space elevator n.

any of various proposed structures extending from the earth upwards for many miles as a means of transporting materials into space, esp. one consisting of a tether linked to a geosynchronous satellite orbiting the earth; cf. orbital tower n.

SF Encyclopedia


  • 1975 A. C. Clarke in Future Space Programs 1975 (Hearings Before the Subcommittee on Space Science & Applications, Committee on Science & Technology, U.S. House of Representatives) 198 page image Arthur C. Clarke

    Imagine my surprise when I saw that the Russians had come up with the same idea quite independently—the Space Elevator.

  • 1979 A. C. Clarke Fountains of Paradise 146 Arthur C. Clarke

    He would not presume to criticize the engineering aspects of the space elevator.

  • 1979 A. C. Clarke Fountains of Paradise 51 Arthur C. Clarke

    At last we can build the Space Elevator—or the Orbital Tower, as I prefer to call it. For in a sense it is a tower, rising clear through the atmosphere, and far, far beyond.

  • 1986 A. C. Clarke Songs of Distant Earth 204 Arthur C. Clarke

    The first space elevator? That was indeed ancient history; it marked the very beginning of planetary colonization by giving mankind virtually free access to the Solar System.

  • 1988 I. McDonald Desolation Road (2001) xxxix. 206 Ian McDonald

    Just what the hell are they doing out there, building an extra space elevator or something?

  • 1992 F. Pohl Mining Oort (1993) 6 Frederik Pohl

    The man who devised the first ‘space elevator’ was an engineer from Leningrad named Yuri Artsutanov, and he had done it way back in 1960.

  • 1993 K. S. Robinson Red Mars (1993) 267 Kim Stanley Robinson bibliography

    This apparently made the south rim of Pavonis the perfect tethering point for a space elevator, as it was both directly on the equator, and twenty-seven kilometres above the datum.

  • 1993 K. S. Robinson Green Mars (new ed.) 334 Kim Stanley Robinson

    Given the acute population and environmental problems on Earth, and the space elevator currently being constructed there to match the one already on Mars, the gravity wells could be surmounted and mass emigration would certainly follow…

  • 1993 K. S. Robinson Green Mars (new ed.) 99 Kim Stanley Robinson

    Most of the other towns had been left in ruins, but Sheffield’s location remained the ideal place for tethering a space elevator.

  • 1993 K. S. Robinson Red Mars (1993) 242 Kim Stanley Robinson bibliography

    We'll hold onto it until it’s worth more. Or until they build that space elevator.

  • 1999 Interzone Apr. 27/2

    He sat in the bar until his flight was called, chatting with a couple structural engineers whose company also had a share in the construction of the space elevator.

  • 2002 Science Fiction Chronicle May 34/1

    The island is the perfect spot for a space elevator.

  • 2020 M. Cole Sixteenth Watch 25 Myke Cole bibliography

    The space elevator carrying her to the Aries had finally breached Earth’s atmosphere and she reached orbit.

Research requirements

antedating 1975

Earliest cite

A. C. Clarke 'Future Space Programs'

Research History
Michael Quinion submitted a 1975 cite from Arthur C. Clarke's "Future Space Programs".

Last modified 2020-12-16 04:08:47
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.