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

Examples of orbiter in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

There are still several orbiters around the planet including MAVEN, Mars Odyssey, and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. John Wenz, Popular Mechanics, "NASA Says Goodnight to Opportunity, Its Most Enduring Mars Rover," 13 Feb. 2019 Two missions The two missions ispace announced Wednesday are an orbiter launch in mid-2020 and a more complicated lander-and-rover mission a year later. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "A Japanese company has announced a long-term plan to develop the Moon," 26 Sep. 2018 Columbia’s final mission was the orbiter’s 28th overall, the 113th mission for the shuttle program. Richard Tribou, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Space Shuttle Columbia launched for the last time 15 years ago," 16 Jan. 2018 Since then, the orbiter has gotten more company, most recently, NASA’s InSight lander, which successfully touched down last month. Mary Beth Griggs, The Verge, "Mars orbiter sends a picture-perfect postcard back to Earth," 21 Dec. 2018 The European Space Agency's BepiColombo mission, which launches Friday night from Kourou, French Guiana, will carry not one but two orbiters to the small, gray world. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "Two orbiters begin their long journey to Mercury Friday night," 19 Oct. 2018 In their decadal surveys to set priorities, planetary scientists have put two missions—a Mars sample return and a Europa orbiter—at the top of their priority list. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "A congressman’s loss clouds the future of two demanding missions to Europa," 3 Dec. 2018 That includes planetary flybys dating back to the early 1960s, as well as orbiters and landers. Marcia Dunn, The Seattle Times, "Mars revisited: NASA spacecraft days away from risky landing," 21 Nov. 2018 Up until reaching Mercury, the two orbiters will travel together attached to a transfer module. Loren Grush, The Verge, "Two spacecraft are embarking on a seven-year journey to decode Mercury’s mysteries," 19 Oct. 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

23 Feb 2019

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

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very full or close together

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