a hook on an aircraft or spaceship capable of lifting burdens
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Meier & Lindbergh in Sci. Monthly (N.Y.) Jan. 5
Last modified 2020-12-16 04:08:47
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.