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

Consisting of three Falcon 9 cores strapped together, the Falcon Heavy is capable of putting more weight into low Earth orbit than any other rocket currently in operation. Loren Grush, The Verge, "The Verge 2018 tech report card: SpaceX," 29 Dec. 2018 The messy backstory The last time humans left low Earth orbit was 1972, when the last Apollo astronauts returned from the moon. Jason Davis, NBC News, "NASA's Artemis program will return astronauts to the moon and give us the first female moonwalker," 11 June 2019 The nature of low Earth orbit means that even debris pieces residing above the ISS could still pose a threat. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "India's Anti-Satellite Test Could Threaten the International Space Station," 2 Apr. 2019 The company is targeting payloads up to 300kg for low Earth orbit but does not plan to have a rocket ready for commercial launches until 2026. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "Rocket Report: Firefly to the Moon, SpaceX makes a splash, H3 nets a customer," 7 Dec. 2018 Trump has told the space agency to return humans to the Moon, as well as transition the International Space Station and the domain of low Earth orbit to the private space industry over the next decade. Loren Grush, The Verge, "NASA finally has a permanent administrator — 15 months into Trump’s presidency," 19 Apr. 2018 Space activities that threaten to fill up low Earth orbit or pulverize a unique asteroid could be similarly scrutinized. Ramin Skibba, Smithsonian, "Greening the Future of Outer Space," 2 June 2018 Building a railroad The key to success in space will be to encourage commercial players to move beyond low Earth orbit and deeper into space, Bridenstine said. Elizabeth Howell, Space.com, "New NASA Chief Sees Moon Missions Building a 'Railroad' to Mars," 9 May 2018 According to the plan, SpaceX's satellites will have low Earth orbits, allowing them to provide Internet service with latency similar to cable and fiber services. Jon Brodkin, Ars Technica, "Elon Musk tweets video of SpaceX’s first broadband satellites in space," 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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Low Dutch

low earth orbit




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Last Updated

10 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for low earth orbit

The first known use of low earth orbit was in 1961

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