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Mission Glossary

The following contains several terms which are unique to the Kuiper, as well as some basic to astronomy. They'll probably be heard as you and your students "eavesdrop" on flight operations during the live flights. If you construct a mock-up of the KAO interior (activity 2B) you may find your students have fun with the high-tech jargon.

ADAMS Airborne Data Acquisition and Management System

ARC Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California

arc-minutes and arc-seconds a measurement of sky size: a full circle has 360 degrees: each degree has 60 minutes: each minute has 60 seconds.

AZ Azimuth--the cross-elevation axis of the KAO telescope.

BLC Boundary Layer Control--porous spoiler along forward edge of telescope opening (the "hole" in the fuselage through which the telescope points).

"Blue Box" container used for temporary storage.

Cage/Uncage refers to stowing or releasing the telescope for gyrostabilization. Without the gyro control loop enabled, the uncaged telescope is said to be "floating".

chopping moving a KAO telescope mirror back and forth between the object being studied and the sky, allowing the astronomers to measure signals that are 10 to 100 thousands times fainter than the background.

Co-I (pron. "Co-eye") Co-Investigator collaborating with a Principal Investigator (P.I., pron. "Pea-Eye"). In some sense, as you and your students follow along and work with the Logbook pages, all of you will be "Co-I's"!

ECS Environmental Control System--concerns telescope cavity environment. Controls nitrogen purge, circulating fans, heaters, etc.

EL Elevation--the elevation axis of the KAO telescope.

ETA Estimated Time of Arrival at planned destination.

ETD Estimated Time of Departure.

ETE Estimated Time Enroute on a planned flight.

FL Flight Level--pressure altitude in level flight. Usually rounded off to nearest thousand.

GPS Global Positioning System--provides accurate time, position & altitude.

G . I . Guest Investigator--usually an Investigator collaborating with a P.I. in order to obtain observations with the instrument provided and operated by the P.I.

INS Inertial Navigation System.

IRAS Infrared Astronomical Satellite, launched in 1983, mapped the sky in IR wavelengths, making major discoveries, but at lesser resolution than the KAO telescope.

Kelvin temperature scale used by scientists, where 0 degrees Kelvin indicates the point where matter has zero energy, which is minus 273 degrees Centigrade.

light year the distance traveled by light in the course of a year. Light travels 186,000 miles per second, or 6 x 10^12 miles per year. A light year is a distance measurement.

LOS Line Of Sight axis of the telescope.

LST Local Sidereal Time--right ascension at local meridian. Listed in KNAV flight plan output.

Messier a listing of objects first made by Charles Messier, a French astronomer hunting comets, who needed to know which faint clouds (nebulae) were permanent, not transitory as comets would be.

MLOG program which provides waypoints appropriate to a KNAV flight plan file.

micron a millionth of a meter, a thousandth of a millimeter, used by IR astronomers to describe wavelengths.

Nasmyth telescope optical configuration providing a focal-plane field of view, centered on the elevation axis of an altazimuth mounting.

nodding (also called "beam-switching") part of the chopping technique which reduces telescope noise.

occultation when the light of a distant star is cut off by the passage of a planet or other object in front of it: occultations permit study of planetary rings and atmospheres by how the distant starlight changes.

OSM Oscillating Secondary Mirror--usually refers to the entire mechanism used to oscillate the secondary mirror to provide spatial chopping in the focal plane.

PCU Portable cooling unit, used to pre-cool the telescope before take off.

PFC Passive Flow Control--fairing along aft edge of telescope opening.

P.I. Principal Investigator. Usually a focal plane instrument owner-developer.

pixel picture element..

ROF Rotation of Field, also called rotation angle. Measures the sky orientation in the telescope and cameras focal-planes. For ROF = 90; North is to the right on the KAO TV cameras.

stratosphere second level of the atmosphere, above the troposphere, and below the ionosphere, from about 15 to 75 kilometers above Earth.

SWA Starboard Work Area--becomes the "Education Station" for the LFS flights

TDADS Telescope Data Acquisition and Display System--collects and displays data concerning status of telescope subsystems, including pneumatics, gyros, cameras and telescope cavity environment.

TIPS Telescope Inertial Pointing System--using measured telescope orientation, aircraft location and attitude data, calculates pointing error and rotation angle.

troposphere lowest level of the atmposphere, up to some 10-15 kilometers above Earth's surface.

TSC Telescope System Control chassis. Used by Telescope Operator to control telescope door, shield, gyros, etc.

UPS Uninterruptible Power Source--provides 110V AC power if normal sources are interrupted.

U.T. Universal Time, Greenwich Mean Time, or Zulu (Z)--aeronautical usage. U.T. = Pacific Standard Time + 8h U.T. = PDT + 7h (remember the KAO is based at Ames, in California, which uses Pacific time)

waypoint any of a series of positions (latitude, longitude) used to represent a flight plan for filing with the FAA regional control center (i.e. Oakland Center). A waypoint occurs at the end of each observing leg, and very long legs may contain several waypoints.

 
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