Full record for planetfall n.

Definition a landing upon a planet after a journey through space.
OED requirements antedating 1940
Earliest cite Malcolm Jameson, "Quicksands of Youthwardness"
Comment Bill Seabrook submitted a 1949 cite from Theodore Sturgeon's "Farewell to Eden".
Mike Christie submitted a 1944 cite from George O. Smith's "Off The Beam".
Fred Galvin submitted a 1940 cite from "Quicksands of Youthwardness", by Malcolm Jameson

Earliest cite in the OED: 1954.

Last modified 23 July, 2009

Citations for planetfall n.

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1940 M. Jameson Quicksands of Youthwardness in Astonishing Stories Oct. 18/1 What with the retarding effect of the millions of miles of gas they had traversed and Ronny's skillful adaptation of his surviving machinery, the Thuban's speed had been reduced to manageable proportions by the time they were in position for their planetfall. Coming in on a tangent about a hundred miles above the estimated surface, Yphon encircled the cloud-wrapped orb three times on a slowly tightening spiral, gliding swiftly through the tenuous stratosphere, braking as he went.
1944 G. O. Smith Off the Beam in Astounding Sci. Fiction Feb. 6/2 Any message-answering would have to be done thirty hours later, when the ship made planetfall, and the regular terminal office of Interplanetary Communications could be employed.
1949 ‘T. Sturgeon’ Farewell to Eden in O. Welles Invasion from Mars 178 They made their planetfall with Gowry at the manual controls.
1956 C. D. Simak in Galaxy Oct. 106/1 ‘Get sobered up,’ I ordered curtly. ‘We made planetfall. We've got work to do.’
1957 Mag. Fantasy & Sci. Fiction July 3 There are few more stirringly imaginative themes in science fiction than that of the generations-ship—the spaceship whereby man may cross the light-years separating us from the stars, even at speeds much less than that of light, creating a self-sufficient microcosm in which the great-great-‥-great-grandchildren of the original voyagers may at last make planet-fall.
1962 M. Z. Bradley Sword of Aldones in Planet Savers/Sword of Aldones (1982) i. 115 The Southern Cross had made planetfall on Darkover at midnight.
1962 M. Z. Bradley Sword of Aldones i. 5 The Southern Cross had made planetfall on Darkover at midnight.
1970 P. Anderson Tau Zero (1973) 17 Housings for the two boats that would make the planet-falls for which she herself was not designed ‥
1970 A. McCaffrey Ship who Sang (1991) v. 180 As the TH-834 had had planetfalls on Durrell, Tania Borealis' fourth planet before, the spaceport was familiar with Teron.
1970 A. McCaffrey Ship who Sang (1991) iv. 121 I'm tired! And you've another planetfall to make.
1970 A. McCaffrey Ship who Sang (1991) ii. 30 How many more hours until planetfall?
1970 J. Blish Spock must Die! x. 81 Kirk confirmed planetfall with Lieutenant Uhura.
1990 D. Duane Doctor's Orders i. 35 Once we have made planetfall and had time to do some initial assessment.
1992 P. David Imzadi xxii. 177 Our calculations have them making planetfall right in the heart of the city.