Matthew Gordon GordonMJ at MISSOURI.EDU
Mon Feb 3 18:35:26 UTC 2003

I shouldn't have gone from memory. The exact quotes from the press

"it was the planned Progress launch, bringing up the nominal supplies."

"We handled that debris impact like we would do any off-nominal event."

another one that makes it pretty clear this is a special usage:

" Another interesting piece of information that even though the mid
fuselage bine (ph) line temp showed a 60-degree rise over five minutes,
just inside that wall -- outside we saw a 60-degree rise in five minutes
-- just inside the wall, in the payload bay, our cryotanks, our
cryogenic tanks were nominal. So, it didn't look like there was any
increase in temperature within the payload bay,..."

Matthew Gordon wrote:

> In the coverage of the space shuttle tragedy I've been struck by the use
> of 'nominal' as an apparent synonym for 'normal'. A reporter had
> mentioned it as a special usage, and in a press conference NASA people
> spoke of a mission to take a "nominal load of supplies" to the space
> station and later of sensors reading an "off-nominal" event.
> Is this usage just a NASAism or does it have broader currency in
> aviation or maybe military usage?

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