sub·​or·​bit·​al | \ ˌsəb-ˈȯr-bə-tᵊl How to pronounce suborbital (audio) \

Definition of suborbital

1 : situated beneath the eye or the orbit of the eye
2 : being or involving less than one orbit (as of the earth or moon) also : intended for suborbital flight

Examples of suborbital in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Blue Origin Blue Origin, the space company founded by Jeff Bezos, plans to launch its third suborbital rocket mission from its Texas spaceport on Dec. 11. Tim Fernholz, Quartz, "Jeff Bezos’ rocket-maker aims for its third launch in 2019," 10 Dec. 2019 Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin may begin commercial suborbital flights for wealthy thrill-seekers. The Economist, "The World in 2020 The rush to Mars in 2020," 22 Dec. 2019 This should serve it well as SpaceX pushes forward with development of Starship prototypes that will be able to make suborbital and then orbital flights—perhaps as early as 2020. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "SpaceX launches lucky no. 13 for this year [Updated]," 16 Dec. 2019 The suborbital flight exposed the capsule and its contents — including NASA experiments, artwork and a commercial grape vine study — to more than three minutes of weightlessness. Washington Post, "Blue Origin launches, lands same rocket record 6 times," 11 Dec. 2019 Musk said that the first flight to orbit could be within 6 months of the first suborbital flight of Starship. Wired, "Elon Musk Just Unveiled Starship, SpaceX's Human-Carrying Rocket," 28 Sep. 2019 These tests are meant to demonstrate the capsules’ ability to handle a suborbital emergency. Wired, "SpaceX and Boeing Still Need a Parachute That Always Works," 5 Nov. 2019 Anderson, the Space Angels CEO, said the venture capital markets — and he personally — aren't all that enthusiastic about the suborbital space tourism market. Jackie Wattles, CNN, "Virgin Galactic had an anticlimactic first week on the stock market. Here's why," 4 Nov. 2019 As private companies drive down the cost of going to space, some are beginning to think about using suborbital spaceflight to dramatically reduce travel time here on earth. Tim Fernholz, Quartz, "Why is Boeing investing in Richard Branson’s rocket plane?," 9 Oct. 2019

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

1803, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for suborbital

Time Traveler

The first known use of suborbital was in 1803

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Statistics for suborbital

Last Updated

17 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Suborbital.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 24 January 2020.

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More Definitions for suborbital


sub·​or·​bit·​al | \ ˌsəb-ˈȯr-bət-ᵊl How to pronounce suborbital (audio) \

Medical Definition of suborbital

: situated or occurring beneath the eye or the orbit of the eye suborbital fat

Comments on suborbital

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a feeling of well-being or elation

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