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1. Referring to a self-generating or self-sustaining process; specifically, the operation of liquid-propellant rocket engines in which, during main-stage operation, the gas generator is fed by the main propellants pumped by the turbopump, and the turbopump in turn is driven by hot gases from the gas generator system.
Such a system must be started in its operation by outside power or propellants. When its operation is no longer dependent on outside power or propellant the system is said to be in bootstrap operation.
2. In computer operations, the coded instructions at the beginning of an input tape which together with manually inserted instructions, initiate a routine.
3. = leap-frog. See, leapfrog test.


This article is based on NASA's Dictionary of Technical Terms for Aerospace Use