or·​bit·​er ˈȯr-bə-tər How to pronounce orbiter (audio)
: one that orbits: such as
: a spacecraft designed to orbit a celestial body without landing on its surface

Examples of orbiter in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The main fire-observing orbiters used by NASA and the Forest Service get a look at the same location in the contiguous United States only a few times a day, and not always at a great angle. Raymond Zhong Mark Felix, New York Times, 6 Sep. 2023 Active volcanic landscape The orbiter will use its instruments to uncover the secrets behind why a planet similar in size to Earth became covered in volcanic plains and topped with an inhospitable atmosphere. Ashley Strickland, CNN, 15 Mar. 2023 Like all orbiters, the tool bag has been labeled: 1998-067WC/58229. Caitlin O'Kane, CBS News, 15 Nov. 2023 The Endeavour orbiter will be installed no earlier than the last week of January. Rong-Gong Lin Ii, Los Angeles Times, 10 Nov. 2023 The spaceplane measures about 29 feet (8.9 meters) long with a wingspan just shy of 15 feet (4.5 meters), about one-quarter the size of one of NASA's space shuttle orbiters. Stephen Clark, Ars Technica, 8 Nov. 2023 The two spacecraft were made up of an orbiter and a lander. Christine Rousselle, Fox News, 25 July 2023 Since 1965, humankind has successfully sent over 20 missions—flybys, orbiters, landers, rovers—to survey Mars’s dusty terrains. Shi En Kim, Smithsonian Magazine, 18 Oct. 2023 The success of the Hope orbiter may point to more exciting science to come. Jonathan O’Callaghan, New York Times, 25 Apr. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'orbiter.' 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

1951, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of orbiter was in 1951

Dictionary Entries Near orbiter

Cite this Entry

“Orbiter.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/orbiter. Accessed 8 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


or·​bit·​er ˈȯr-bət-ər How to pronounce orbiter (audio)
: one that orbits
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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