I saw a sentence written as:

Recently an ISRO satellite failed to place into specified orbit.

I was wondering if this usage is correct and a medio passive voice. Would it better if we write something like:

Recently an ISRO satellite failed to be/get placed into specified orbit.

  • The original sentence is incorrect, because it's using place actively. That would mean that that the satellite was placing something else into orbit. I suspect that what the writer meant was either "be placed" or something like "arrive". – stangdon Oct 3 '17 at 11:15
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    What's the source? The author seemed to have constructed this sentence incorrectly. – Varun Nair Oct 3 '17 at 11:17
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    We do have such a verb, to place into {a rank or tier of some kind}, although I've never heard it used of satellites and orbits. He placed into Advanced Calculus. The normal colloquial word in this context is reach. The satellite failed to reach orbit. google.com/… – Tᴚoɯɐuo Oct 3 '17 at 11:51

When talking about space science and about placing a satellite in a specific orbit, this is common.

The orbit of a satellite determines how fast it will rotate around the Earth and what things it will be able to see on the Earth while it's orbiting. A satellite with a circular geosynchronous orbit rotates around the Earth in a circle with a 42,164 km radius. If it's a kilometer up or down then it won't be in proper orbit.

Space scientists will often talk about spacecraft placing into specific orbits, where they reach the correct orbit to do whatever it is the spacecraft is supposed to do.

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  • Can you provide a couple of attestations where the satellite is subject of the verb, not the object? – Tᴚoɯɐuo Oct 4 '17 at 11:13

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