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 In addition to transporting satellites, Blue Origin has been testing hardware to take space tourists on suborbital thrill rides. Andy Pasztor, WSJ, "NASA Makes Blue Origin Eligible to Launch Future Missions Without Crews," 17 Dec. 2020 During the nearly hour-long webcast surrounding the launch, the hosts did not have much to say about when humans may first fly inside the capsule, which was developed to serve as a platform for suborbital space tourism. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "Rocket Report: Sweden invests in launch site, SLS hotfire test in a month," 16 Oct. 2020 In 2021, at age 70, Richard Branson may face his most daunting adventure yet: a trip to the edge of space in his suborbital spaceplane. Washington Post, "2021 could be a huge year for space. Here’s what’s to come from NASA, Elon Musk, Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos.," 30 Dec. 2020 By testing the design on a suborbital flight, Dr. Durda can find out how much material can be collected and whether the apparatus operates without jamming. Kenneth Chang, New York Times, "Jeff Bezos’ Company Is Carrying Scientific Cargo to Space. It’s Not Amazon.," 13 Oct. 2020 The mission’s aim was to learn whether suborbital flight affected the heart and central nervous system. Sig Christenson,, "San Antonio engineering technician who helped pioneer the space program dies at 85," 25 Dec. 2020 Spaceflight company Blue Origin is scheduled to conduct a suborbital test of its New Shepard rocket at 12:40 p.m ET. Jennifer Leman, Popular Mechanics, "LIVE: Watch Jeff Bezos's Blue Origin Launch New Shepard Rocket," 24 Sep. 2020 The suborbital flights are designed to reach an altitude of at least 50 miles (80.5 kilometers) before the rocket motor is turned off and the crew prepares to reenter the atmosphere and glide to a landing. Susan Montoya Bryan And Paul Davenport,, "‘Lost connection’ hampers Virgin Galactic’s test flight," 15 Dec. 2020 Virgin Orbit spun off from Virgin Galactic, which is focused on sending tourists on suborbital flights that reach about 50 miles high, in 2017. Jackie Wattles, CNN, "Virgin Orbit halts test flights as Covid-19 cases surge," 14 Dec. 2020

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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Last Updated

29 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Suborbital.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Mar. 2021.

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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

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