aero·​cap·​ture ¦er-ō-¦kap-chər How to pronounce aerocapture (audio)
: the technique of using atmospheric friction to decelerate a space vehicle as it enters a planet's atmosphere : the use of aerobraking to slow down and capture a space vehicle
But two of the flight plans call for "direct insertion" by aerocapture. In other words, the spacecraft will come screaming into the Martian atmosphere, where drag, not retrorockets, will slow it down. Tony Reichhardt, Air & Space, October/November 1999
Aerocapture is being developed for robotic probe missions such as the Mars rovers. Shelby G. Spires, Seattle Times, 15 Jan. 2004

Word History


aero- + capture entry 1

First Known Use

1980, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of aerocapture was in 1980

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Cite this Entry

“Aerocapture.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Dec. 2022.

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