On Orbit

Dave Wilton dave at WILTON.NET
Sun Apr 18 17:11:01 UTC 2010

I just noticed it in yet another space-related podcast.

I don't require further research, just pointing out what I thought was an odd usage.

-----Original Message-----
From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf Of Geoff Nathan
Sent: Sunday, April 18, 2010 10:04 AM
Subject: Re: On Orbit

In another part of my life I follow the aerospace industry and can report that the phrase 'on orbit' is very frequent in the major trade journal, _Aviation Week and Space Technology_. I haven't had the opportunity to do the philological research required to find out how old the usage is (I suspect not more than ten-fifteen years) but could consider investigating further if necessary (I don't know how far back I can search archives, or whether I can search for things like that).


Geoffrey S. Nathan
Faculty Liaison, C&IT
and Associate Professor, Linguistics Program
+1 (313) 577-1259 (C&IT)
+1 (313) 577-8621 (English/Linguistics)

----- "Dave Wilton" <dave at WILTON.NET> wrote:

> From: "Dave Wilton" <dave at WILTON.NET>
> Sent: Sunday, April 18, 2010 10:49:32 AM GMT -05:00 US/Canada Eastern
> Subject: On Orbit
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Dave Wilton <dave at WILTON.NET>
> Subject:      On Orbit
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Catching up on old podcasts this morning, I heard this on the "365
> Days of
> Astronomy" podcast from 25 March: "then once on orbit it deploys out
> into
> this large, 21-foot mirror."
> At first I thought it was a slip of the tongue for "in orbit," but
> then the
> speaker, an engineer for Ball Aerospace, and the interviewer, a PR
> flack for
> the same company, went on using "on orbit" throughout the interview.
> As in,
> "has a telescope ever been aligned on orbit?"
> Full transcript and podcast are here:
> http://365daysofastronomy.org/2010/03/25/march-25th-the-mirrors-that-make-ja
> mes-webb/
> I've no idea how prevalent this usage is or if it is centered in the
> space
> industry. A quick googling shows they're not the only ones, but it
> appears
> to be far rarer than "in orbit."
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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