Glossary of Space Exploration Terminology

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F
Fairing
A structure whose main function is to streamline and smooth the surface of an aircraft or space vehicle.
Fault
A crack or break in the crust of a planet along which slippage or movement can take place.
Fault protection
Algorithms, which reside in a spacecraft's subsystems, that insure the ability of the spacecraft to both prevent a mishap and to reestablish contact with Earth if a mishap occurs and contact is interrupted.
Ferret
Satellite using electromagnetic surveillance techniques.
Fission
The release of energy through splitting atoms.
Fluorescence
The phenomenon of emitting light upon absorbing radiation of an invisible wavelength.
Flux
The amount of radiation crossing a surface per unit of time, often expressed in "integral form" as particles per unit area per unit time.
Flyby
Space flight past a heavenly body without orbiting.
Flyby spacecraft
A spacecraft which follows a continuous trajectory past a target object, never to be captured into an orbit. It must carry instruments that are capable of observing passing targets by compensating for the target's apparent motion.
FOBS
Fractional Orbit Bombardment System. A Soviet method of delivering a warhead from partial satellite orbit and thus approaching from any direction.
Force
A vector quantity that tends to produce an acceleration of a body in the direction of its application.
Forward scattering
Reflecting light approximately away from the source.
FOV
Field Of View.
Free-fall
The motion of any unpowered body moving in a gravitational field.
Free-return trajectory
Path of a spacecraft that provides for a return to Earth.
Frequency
The number of oscillations per second of an electromagnetic (or other) wave.
Fuel
A substance that when combined with an oxidizer burns to produce thrust in rockets.
Fuel cell
A cell in which chemical reaction is used directly to produce electricity.
Fusion
The release of nuclear energy through the uniting of atoms.
FY
Fiscal Year.

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Rocketry & Space Technology

Glossary courtesy of Robert Braeunig's
Rocketry & Space Technology website.