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A ablation. The wearing away or burning off of the outer layers of an object reentering the atmosphere. The process cools and protects the outer surfaces of a spacecraft or missile nosecone. The suborbital Jupiter C nosecones were ablative (susceptible to ablation), as was the Apollo Command Module. Able (launch vehicle upper stage). An upper stage used in combination with Thor or Atlas first stages. It was one of several upper stages derived in 1958 from Vanguard launch vehicle components by the Department of Defense’s Advanced Research Projects Agency, Douglas Aircraft Company, and Space Technology Laboratories. The name signified “A”or “first”(from the military practice of having communication code words for each letter of the alphabet). It is sometimes referred to as Project Able. See Delta. (SP-4402, p. 5; Milton W. Rosen, Office of Defense Affairs, NASA, telephone interview, February 16, 1965.) Able and Baker. Names of the two monkeys the United States recovered after launch in a Jupiter nosecone during a suborbital flight on May 28, 1959. The flight was successful, testing the capability to launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida, and to recover spacecraft in the Atlantic Ocean, but Able later died. ETYMOLOGY. Named for the first two vocables in the phonetic alphabet, A and B. ABMA. Army Ballistic Missile Agency, part of the Army Ordnance Missile Command (AOMC). Prior to the creation of NASA, when it was home to Wernher von Braun and other members of the German rocket team, it was a pioneer in early spaceflight responsible for, among other things, the first American satellite, Explorer 1. abort. (1, v.) To cut short or break off an action, especially because of equipment failure; to effect a time-critical termination. (2, n.) An instance of a rocket, missile, or mission failing to function effectively and not achieving its objective. USAGE. Although the term was first applied to aviation during World War II for the premature termination of a mission, when applied to rocket launches it had a jarring effect on many Americans because they associated it with what was at the time an illegal medical procedure. ACE. Advanced Composition Explorer. Major mission of the Explorer program, launched August 25, 1997. It orbits the L1 libration point 3 about 1 million miles (1.6 million km) from Earth and is studying energetic particles originating in the Sun and interstellar space. acoustic velocity. The speed of propagation of sound waves. “Hopelessly old-fashioned people call it the speed of sound,”noted Jack Rice in an article on the language of the Gemini program (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, September 10, 1965). acquisition of signal (AOS). When an Earth tracking station makes an initial contact with an orbiting spacecraft (a process that ends with loss of signal). The same could occur in orbit around the Moon or Earth. active-repeater. A satellite that allows a signal transmitted to it to be strengthened and rebroadcast to a ground station. The principle was first tested in 1958 as part of Project SCORE. Adam. See Project Adam. Advanced Composition Explorer. See ACE. Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA). Unit within the Department of Defense created by President Eisenhower and Congress immediately following the launch of Sputnik to assure that the United States would never again be left behind in the area of new technology. It sired, among other things, the first communications relay satellite (Project SCORE) and the Internet (in the form of the DARPANET/ARPANET). The name was changed to DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) in 1972. Advent. See Project Advent. Advisory Committee on the Future of the U.S. Space Program. See Augustine Report. Aerobee/Astrobee (sounding rocket). A two-stage sounding rocket designed to carry a 150-pound (68-kg) payload to an altitude of 80 miles (130 km). Development of the Aerobee was begun in 1946 by the Aerojet Engineering Corporation (later Aerojet-General Corporation ) under contract to the U.S. Navy. The Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) of Johns Hopkins University was assigned technical direction of the project. In 1952, at the request of the Air Force and the Navy, Aerojet undertook design and development of the Aerobee-Hi, a high-performance version of the Aerobee designed expressly for research in the upper atmosphere. An improved Aerobee-Hi became the Aerobee 150. The uprated Aerobee 150 was called Astrobee. Aerojet used the prefix Aero to designate its liquid-propellant sounding rockets and Astro for its solid-fueled rockets. ETYMOLOGY. James A. Van Allen, the first director of the...


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