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

Space junk is one measure of humanity's increasing presence in low earth orbit (LEO). David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Harpoon-Based Space Junk Capture System Is Getting Space Tested," 25 June 2018 The Phantom Express will launch its upper stage to deploy small satellites into low Earth orbit and then land on a runway to be prepared for its next flight. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "Rocket Report: Mysterious Washington “launch,” Aerojet tests, BFR job posting," 15 June 2018 India's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, with a lifting capacity of nearly four tons to low Earth orbit, has captured commercial business by launching small satellites into space. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "Rocket Report: Small sat market surging, Proton dying, Falcon Heavy certified," 29 June 2018 The missile rose into low Earth orbit, about 500 miles above Earth’s surface, and appeared to close in on an aging Chinese weather satellite. Garrett M. Graff, WIRED, "The New Arms Race Threatening to Explode in Space," 26 June 2018 Full Thrust provides a payload capacity of more than 50,000 lbs. to low Earth orbit, more than twice the lifting capability of version 1.0 back in 2010. Jay Bennett, Popular Mechanics, "SpaceX Launches 50th Falcon 9 Rocket," 6 Mar. 2018 All three launches will send an assortment of small satellites into low Earth orbit from Rocket Lab's facility on New Zealand's Mahia Peninsula. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "Rocket Report: Mysterious Washington “launch,” Aerojet tests, BFR job posting," 15 June 2018 The Falcon 9 will carry a U.S. government satellite made by Northrop Grumman into low earth orbit. David Z. Morris, Fortune, "The Mysterious Zuma Mission, SpaceX's First Launch of 2018, Is Tonight," 7 Jan. 2018 Relativity's Terran 1 rocket delivers a bit larger payload than many of the micro rockets under development for small satellites, with a capacity of 1,250kg to low Earth orbit, and Ellis believes this capability will be attractive to the military. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "Rocket Report: Japanese rocket blows up, NASA chief ponders purpose of SLS," 6 July 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

16 Oct 2018

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The first known use of low earth orbit was in 1961

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