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"Real science opens windows for us to look through. We're right at the footsteps of the most interesting scientists around."
- Larry Niven

Artificial Island For Ocean Rocket Launch  
  An entirely artificial, floating island used as a launch platform.  

It was a remarkable island, circular, about half a kilometer in diameter. It rose from the sea, floating on it and fastened to the bottom only by strong anchors. It actually was a huge hemisphere of metal and concrete, open underneath. Above it was shaped to a single perfectly level platform, which rose so high above the water that it was not splashed by the waves. From this platform steps led down to the water all around. On all four sides, ribs several hundred meters long extended out into the sea, forming four harbors which could be used according to the direction of the wind.


(Artificial Island)

"Hey! Look here!"

No answer - nobody - no guard at the shore. There was only the great steel colossus, which held the upright rocket in its spidery arms as if in a tender embrace, rising up alone in the air.

From Between Earth and Moon, by Otfrid von Hanstein.
Published by Wonder Stories Quarterly in 1930
Additional resources -

Compare to Freezone from Freezone (1985) by John Shirley, the floating island from Saturn's Race (2000) by Larry Niven (w/S. Barnes) and the float-home from Whipping Star (1969) by Frank Herbert.

As far as I know, the first actual launch of a missile from a floating platform occurred in 1947, a V2 rocket from a US Navy vessel.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Between Earth and Moon
  More Ideas and Technology by Otfrid von Hanstein
  Tech news articles related to Between Earth and Moon
  Tech news articles related to works by Otfrid von Hanstein

Artificial Island For Ocean Rocket Launch-related news articles:
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  - A Floating Cosmodrome
  - SpaceX Will Build Floating Spaceports!

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