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"Stand By For Mars!"

Space Technopedia

Part of the "What Kids Learn" project. All terminology is culled from children's space science books.

Please visit our Bibliography.

. As
ASAT Anti-satellite weapon. Designed to destroy orbiting satellites
Altitude Control System Satellite equipment that controls the direction in which the satellite travels
astronaut a person who travels into space (European term)
astronomer individual - either scientist or amateur enthusiast - who studies the objects in outer space
astronomy the study of matter in outer space, such as the positions, dimensions, distribution, motion, composition, energy, and evolution of stars, comets, asteroids, etc.
atom bomb a bomb which explodes by splitting the nucleus of the atom
. Bs
big bang theory theory of the creation of the universe. The universe began about 15 billion years ago with a massive explosion, and continues to expand.
. Cs
capsule communicator (CAPCOM) the individual in Mission Control who communicates with the spacecraft
cargo bay section of the shuttle orbiter which opens into space.
Cepheid a type of variable star whose brightness varies from bright to faint at a regular interval
commander the astronaut in chargew of a space mission. Also the pilot of the shuttleduring launch and re-entry.
Communication System Satellite equipment, such as a receiver and atenna, which recieves instructions from the ground.
cosmonaut a person who travels into space - Russian term
COSPAS/SARSAT A Soviet and American satellite that relay distress calls from ships and aircraft.
. Es
deploy to place equipment, such as a satellite, in orbit.
dock to join one space vehicle with another.
. Es
ESA European Space Agency. 15 nations united to conduct space research and technology applications. Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom
EUTELSAT A European communications satellite system in orbit above Europe.
extravehicular activity (EVA) space walks by astronauts.
. Gs
flight engineer astronaut in charge of the mechanical performance of the spacecraft
. Gs
galaxy a large system of stars held together by mutual gravitation, and isolated from similar systems (galaxies) by vast regions of space
Geostationary or Geosynchronous orbit A satellite orbit such that it orbits at the same speed as the rotaing earth - so that it remains above the same point on the earth at all times.
globular cluster a globe-shaped cluster of stars. Each cluster can contain hundreds of thousands of stars.
gravity the force that attracts objects to each other.
. Hs
Hubble constant a number that describes the speed at which galaxies move through space, and how far away they are from observers on Earth.
Hubble's law the faster galaxies move awar from Earth, the farther away they are
Hydrologist Scientist who studies the earth's oceans
. Is
infrared A form of light, not visible to the human eye, that has a wavelength longer than red visible light.
IRAS Infrared Astronomical Satellite
. Ls
Landsat NASA satellite that studies the landmasses of the earth
Laser acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. A machine which produces a pure, highly concentrated beam of light.
light-year the distance light travels in one year. About 5.9 trillion miles (about 9.46 trillion kilometers)
. Ms
meteorologist Scientist who studies the atmosphere and weather of the earth
microgravity weightlessness in space
microwave An electromagnetic wave with a wavelength between that of infrared and short waves (one millimeter to one meter).
Milky Way the spiral galaxy that contains our Solar System
Mission Control ground-based unit of individuals who monitor and direct the space missions.
Mission Simulator model of the orbiter's cockpit which allows trainee astronauts to practice their sills
MSS Multispectral scanner. An instrument aboard Landsat.
. Ns
nebula one of four kinds of space formations:
1) clusters of stars
2) shell of gas surrounding a decaying star
3) cloud of space dust and gas
4) very distant galaxies
. Os
observatory the building which houses a telescope
orbit the path which one body moves around another, as satellites around a planet or a planet around a sun.
orbiter the space shuttle
. Ps
payload the cargo, including scientific equipment used for experiments, carried into space.
payload commander astronaut responsible for the success of experiments on a shuttle mission
payload specialist person who joins a space mission to conduct specific experiments
pilot astronaut who flies the shuttle after launch, and co-pilot to the commander at other times.
pixel picture element. A single point on a photograph.
polar orbit An orbit that crosses the north and south poles of the moon, used by certain satellites.
. Qs
Quasar Quasistelalr object. One of over a thousand known extragalactic objects, starlike in appearance, having spectra with large redshifts. They are thought to be the most distant and most luminous objects in the universe.
. Rs
radio astronomy the study of the universe using telescopes which collect invisible rays given off by stars and other space objects.
red-shift an object that gives off red light, a sign that an object is moving away from the person observing it. Light waves are more spread out, and thus appear redder, as an object becomes more distant.
re-entry the return to Earth's atmosphere
reflecting telescope telescope which collects rays of light and reflects them with mirrors to produce a magnified image.
remote manipulator system (RMS) robotic arm in the cargo bay of the shuttle
. Ss
satellite An object (natural or artificial) that orbits a larger body.
solid rocket booster one of two rockets filled with solid fuel to provide extra launching power for the shuttle.
space the area above the earth's atmosphere (50 miles).
spectroscopy method of measuring the chemical composition of objects, by passing the rays of light htey give off through special gases.
spectrum the pattern formed by light rays as they pass through gases during the process of spectroscopy.
Sputnik the first Russian satellite, and the first man-made satellite in orbit. Sputnik is the Russian word for satellite.
star atlas collection of maps, charts and photogrpahs showing the stars in the sky.
. Ts
theory of relativity two theories suggested by Albert Einstein. Special relativity in 1905, general relativity in 1915.
thrust forward or upward push created by gases escaping through engines.
. Us
ultraviolet light not visible to the naked eye, with wavelengths shorter than visible violet light.
. Xs
X-rays A high-energy form of light invisible to the naked eye. Has shorter wavelengths than ultra-violet light.
Can you name these astronauts?

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