or·bit·er | \ ˈȯr-bə-tər \

Definition of orbiter 

: one that orbits: such as

a : a spacecraft designed to orbit a celestial body without landing on its surface

b : space shuttle

Examples of orbiter in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

In 2015, the Venus orbiter Akatsuki spotted something strange in the planet’s atmosphere: a giant bow wave that stretched across almost the entire surface of the planet. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "The Winds on Venus Blow Hard Enough to Shorten the Day," 20 June 2018 The dust storm covered one-fourth of the planet, and communication between Earth and the orbiter was cut off more than a week ago. Richard Tribou, OrlandoSentinel.com, "NASA image shows blue sand dune on Mars," 26 June 2018 Instead, the device appears to be an anti-satellite weapon, designed to blind sensitive optics and other sensors aboard a hostile spacecraft that dared to approach the Soviet orbiter. Anatoly Zak, Popular Mechanics, "The Soviet Laser Space Pistol, Revealed," 14 June 2018 To expedite the Mars sample return mission, however, NASA would likely need to postpone a new Mars telecommunications and reconnaissance orbiter, already funded by Congress and currently planned for a 2022 launch. Jay Bennett, Popular Mechanics, "U.S. and China Both Want to Launch a Mars Sample Return Mission Before 2030," 28 Dec. 2017 Besides Curiosity and Opportunity on the surface, a whopping six orbiters circle the red planet, gathering data for NASA, the European Space Agency, Russia’s Roscosmos, and the Indian Space Research Organization. Glenn Fleishman, Fortune, "NASA's Mars 'Opportunity' Rover May Be Lost in Massive Dust Storm," 13 June 2018 That includes $595 million to send an orbiter and lander to Jupiter’s moon Europa; Trump’s budget had sought $425 million to send a spacecraft flying by the moon. Lauren Morello, Scientific American, "U.S. Science Agencies Set to Win Big in Budget Deal," 22 Mar. 2018 While the Cassini spacecraft is no longer orbiting the planet, the orbiter took almost 500,000 photos during its 13 years at Saturn, so there are still many images to enjoy, including ones with surprises, like moons! Shannon Stirone, WIRED, "Space Photos of the Week: Mars Gets Pac Man Fever," 19 May 2018 The orbiter exploded shortly after liftoff — killing McAuliffe and all six of her crewmates. Thom Patterson, CNN, "How space travel can unite a fractured world," 18 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'orbiter.' 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 orbiter

1951, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for orbiter

orbit entry 3 + -er entry 2

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Statistics for orbiter

Last Updated

7 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for orbiter

The first known use of orbiter was in 1951

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English Language Learners Definition of orbiter

: a vehicle or device that travels around a planet or moon in space

Comments on orbiter

What made you want to look up orbiter? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


the setting in which something occurs

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