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

There could be three or four different companies launching these habitats into low Earth orbit. Henry Williams, WSJ, "NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine on Life off Earth," 3 Jan. 2019 The super-heavy class starts with rockets capable of delivering 50 to 60 tons of payload or more to low Earth orbit (for higher orbits or interplanetary destinations, that number goes down proportionally). Anatoly Zak, Popular Mechanics, "Russia's New Rocket Project Might Resurrect a Soviet-Era Colossus," 24 July 2018 China, for example, is estimated to have produced up to 25 percent of today’s objects in circulation during an antisatellite test in 2007 in the low Earth orbit. Rick Noack, Washington Post, "China’s failing satellite is just one example of a massive space debris problem," 29 Mar. 2018 This was a positive step toward development of the first fully Korean rocket, which will lift about 1.5 tons to low Earth orbit. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "Rocket Report: Russia’s nuclear rocket, airspace wars, BFR changes explained," 30 Nov. 2018 The main rocket will supposedly have 31 main Raptor engines and be capable of sending up 150 tons to low Earth orbit. Loren Grush, The Verge, "SpaceX says it will send someone around the Moon on its future monster rocket," 14 Sep. 2018 Altogether the Delta IV Heavy is capable of putting more than 62,500 pounds into low Earth orbit. Loren Grush, The Verge, "Stay up late to watch ULA launch a secret satellite with its most powerful rocket," 7 Dec. 2018 The experiments with human space habitation are better off conducted safely in low earth orbit—not the moon's. Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, "Maybe NASA's Next Space Station Doesn't Need the Astronauts," 6 Sep. 2018 After these test satellites are observed, SpaceX’s plan, submitted to the Federal Communications Commission, is to deploy around 4,425 small satellites in low Earth orbit, between 684 and 823 miles high, Mack writes for CNET. Julissa Treviño, Smithsonian, "Five Things to Know About SpaceX’s First Internet Satellite Launch," 22 Feb. 2018

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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Last Updated

20 Feb 2019

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The first known use of low earth orbit was in 1961

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