low earth orbit


Definition of low earth orbit

: a usually circular orbit from about 90 to 600 miles (about 140 to 970 kilometers) above the earth

Examples of low earth orbit in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web More broadly, adding tourists to the mix in low Earth orbit may even help make space safer. Wendy Whitman Cobb, The Conversation, "SpaceX reaches for milestone in spaceflight – a private company launches astronauts into orbit," 22 May 2020 On Saturday, the US Air Force is expected to launch its secret space plane, X-37B, for a long-duration mission in low Earth orbit. Daniel Oberhaus, Wired, "A Secret Space Plane is Carrying a Solar Experiment to Orbit," 14 May 2020 One of the biggest lines of business for rockets in the 2020s is expected to be the launch of thousands of satellites to provide broadband Internet from low Earth orbit. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "Rocket Report: Electron’s crazy midair test, SLS work delayed for “weeks”," 10 Apr. 2020 The International Space Station is the longest continuous human presence in low Earth orbit, and it has been visited by 239 people from 19 different countries as of September 2019. Fox News, "Russian space official tests positive for coronavirus after attending Soyuz crew launch to International Space Station," 23 Apr. 2020 In this configuration, the rocket can deliver more than 100 metric tons to low Earth orbit and 21 tons to geostationary transfer orbit. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "Rocket Report: New Shepard push angers workers, Falcon 9 gets wormed," 3 Apr. 2020 Previous companies that deployed low Earth orbit (LEO) satellites went bankrupt, a fate SpaceX is trying to avoid, Musk said. Jon Brodkin, Ars Technica, "Elon Musk: Starlink latency will be good enough for competitive gaming," 10 Mar. 2020 That work, by companies like SpaceX and Boeing, will include pushing the industry forward in low Earth orbit and providing rides to the International Space Station. Sarah Lewin Frasier, Scientific American, "NASA Astronauts Could Fly to Moon-Orbiting Station by 2024, Pence Says," 24 Aug. 2018 Unlike SpaceX, whose Falcon 9 rockets can boost up to 50,000 pounds to low Earth orbit, Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne rocket is limited to payloads weighing 660 pounds or less. Daniel Oberhaus, WIRED, "Virgin Orbit Just Dropped a Rocket From a Boeing 747," 10 July 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'low earth orbit.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of low earth orbit

1961, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for low earth orbit

Time Traveler

The first known use of low earth orbit was in 1961

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Statistics for low earth orbit

Last Updated

28 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Low earth orbit.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/low%20earth%20orbit. Accessed 6 Jun. 2020.

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