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Terminology

Posted by: spacecowboy - Tue Jul 05, 2005 1:24 pm
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Post Terminology   Posted on: Tue Jul 05, 2005 1:24 pm
I don't know if this issue has been raised before, but I think we need a serious discussion on the subject. For instance: is a "suborbital launch vehicle" a "vehicle", a "craft", a "spaceship", or what? It's not a plane (it doesn't fly), it's not really a satellite (that usually means something like Sputnik without people inside the spam can), so what do we call the thing?

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Post    Posted on: Wed Jul 06, 2005 3:25 am
I was thinking along similar lines today. For instance the term zero-g. Should be freefall because zero-g is misleading.
While I don't know what distinction the AE's make between "vehicle" and "craft" it would seem to me that an SLV would be both of these, but I draw the line at calling it a spaceship. For me, a ship of space has got to be capable of carrying people to other celestial bodies before it can be called such.


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Post    Posted on: Wed Jul 06, 2005 2:03 pm
For vehicles like SS1, the term "spaceplane" works because it really is an airplane and it can go to space. It is a hybrid term, like seaplane, like cowboy. I guess spacecowboy is a "tri-brid" term? :lol:


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Post    Posted on: Wed Jul 06, 2005 3:45 pm
campbelp2002 wrote:
I guess spacecowboy is a "tri-brid" term? :lol:


Nah. I'm a thoroughbred. 8)

Marshall: I completely agree with you when it comes to calling something a spaceship.

But the question remains: what do you call a suborbital vehicle (besides that, of course)? It's certainly not a spaceship (at least two of us have agreed on that), it's not necessarily a spaceplane, it's definitely not an airplane, etc... Should we just settle on something as unspecific as "rocketship"? (shudders at old '50's news anchors talking about rocketships)

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Post    Posted on: Wed Jul 06, 2005 4:51 pm
Well, you know, a trampoline is a sub-orbital launch system!

Presumably anything making the FAI boundary of "space" is (at least until JP gets ATO working) bound to be a rocket (actually I suppose that ATO is a very low-performance rocket, too, if it uses an ion engine)

Perhaps not a space "ship" but maybe a space craft (as in "personal watercraft, i.e. a dinky boat that goes nowhere)

So, with a non-human payload, it's (according to tradition) a sounding rocket and with a person aboard it is a suborbital spacecraft?

...that's the best I can come up with at the moment.


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Post    Posted on: Wed Jul 06, 2005 5:55 pm
That is the best name for it after all. Some better future offerings might be termed near-orbital spacecraft, perhaps.


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Post    Posted on: Thu Jul 07, 2005 8:29 am
Perhaps some german terms might be of help: rocket is "Rakete" in German, spaceship "Raumschiff", space vehicle seems to be "Raumfahrzeug" - more than these three I don't remind this moment. Among these three I prefer "Raumfahrzeug" = space vehicle as the top term over "Rakete" = rocket and "Raumflugzeug" = spaceplane - regardless of manned or unmanned. A german term for spacecraft doesn't exist - a vehicle is a "Fahrzeug" in German and so a craft might be a "Kraftfahrzeug" in German perhaps. There is at least one problem with these german terminology - the Apollos going to the moon didn't be "Rakete" in German nor "Raumfahrzeug" but "Raumschiff" tendentially because the Apollos didn't fit into "Rakete" nor into "Raumflugzeug".

It seems a little bit to me that nearly all the common terms in both languages are related to the environments on Earth - "Fahrzeug" is related to roads to drive along, a vehicle is derived from the latin word for the english verb "to pull" and a craft is pushed, pulled or simply driven by an active force called "Kraft" in German - has craft something to do with "Kraft"? The german "Kraft" isn't something like the Newton's gravitational force but something more concrete which can be applied directly. But this isn't possible in space - nobody in space can stand on a ground and push or pull something to the moon.

So what about finding new terms?



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Post    Posted on: Thu Jul 07, 2005 12:17 pm
Hrmph. This is a new twist: alright, so we've got spacecraft as a universal definition of things that can handle hard vacuum, but don't quite have the propellant oomph to stay up there. On the other hand, a spaceship is anything that can at least make orbit (if it can get that far, all you really gotta do is gas 'er up and take off for whevever).

Of course, this only applies to English.

Ekke just brought up the second point: so now what do we tell all the people who don't speak English to call the things?

