Does "close in on" work in this context?

The satellite is closing in on the surface of the Earth.

Does it sound fine? That is "the satellite is approaching/nearing the Earth". (It is falling to the Earth, and thus, it isn't a controlled motion........)

Does "close in on" give a sense of "controlled motion"?

Will it work if the motion is controlled?

X is closing in on the surface of Earth. (Controlled motion.)

Thank you:)

1 Answer 1


Yes, "closing in" does give the sense of a controlled approach.

But the use of the word "satellite" is wrong. A satellite is a spacecraft, or natural body, that is in orbit around a planet. So it can't be "closing in on Earth", since that doesn't describe an orbital motion. Moreover to say "closing in on the surface of Earth" sounds strange, because the surface of Earth isn't a single point, but a wide area.

There are several better ways to describe this:

The spacecraft is closing in on Earth (having travelled from Mars)

The satellite is de-orbiting. (or is being deorbited)

The satellite is re-entering the atmosphere. (and leaving a fiery streak in the sky)

The space shuttle is gliding towards the airbase. (after re-entry)

Very few satellites are designed to survive re-entry.

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