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"There was a time when one old eccentric guy with a notebook could do something important to science. Now even the resources of a major university are often not enough."
- Jerry Pournelle

Earthport  
  A massive spaceport that reared up from the surface of the earth to the edge of the atmosphere.  

...Earthport stood like an enormous wineglass, reaching from the magma to the high atmosphere. Earthport had been built during mankind's biggest mechanical splurge. Though men had had nuclear rockets since the beginning of consecutive history, they had used chemical rockets to load the interplanetary ion-drive and nuclear-drive vehicles or to assemble the photonic sail-ships for interstellar cruises. Impatient with the troubles of taking things bit by bit into the sky, they had worked out a billion-ton rocket, only to find that it ruined whatever countryside it touched in landing. The Daimoni-people of Earth extraction, who came back from somewhere beyond the stars-had helped men build [Earthport] of weatherproof, rustproof, timeproof, stressproof material.
From The Ballad of Lost C'Mell, by Cordwainer Smith.
Published by Fantasy Publishing Co. in 1950
Additional resources -

Who needs those twisty, bendy space elevators when you can build something so solid that (as my dad used to say) it's "not going anywhere!"

Thanks to the anonymous reader who submitted this item.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Ballad of Lost C'Mell
  More Ideas and Technology by Cordwainer Smith
  Tech news articles related to The Ballad of Lost C'Mell
  Tech news articles related to works by Cordwainer Smith

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