The 'standard NASA noun modifiers' are nouns used as
adjectives in phrases like 'science community' or 'planetary area.'
Definitions have been omitted for entries whose meaning ought to be
-- Ted Flinn
Actors in the Program
Ankle: 'Get your ankles bitten' = running into unexpected trouble.
Ant: 'Which ant is steering this log?' = which office is in charge
of a project.
Appendice (pronounced ap-pen-di-see): some people, never having
seen a document with only one appendix, think that this
is the singular of 'appendices.'
Area: Always as 'X Area,' where X is one of the standard NASA
Asterick: pronounced this way more often than not.
Bag It: 'It's in the bag' = it's finished.
Ball of Wax
Baseline: verb or noun.
Basis: Always as 'X Basis,' where X is one of the standard NASA
Bean Counters: financial management people.
Bed: 'Completely out of bed' = said of people whose opinions
are probably incorrect.
Belly Buttons: employees.
Bend Metal: verb, to construct hardware.
Bending Your Pick: unrewarding activity.
Bent Out of Shape: disturbed or upset, of a person.
Bite the Bullet
Big-Ticket Item: one of the expensive parts.
Black-belt Bureaucrat: an experienced and knowledgable government
Bless: verb, to approve at a high level of management.
Blow One's Skirts Up: usually negative: 'that didn't blow
their skirts up' = that didn't upset them.
Blow Smoke: verb, to obfuscate.
Blown Out of the Water
Bounce Off: to discuss an idea with someone else.
Brassboard (see Breadboard).
Breadboard (see Brassboard).
Bullet: one of the paragraphs or lines on a viewgraph, which are
*never* numbered, but always labelled with a bullet.
Bulletize: to make an outline suitable for a viewgraph.
Burn: verb, to score points off a competitor.
Burning Factor: one of the critical elements.
Calibrate: verb, to judge the capabilities of people or
Camel's Nose in the Tent
Can of Worms
Canned: finished, as 'it's in the can.'
Can't Get There From Here.
Capture a Mission: verb, to construct a launch vehicle for
a space flight.
Carve Up the Turkey
Caveat: usually a noun.
Centers: 'on N-week centers' = at N-week intervals.
Choir, Preaching to the
Clock is Ticking = time is getting short.
Code: Every section at NASA centers or Headquarters has a label
consisting of one or more letters or numbers, and in
conversations or less formal memos, sections are always
referred to by the code rather than the name:
Code LI, Code 931, Code EE, etc.
Community: 'X Community,' where X is one of the standard NASA
Concept: 'X Concept,' where X is one of the standard NASA
Concur: verb, to agree.
Constant Dollars: cost without taking inflation into account
(see Real-Year Dollars).
Core X: The more important parts of X, where X is one of the
nouns used as modifiers.
Cross-Cut: verb, to look at something a different way.
Crump: transitive verb, to cause to collapse.
Crutch: flimsy argument.
Cut Orders: to fill out a travel order form; left over from the
days when this was done with mimeograph stencils.
Data Dump: a report made to others, usually one's own group.
Data Point: an item of information.
Debrief: transitive verb, to report to one's own staff after
an outside meeting.
Deep Yoghurt: bad trouble.
Definitize: verb, to make precise or definite.
De-integrate: verb, to take apart (not dis-).
De-lid: verb, to take the top off an instrument.
Delta: an increment to cost or content.
Descope: verb, to redesign a project as a result of budget
cuts (not the opposite of scope, q.v.).
Dialog: transitive verb.
Disadvantage: transitive verb.
Disgruntee: non-NASA person unhappy with program decisions.
Driver: an item making up a significant part of cost or
schedule: 'X is the cost driver.'
Drop-Dead Date: the real deadline; see 'hard deadline.'
Ducks in a Row
Egg on One's Face
End Item: product.
End-Run the System
End to End
Extent to Which
Facilitize: verb, to make a facility out of something.
Factor in: verb.
Feedback: reaction of another section or organization to
Fill This Square
Finess The System
First Cut: preliminary estimate.
Flag: verb, to make note of something for future reference.
Flex the Parameters
Flux and Change
What Will Fly: 'see it if will fly.'
Folded In: taken into account.
Forest: miss the f. for the trees.
Forgiving, unforgiving: of a physical system.
Full-Up: at peak level.
Future: promise or potential, as, 'a lot of potential future.'
Grease the Skids
Green Door: 'behind the green door' = in the Administrator's offices.
Go to Bat For
Goal: contrasted to 'objective,' q.v.
Gross Outline: approximation.
Group Shoot = brainstorming session.
Guidelines: always desirable to have.
Guy: an inanimate object such as a data point.
Hack: 'get a hack on X' = make some kind of estimate.
