Definition of aerobrake in US English:



[no object]technical
  • Cause a spacecraft to slow down by flying through a planet's rarefied atmosphere to produce aerodynamic drag.

    ‘they were going to be aerobraking to reduce speed’
    • ‘Martian orbiters can use aerobraking to reduce the amount of propellant they need.’
    • ‘While there are a number of other missions that have successfully aerobraked into more circular and less elliptical orbits, the maneuver is never a cakewalk.’
    • ‘If the planet has an atmosphere, it can be used for aerobraking to slow down the spacecraft, and this has been done at Mars.’
    • ‘Flight controllers also tested a new maneuvering technique called aerobraking, which uses a planet's atmosphere to slow a spacecraft.’
    • ‘Odyssey used the same dips into the atmosphere, known as aerobraking, to shape its orbit during the initial months after it reached Mars.’


  • A mechanism for aerobraking.

    • ‘The aerobrake - a huge, convex disc underneath the spacecraft - was producing friction with the Martian atmosphere.’
    • ‘The cargo lander would include an aerobrake heat shield and a nuclear reactor on a robot truck.’
    • ‘Emphasis was placed on validating the performance of the aerobrake subsystem.’
    • ‘They dive through the sun's corona at one point, and aerobrake into orbit around Jupiter.’
    • ‘The aerobrake was of identical geometry and construction as the MEV aerobrake, but was stronger and heavier.’