The modern era of text shorthand – LOL, IMHO, TFW, WTF and WHY (What Have You) – has nothing on the golden age of acronyms, initialisms and abbreviations that was the Apollo era. Here are 10 common ones from the late ’60s.
JFK: John Fitzgerald Kennedy, 35th president of the United States and the one that committed his country to putting a man on the moon before the decade was out. After Apollo 11, an anonymous citizen put a bouquet on his grave with the note: “Mr. President, the Eagle has landed.”
NACA: The National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, it was dissolved in 1958 and became NASA, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. But while NASA is pronounced “nah-saw,” NACA is only ever pronounced “En-Ay-Sea-Ay,” not “Nakka.”
LOR: “Ell-Oh-Arr” stands for lunar-orbit rendezvous, by which a spacecraft would fly to the moon and then separate into a lander and an orbiter. The competing plan, never used, was Earth-orbit rendezvous, where you send components of a lunar mission up from the Earth and they join together before going to the moon.
S-IVB: The “Ess-Four-Bee” was the third and topmost stage of the Saturn rocket that took astronauts to the moon. Unlike the other stages, which fired once and then were discarded, this one had to fire once to get the astronauts into Earth orbit, and again for TLI.
TLI: Trans-lunar injection, the rocket-propelled push away from Earth and towards the moon. TFA: Thanks For Asking!
LM: The Lunar Module was once known as the Lunar Excursion Module (LEM), but in May 1966 the middle name was dropped because it sounded too jaunty. But the pronunciation remained “Lem.”
LLRV: The “El-El-Arr-Vee” (not “”Lurve”) was a lunar landing research vehicle that begat the LLTV or lunar landing training vehicles. Also known as the belching spider, the flying bedstead or the …read more
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