Low Earth orbit

(Last edited: Tuesday, 26 September 2023, 5:20 PM)
Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Orbitalaltitudes.svg

Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Orbitalaltitudes.svg

Short Definition:

The Low Earth Orbit (in short, LEO) is an orbit that is relatively low compared to typical space orbits. An object orbiting Earth above 100 km and below 2000 km can be described as orbiting on Low Earth Orbit. In terms of orbiting time, a low Earth orbit have an orbiting period of 128 minutes or less. Low Earth Orbit is often used as temporary orbit for spacecrafts travelling further into space. 

Detailed Definition:

The Low Earth Orbit (LEO in short) is a zone around Earth from a 100 km (Kármán line) to about 2000 km above Earth's surface. Due to orbits shape varying from circles to ellipses, better description is done using time. A body orbiting at the Low Earth Orbit has an orbiting time around 128 minutes or less. The pull of gravity in the LEO is only slightly less than on the Earth's surface, and the orbiting body still encounters atmospheric drag from present gas particles. Due to this, the LEO is often used as a transitive stage for spaceships traveling further into space, as the mean orbital velocity needed to maintain a stable low Earth orbit is about 7.8 km/s, rather than being used as a stable orbit due to constant need of course correction. The most famous spacecraft orbiting in the LEO is the International Space Station, orbiting at around 400 km above Earth’s surface.


Low - From Middle English lowe, lohe, lāh, from Old Norse lágr (“low”)
Earth - From Middle English erthe, from Old English eorþe ("ground, soil, dirt")
Orbit - From Middle English orbite, orbita, from Latin orbita (“course, track, impression, mark”)

Sample Sentence(s):

"The International Space Station is the largest modular space station currently in the Low Earth Orbit."
"The Low Earth orbit requires the lowest amount of energy for satellite placement."



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