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"Science fiction and science have always danced around each other. Science fiction is the subconscious of science."
- Greg Bear

Space Transfer Station  
  An orbiting space station primarily used as a stepping-off point from Earth.  

In the novel, Circum-Terra was a great hodgepodge of efforts made at different times.

Circum-Terra was a great confused mass in the sky. It had been built, rebuilt, added to, and modified over the course of years for a dozen different purposes - weather observation station, astronomical observatory, meteor count station, television relay, guided missile control station, high-vacuum strain-free physics laboratory, strain-free germ-free biological experiment station, and many other uses.

But most importantly it was a freight and passenger transfer station in space, the place where short-range winged rockets from Earth met the space liners that plied between the planets. For this purpose, it had fueling tanks, machine shops, repair cages that could receive the largest liners and the smallest rockets, and a spinning, pressurized drum - "Goddard House" - which provided artificial gravity and Earth atmosphere for passengers and for the permanent staff of Circum-Terra.

From Between Planets, by Robert Heinlein.
Published by Charles Scribner's Sons in 1951
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