the Pacific Ocean; a region of warm water forms in the western Pacific and moves toward South America, altering weather and rainfall patterns, wind directions, and even the jet stream. El Nio events contribute to floods and droughts in the Americas, Africa, and Australia.
FAAFederal Aviation Administration
GEOGeosynchronous Earth Orbit
Global ChangeThe full range of natural and human-induced changes in the Earth's environment, including alterations in climate, land productivity, oceans or other water resources, atmospheric chemistry, and ecological systems. These changes may alter the capacity of the Earth to sustain life.
GPRAGovernment Performance and Results Act
GSFCGoddard Space Flight Center (Greenbelt, MD)
HEDSHuman Exploration and Development of Space
Highway in the SkyThe combination of satellite-based guidance and navigation systems and sensor/information technologies that will enable the debut of "highways" in the sky. Essentially, these "skyways" would appear in the cockpit display of an aircraft as actual paths in the sky, and individual aircraft pilots would be able to choose their own flight paths within the boundaries of these paths, much as today's automobile driver does on the highway. Such a capability could be a major factor in revitalizing the general aviation aircraft market, approximating a "personal transportation" concept for low-cost flight.
HSCTHigh Speed Civil Transport
Human-RatedThe designing of piloted vehicle systems in such a manner as to safely accommodate humans and to make use of human-inherent capabilities. This ensures the greatest possible probability of a successful mission.
ISRUIn Situ Resource Utilization
JPLJet Propulsion Laboratory (Pasadena, CA)
JSCJohnson Space Center (Houston, TX)
KSCKennedy Space Center (Kennedy Space Center, FL)
LaRCLangley Research Center (Hampton, VA)
LEOLow-Earth Orbit
LeRCLewis Research Center (Cleveland, OH)
Microgravity ScienceThe identification and description of the effects of reduced gravitational forces on physical and chemical phenomena. Microgravity research probes a new parameter in space where gravitational acceleration is no longer equal to Earth's gravity and, instead, can approach values that are orders of magnitude lower.
MirRussian space station
MSFCMarshall Space Flight Center (Huntsville, AL)
MTPEMission to Planet Earth
NASA HQNational Aeronautics and Space Administration Headquarters (Washington, DC)
R&DResearch and Development
RLVReusable Launch Vehicle
Smart AircraftCharacterized by technologies for "smart structures" and "smart surfaces." Health-monitoring systems in power plants and structures will enable the prediction of pending failures. Other systems will enable the real-time identification and characterization of problems with control systems and other flight parameters, as well as real-time system reconfiguration to enable continued operability.
Space ActNational Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958
SSCStennis Space Center (Stennis Space Center, MS)
STESpace Technology Enterprise

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