skyhook n. 4

= orbital tower n.

  • 1979 C. Sheffield Web Between Worlds (1980) 31 Charles Sheffield

    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 Book of Space 74

    We might erect a skyhook, a cable into space.

  • 1982 R. A. Heinlein Friday 1 Robert A. Heinlein

    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.

  • 1986 D. Moffitt Second Genesis 163 Donald Moffitt

    ‘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 Kim Stanley Robinson bibliography

    ‘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 Science 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.

  • 2000 J. McDevitt Infinity Beach 71 Jack McDevitt

    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 Charles Stross

    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 Arthur C. Clarke Frederik Pohl bibliography

    That tough first step of getting from Earth’s surface to LEO? With an Artsutanov skyhook it was no problem at all!

Research requirements

antedating 1966

Earliest cite

J. D. Isaacs et al. 'Satellite Elongation into a True 'Sky-Hook''

Research History
Mike Christie submitted a 1992 cite from Kim Stanley Robinson's "Red Mars".
Mike Christie located a reference to "sky-hook" in "The Fountains of Paradise" by Arthur C. Clarke.
In the afterword, Clarke cites a paper, "Satellite Elongation into a True 'Sky-Hook'", by John D. Isaacs, Hugh Bradner, George E. Backus and Allyn C. Vine, in the 11 February 1966 issue of Science. Paul Hoffman located this issue and submitted a cite from it.
Christopher Stuart submitted a cite from a 1980 reprint of Charles Sheffield's "The Web Between the Worlds".
Daniel Bambeck submitted a 1982 cite from Robert Heinlein's "Friday".
Malcolm Farmer submitted a cite from a 1989 reprint of Robert Reed's 1987 "The Hormone Jungle".
Douglas Winston submitted a 2000 cite from Jack McDevitt's "Infinity Beach".
Douglas Winston submitted a 2002 cite from John Barnes' "The Duke of Uranium".
Ralf Brown located and Fred Galvin verified a 1986 cite from Donald Moffitt's "Second Genesis".

(Fred Galvin found references from the 1950s in the ISFDB to a story, "Skyhooks" by W.R. Chase, and to an article, "Coming: the Great Skyhook!"; Mike Christie found these publications, but they had no usable cites.)

Last modified 2021-01-24 02:07:53
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.