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"I went [to the top of] Vehicle Assembly Building and looked down, and tears burst from my eyes. The size of this cathedral where the Rockets take off to go to the moon is so amazing."
- Ray Bradbury

Docking-Cradle  
  Holds a space craft in gravity.  

"HEY, YOU! What’s your business?”

Bart Harlan, standing on the cat-walk that circled the upper rim of the docking-cradle, did not immediately answer the shouted question. He clung to the thin hand rail, bracing himself against the sheets of rain which drove across the almost deserted landing field, and stared wearily down into the shadowy interior of the cradle. It was about the grubbiest looking space-tramp he’d ever seen. Its weblike outer skin of molybdo-barium meteorite cushionings was tarnished black, except where recent gouges revealed shining metal. One boarding grapple was badly bent; it would not quite fold back into the housing, and stuck out like a broken finger. The iso-quartz space ports showed no lights; they peered like dead eyes from behind the molybdo-barium interweave. A trip to the repair cradles was certainly in order; no space-ship inspector would ever 0. K. a tramp like that, unless the bribe was pretty steep.

Technovelgy from They Never Came Back, by Fritz Leiber.
Published by Astounding in 1941
Additional resources -

Compare to splashdown from From the Earth to the Moon (1867) by Jules Verne, landing stage from Atomic Fire (1931) by Raymond Z. Gallun, landing-cradle from The Radium World (1932) by Frank K. Kelly, landing on an asteroid from Murder on the Asteroid (1933) by Eando Binder, landing-grid from Sand Doom (1955) by Murray Leinster and landing pit from The Stars My Destination (1956) by Alfred Bester.

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  More Ideas and Technology from They Never Came Back
  More Ideas and Technology by Fritz Leiber
  Tech news articles related to They Never Came Back
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