Hard Copy: paper, as contrasted to viewgraphs.
Hard Deadline: supposed deadline; never met.
Hard Over: intransigent.
Head Counters: personnel office staff.
Hit X Hard: concentrate on X.
Hoop: a step in realizing a program: 'yet to go through this hoop.'
Hypergolic: of a person: intransigent or upset in general.
Intensive: always as X-intensive.
Intercompare: always used instead of 'compare.'
Issue: always used instead of 'problem.'
Key: adj., of issues: 'key issue; not particularly key'.
Knickers: 'get into their knickers' = to interfere with them.
Laicize: verb, to describe in terms comprehensible to lay people.
Lashup = rackup.
Lay Track: to make an impression on management ('we laid a lot
of track with the Administrator').
Limited: always as X-limited.
Liberate Resources: to divert funds from something else.
Looked At: 'the X area is being looked at' = being studied.
Loop: to be in the loop = to be informed.
Love It! exclamation of approval.
Machine = spacecraft.
Micromanagement = a tendency to get involved in management of
affairs two or more levels down from
one's own area of responsibility.
Mode: 'in an X mode.'
Muscle: 'get all the muscle into X'
Music: 'let's all read from the same sheet of music.'
Nominal: according to expectation.
Nominative: adj., meaning unknown.
Nonconcur: verb, to disagree.
Numb Nut: unskilled or incapable person.
Objective: as contrasted with 'goal' (q.v.)
On Board: 'Y is on board' = the participation of Y is assured.
On-Boards: employees or participants.
On Leave: on vacation.
On the Part Of
On Travel: out of town.
Ox: 'depends on whose ox is gored.'
Parking Orbit: temporary assignment or employment.
Pedigree: history of accumulation of non-NASA support for a mission.
Peg to Hang X On
Pie: 'another slice through this same pie is...'
Piece of the Action
Ping On: verb, to remind someone of something they were
supposed to do.
Pitch: a presentation to management.
Pony in This Pile of Manure Somewhere = some part of this mess
may be salvageable.
Problem Being Worked: 'we're working that problem.'
Product = end item.
Pucker Factor: degree of apprehension.
Pull One's Tongue Through One's Nose: give someone a hard time.
Pulse: verb, as, 'pulse the system.'
Rackup = lashup.
Rainmaker: an employee able to get approval for budget increases
or new missions.
Rapee: a person on the receiving end of an unfavorable decision.
Rattle the Cage: 'that will rattle their cage.'
Real-Year Dollars: cost taking inflation into account, as
contrasted with 'constant dollars.'
Refugee: a person transferred from another program.
Report Out: verb, used for 'report.'
Resources = money.
Resource-Intensive = expensive.
ROM: 'rough order of magnitude,' of estimates.
Scope: verb, to attempt to understand something.
Scoped Out: pp., understood.
Secular = non-scientific or non-technological.
Sense: noun, used instead of 'consensus.'
Sign Off On something = approve.
Space Cadets: NASA employees.
Space Winnies or Wieners: ditto, but even more derogatory.
Speak to X: to comment on X, where X is a subject, not a person.
Speed, Up To
Spinning One's Wheels
Spooks: DOD of similar people from other agencies.
Standpoint: 'from an X standpoint'
Statussed: adj., as, 'that has been statussed.'
Strap On: verb, to try out: 'strap on this idea...'
String to One's Bow
Street, On The: distributed outside one's own office.
Success-Oriented: no provision for possible trouble.
Surface: verb, to bring up a problem.
Suspense Date: the mildest form of imaginary deadline.
Tail: to have one's tail in a crack = to be upset or in trouble.
Tall Pole in the Tent: data anomaly.
Tar With the Same Brush
Team All Set Up
Tickler = reminder.
Time-Critical: something likely to cause schedule trouble.
Torque the System
Total X, where X is one of the standard NASA noun modifiers.
Total X Picture
Update: noun or verb.
Vector a Program: to direct it toward some objective.
Ventilate the Issues: to discuss problems.
Versatilify: verb, to make something more versatile.
Viable: adj., something that might work or might be acceptable.
Viewgraph: always mandatory in any presentation.
WAG = wild-assed guess.
Wall to Wall: adj., pervasive.
Watch: 'didn't happen on my watch...'
Water Off a Duck's Back
Waterfall Chart: one way of present costs vs. time.
I'm Not Waving, I'm Drowning
Wedge; Planning Wedge: available future-year money.
Been to the Well
Where Coming From
Whole Nine Yards
Workaround: way to overcome a problem.
Wrapped Around the Axle: disturbed or upset.
SCIENTIFIC Wild-Ass Guess!
-- Jeff Sargent/...pur-ee!pucc-h:aeq