Full record for skyhook n.

Definition an imaginary contrivance for attachment to the sky.
OED requirements antedating 1915
Earliest cite in Aeroplane 10 Mar.
Comment Fred Galvin submitted a 1956 cite from Marion Zimmer Bradley's "Death Between the Stars" in which the word is used to mean a "nested cradle on swinging pivots" that protects spaceship passengers during blastoff. This may be a separable meaning. We would like cites for this or any other meaning of skyhook that is not one of the ones listed here.
Last modified 6 July, 2008

Citations for skyhook n.

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1939 Astounding Sci.-Fiction Oct. 86/2 It's now or never, Bert. Slip those anchors into the electric oven and start exciting them. We'll try skyhooks over that ship. If they hold, you'll be on Easy Street.
1956 M. Z. Bradley in Fantastic Universe Mar. 72/2 The single cabin was far up toward the nose of the starship. It was a queer little spherical cubbyhole, a nest‥. Spaced at random on the inside of the sphere were three skyhooks—nested cradles on swinging pivots—into which the passenger was snugged during blastoff in shock-absorbing foam and a complicated Garensen pressure-apparatus and was thus enabled to sleep secure [sic] without floating away.
1959 R. H. Eney Fancyclopedia II 71 Many ‘saucer’ sightings were laid to ‘skyhooks’—high-altitude balloons—airplane lights, bright stars and planets, reflections of all sorts, kites, and odd-looking planes.
1960 J. W. Campbell Jr. in Astounding Sci. Fact & Fiction Apr. 5/1 So: assume some form of true space-drive. A modified sky-hook or an antigravity gadget—anything. It's a space-truck—not a delicate and hyper-expensive rocket. It can carry tons, and work for years.
1979 C. Sheffield Web Between Worlds (1980) 31 And take a look at the old reports on the dynamics of the bridge. You'll see that it's usually called a skyhook , although it always seems to be more like a Beanstalk.
1981 R.L. Forward & H.P. Moravec High Wire Act in O. Davis Omni Bk. of Space 74 We might erect a skyhook, a cable into space.
1982 R. A. Heinlein Friday 1 I have never liked riding the Beanstalk. My distaste was full-blown even before the disaster to the Quito Skyhook. A cable that goes up into the sky with nothing to hold it up smells too much of magic.
1983 M. McCollum Life Probe xvii. 152 Fifty meters out, a cable from Bernadotte whipped around and snagged Brea's grappling hook. She braced herself for the moment when she would run out of slack, but the blow was surprisingly mild when it came. As soon as she felt tension in the cable, she faced in the direction of Bernadotte's rotation and boosted with all the thrust her backpack jet could provide. After thirty seconds, she judged her speed to be roughly the same as the ship's and shut down to await pickup. After long minutes spent as the hapless weight at the end of a long pendulum, she was hauled aboard. The maneuver was called riding the skyhook and was principally used to transfer personnel between rotating ships whose design didn't include a docking sphere at the spin axis.
1986 D. Moffitt Second Genesis 163 ‘The big difference here,’ Jao rushed in, ‘is that Original Man's skyhook used two tethers, anchored fifty miles apart.’
1987 R. Reed Hormone Jungle (1989) 21 Now the hubs are built around the skyhooks—towers of hyperfiber rising to the lucrative geosynchronous orbits.
1992 K. S. Robinson Red Mars 269 ‘A few hundred elevators at least will be attached to the cable, and loads will be lifted into orbit using a counterweight system. There will be lots of material to load down from Earth as usual, so energy requirements for lifts will be minimized. It will also be possible to use the cable's rotation as a slingshot; objects released from the ballast asteroid toward Earth will be using the power of Mars's rotation as their push, and will have an energy-free high-speed take-off. It's a clean, efficient, extraordinarily cheap method, both for lifting bulk into space and for accelerating it toward Earth‥. Once a carbonaceous asteroid is pushed into the proper orbit, and a nuclear-powered robotic cable plant put to work on it, the plant will extrude cable like a spider spinning its thread.’‥. The miracle of the skyhook. Jack and the Beanstalk, the Ascension to Heaven; it definitely had an air of the miraculous to it.
1993 Sci. Fiction Age Jan. 10/2 After planetfall, Red Mars chronicles the inevitable taming and settlement of the new world—from the establishment of underground headquarters, to the discovery of an effecting anti-aging treatment, to the dropping of an immense ‘skyhook’ from ‘aerosynchronous’ orbit.
1994 Sci. Fiction Age July 10/3 Unlike Sheffield's sky hook‥the space fountain does not hang in orbit.
1996 S. Perry Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire 102 He could have taken the turbolift to the skyhook; most passengers and cargo were moved to the giant orbiting satellites through their tethers to the surface of the Imperial Center; but he had not stayed alive this long by taking foolish chances. Skyhook lifts seldom malfunctioned, but they were vulnerable to attack, from within and without.
1996 S. Perry Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire 102 He could have taken the turbolift to the skyhook; most passengers and cargo were moved to the giant orbiting satellites through their tethers to the surface of the Imperial Center; but he had not stayed alive this long by taking foolish chances. Skyhook lifts seldom malfunctioned, but they were vulnerable to attack, from within and without.
1997 Sci.-Fiction Studies Mar. 142 What I'd lost—what sf had lost—after Sputnik had stitched its way back and forth across the new mundane sky, was the old sense that space was a magic portal, a sky-hook capable of hiking us into the future.
2000 J. McDevitt Infinity Beach 71 There were always a few gasps from travelers who were looking at it for the first time. Skyhooks were, if not the most incredible of human engineering marvels, then certainly the most spectacular. Five of the nine worlds had them, and one was under construction on Tigris. Greenway's skyhook, which was connected to Terminal City, was now about twelve kilometers away. Its enormous bulk rose out of the downtown area and soared into the clouds.
2002 J. Barnes Duke of Uranium 187 The shredded cablehead‥had once joined Singing Port to the surface, in the pre-Bombardment days when skyhooks were practical because human beings thought they were the only species in the interstellar neighborhood.
2005 C. Stross Accelerando v. 185 Several skyhooks have unfurled in equatorial orbit around the earth like the graceful fernlike leaves of sundews, ferrying cargo and passengers to and from orbit.
2008 A. C. Clarke & F. Pohl Last Theorem vii. 50 That tough first step of getting from Earth's surface to LEO? With an Artsutanov skyhook it was no problem at all!