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 The core module, currently the largest spacecraft developed by China, was launched into low earth orbit by a Long March-5B rocket, marking the first step of China's efforts to build its own station in two years. Katie Hunt, CNN, "China successfully launches first module of planned space station," 29 Apr. 2021 At present, there are recommendations but few binding rules about how Earth’s low earth orbit is used. Christopher Mims, WSJ, "Elon Musk and Amazon Are Battling to Put Satellite Internet in Your Backyard," 20 Mar. 2021 The crew will travel weightless across a low earth orbit at more than 17,000 miles an hour. Max Garland, USA TODAY, "She beat bone cancer. Next up for the hospital worker? Become the youngest American in space.," 23 Feb. 2021 From the very beginning, Freedom was conceptualized as a springboard for the commercialization of low earth orbit. Daniel Oberhaus, Wired, "What Comes After the International Space Station?," 27 Oct. 2020 Their arrival on November 2 kicked off a four-and-a-half-month stay and marked the beginning of an uninterrupted human presence in low earth orbit that continues to this day. Daniel Oberhaus, Wired, "How Humanity Spent Its First 20 Years in Orbit Aboard the ISS," 30 Oct. 2020 After takeoff, a missile like the American Minuteman III typically travels straight up to insert its nuclear warheads into low earth orbit. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Air Force Accidentally Reveals It Wants a Hypersonic Nuke," 21 Aug. 2020 The missiles accelerate straight up, deploying their warheads into the upper atmosphere or low earth orbit in the same way rockets deploy satellites. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Russia Warns the World: Any Incoming Ballistic Missile Is Considered Nuclear," 11 Aug. 2020 In stark contrast, the ISS is in low earth orbit, at an altitude of about 254 miles. Fox News, "Former NASA astronaut makes historic dive to ocean’s deepest point, calls space station crew," 9 June 2020

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

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The first known use of low earth orbit was in 1961

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Statistics for low earth orbit

Last Updated

3 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Low earth orbit.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/low%20earth%20orbit. Accessed 7 May. 2021.

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