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 Researchers are concerned that more explosions or breakups could accelerate the Kessler Syndrome—a runaway chain reaction of orbital collisions that could render low earth orbit (LEO) hostile to almost any spacecraft. IEEE Spectrum, 16 Oct. 2019 Amazon plans to launch over 3,000 satellites into low earth orbit. Steve Mollman, Fortune, 14 Dec. 2023 Launching a kilogram payload to low earth orbit (LEO) currently costs at least $3000. IEEE Spectrum, 10 Apr. 2018 SpaceX’s Starlink—which uses numerous low earth orbit satellites to provide connectivity through backpack-sized ground stations—became indispensable for Ukrainian military communications. Michael Peck, Popular Mechanics, 29 Mar. 2023 The Pentagon's best assessment at the moment is that the balloon's surveillance capabilities are not a significant step up from what China is likely able to collect through other means like satellites in low earth orbit, according to a senior defense official. CBS News, 2 Feb. 2023 Some estimates show there could be more than 100,000 satellites in low earth orbit by 2030. Bret Baier, Fox News, 21 Mar. 2023 Many of these constellations are aimed at low earth orbit. Kelsey D. Atherton, Popular Science, 27 Feb. 2023 Plans were devised for a constellation of 66 satellites placed into low earth orbit, about 485 miles above the Earth’s surface. Jon Markman, Forbes, 20 Dec. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'low earth orbit.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1961, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of low earth orbit was in 1961

Dictionary Entries Near low earth orbit

Cite this Entry

“Low earth orbit.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/low%20earth%20orbit. Accessed 1 Mar. 2024.

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