Full record for space station n.

Definition a large artificial satellite used as a base for operations in space
OED requirements antedating 1929
Earliest cite W. Ley in C. Ryan 'Across Space Frontier'
Comment As "spatial station".

First cite for "space station" form is from Hugo Gernsback in 1930.

Last modified 28 March, 2011

Citations for space station n.

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1930 H. Gernsback Stations in Space in Air Wonder Stories Apr. 869/1 It might be asked: what useful purpose would be served by converting a space-flyer into a permanent, rapidly-revolving satellite of the earth in this manner? Professor Hermann Oberth, perhaps the greatest authority on interplanetary space, points out many uses for such revolving ‘space stations’, as he calls them. A better word, perhaps, would be ‘revolving space observatories’.
1953 O. Saari in Mag. Fantasy & Sci. Fiction Apr. 84 You're about my age—you must remember when they shot the parts of the first moon rocket up to the Space Station. Alphonse Craig was putting them together. Greatest single-handed construction job ever done! He had to start from scratch, learning all the null-g and vacuum techniques without another pair of hands nor another brain to help him.
1954 C. Oliver Friend to Man in W. F. Nolan Edge of Forever (1971) 105 There had been more, under the headlines. Articles about how the space stations were going to end war by a very logical alchemy.
1956 R. Bradbury End of Beginning in R Bradbury R is for Rocket (1968) Think of it—a manned rocket going up tonight to build the first space station.
1973 A. C. Clarke Rendezvous with Rama (1974) 38 The largest of all space-stations, Syscat Five, was less than two hundred metres in diameter.
1977 Analog Sci. Fiction/Sci. Fact Aug. 118/1 They put him in a space ship and launched him to a large artificial satellite that circled the world. This space station was called Command School.
1982 A. C. Clarke 2010: Odyssey Two (1983) 91 When I heard of him last, he was working in a garage. And he'd won a gold medal for designing spacestations. What a waste!
1983 M. Z. Bradley Thendara House (1991) i. 275 Seriously, it's not his fault, Magda, he wanted to command a space station.
1989 Omni Aug. 96/3 NASA officials toured the site to determine whether the water-filled tanks could be used to teach astronauts how to assemble the proposed space station.
1990 A. Steele Clarke County, Space 26 Essentially a Bernal sphere, surrounded at each end by torus clusters arrayed along axial shafts, solar vanes and giant mirrors, Clarke Country is the largest space station ever successfully built.
1991 O. S. Card Xenocide viii. 115 What's she building, a space station?
1993 K. S. Robinson Red Mars iii.91 It was odd to see what looked like a derelict trailer home sporting a space-station lock door.
1993 K. S. Robinson Red Mars ii. 74 The largest subsidiary mission was to dock a part of the disassembled Ares on Phobos, and begin transforming that moon into a space station.
1997 A. C. Clarke 3001: Final Odyssey iii. 17 There was certainly a gravity field here—so he was probably inside the slowly turning wheel of an orbiting space-station.
2006 S. M. Stirling Sky People v. 121 According to the news, they were busting their asses at that base in Guiana and their little space station, but it would be years before they could do anything interplanetary, and by then they'd be a distant third fiddle.