orbital tower n.

a structure linking a planet, moon, etc., with a space station or satellite which is in stationary orbit around it; cf. skyhook n. 4


  • 1975 J. Pearson in Acta Astron. 2 785

    If a physical connection could be made between the geostationary satellite and the ground, it would allow vertical ascent by powered capsules up this ‘orbital tower’ directly into geostationary orbit.

  • 1979 A. C. Clarke Fountains of Paradise 157 Arthur C. Clarke

    Whatever problems might still lie ahead, no one doubted now that the Orbital Tower was an idea whose time had come.

  • 1979 A. C. Clarke Fountains of Paradise 160 Arthur C. Clarke

    For the very first time the construction of the proposed Orbital Tower gives us a chance of establishing fixed observatories in the ionosphere.

  • 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…

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

    It was Artsutanov who proposed that if one were to position a satellite in geostationary orbit right over a planet’s equator, and hang a cable thirty-six thousand kilometres long from it, the whole lash-up would amount to an ‘orbital tower’.

Research requirements

antedating 1975

Earliest cite

J. Pearson 'Acta Astron.'

Research History
Added to the OED in September 2004, as a sub-entry of "orbital"

Last modified 2021-09-24 17:00:57
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.