And, completely off-topic, I just thought it's interesting that the German word for ship seems to be related to the English word skiff, which (if memory serves me right) is a light, deepwater, rowboat-with-a-sail.

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Post    Posted on: Thu Jul 07, 2005 12:39 pm
Hello, spacecowboy,

I don't have no problems with english terminology but have problems with craft, aircraft, spacecraft, watercraft because there is no real german pendant to these terms and so it is a bit unclear what's meant by them.

I was looking for a system in the terms and thought - when I had finished the post - I had found a break in the system of terms. I thought that airplane is related to the medium air, ship to the medium water and vehicle - without space, air, water - to the medium ground or road. These are media used to make the vehicles move - the term space seemed to be used to indicate the goal instead of the medium.

In between I consider that to be an error - not the medium seems to be meant but the environment. Then the system of the terms is not broken but extended.

So native German-speakers have to find a correct german terminology themselves - in German a vehicle on roads is a "Fahrzeug", an airplane is a "Flugzeug", and a vehicle in the water is a "Schiff". There is only one real system talking of "Kraftfahrzeug", "Luftfahrzeug", "Wasserfahrzeug" and "Raumfahrzeug" - meaning that all what moves by propulsion is a "Fahrzeug".

Obviously German is missing a term according to craft.

Waht you call a skiff would be a "Boot" in German perhaps plus row-boats for racing having a crew of only one person are called "Skiff" in German.

I have trouble sometimes to use the term spaceship = "Raumschiff" because space is not an ocean full of water... but that's of nearly no practical meaning.

So I am completely content with the english terminology proposed.



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Post    Posted on: Thu Jul 07, 2005 3:06 pm
What, exactly, does -zeug mean?

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Post    Posted on: Thu Jul 07, 2005 4:13 pm
Ekke mentions Apollo, and I must point out that the builders referred to it as the Apollo spacecraft and not (ever, as I recall) a ship.

I'll bet that every stick-and-rudder guy whom has ever been bolted inside one of these contraptions (including Melvill and Binnie) has thought of "my ship" in the course of the adventure.


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Post    Posted on: Thu Jul 07, 2005 4:41 pm
Hello, spacecowboy,

it is very difficult to translate "-zeug" - I don't know a translation currently so I have to try to explain it indirectly.

"-zeug" can is used stand-alone too as "Zeug" and has at least two meaning then.

One of these meanings is war-related and means munition, canons and the like. Another meaning is dress, throusers, shirts and so on.

To turn back to "-zeug" it is also used as part of terms that don't have to do with vehicles. For example there is something called "Halbzeug" - this is a partially completed product of metallurgic industries.

It may be that it simply is derived from "zeugen" which means "to create" or to "produce" - in the military it may be "to equip", "to provide" or something like that.

There are very familiar terms with "-zeug" - "Feuerzeug" for example which is used to set fire to a cigarette.

The longer I think about the more I will find I suppose. It seems to mean that "-zeug" has a general meaning apllied as a substitute when a better term is missed, not available, not remembered etc.

Regarding "Fahrzeug", "Flugzeug" and the like it is a substitute merely born by usual use.

Parhaps I will find better explanations later - perahps a reasonable translation too.



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Post    Posted on: Fri Jul 08, 2005 11:59 am
Hello, spacecowboy,

regarding "Zeug" "fixings", "stuff", "caboodle" are around what "Zeug" means in German - it is around but no exact translation which is impossible perhaps or probably. For "-zeug" I couldn't find something like a translation but isn't a car stuff to drive along a road, an airplane stuff to fly through the air and a space vehicle stuff to move in space?

...



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Post    Posted on: Mon Jul 11, 2005 6:15 pm
With my minimalist leanings, I like the idea of a spacecaboodle ("caboodle", a bag to carry supplies and equipment in). The personal equipment (spacesuit, ect.) would in contemporaneous terminology be the "kit”. "The astronaut set forth with his kit and spacecaboodle." Some years ago I realized that a rocket is, in minimal form, a burner connected to a "bag of fuel". Not long after that, we began flying liquid fuel rockets with quite literally flexable bags of fuel (thin walled, high strength composite flexable "tanks"). The related development work made it clear that a space station, or interplanetray habitat, could be incredably low mass.


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Post    Posted on: Wed Jul 13, 2005 1:05 pm
Caboodle. Now *that's* a word I haven't heard in a while.

Ekke: seems like -zeug means something along the lines of -maker: fire-maker, flight-maker, etc., regardless of what the standalone word means.

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