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"If you don't care about science enough to be interested in it on its own, you shouldn't try to write hard science fiction."
- Frederik Pohl

Flywheel Launcher  
  Gigantic flywheels that build up enough power to launch a spacecraft - hurl it into the heavens!  

How to launch the Brick Moon? Not with the usual explosive force; Hale has another technology in mind.

It was not to be by any of your sudden explosions. It was to be done as all great things are done,--by the gradual and silent accumulation of power. You all know that a flywheel--heavy, very heavy on the circumference, light, very light within it--was made to save up power, from the time when it was produced to the time when it was wanted. Yes? Then, before we began even to build the moon, before we even began to make the brick, we would build two gigantic fly-wheels, the diameter of each should be "ever so great," the circumference heavy beyond all precedent, and thundering strong, so that no temptation might burst it. They should revolve, their edges nearly touching, in opposite directions, for years, if it were necessary, to accumulate power, driven by some waterfall now wasted to the world. One should be a little heavier than the other. When the Brick Moon was finished, and all was ready, IT should be gently rolled down a gigantic groove provided for it, till it lighted on the edge of both wheels at the same instant. Of course it would not rest there, not the ten-thousandth part of a second. It would be snapped upward, as a drop of water from a grindstone. Upward and upward; but the heavier wheel would have deflected it a little from the vertical. Upward and northward it would rise, therefore, till it had passed the axis of the world. It would, of course, feel the world's attraction all the time, which would bend its flight gently, but still it would leave the world more and more behind. Upward still, but now southward, till it had traversed more than one hundred and eighty degrees of a circle. Little resistance, indeed, after it had cleared the forty or fifty miles of visible atmosphere. "Now let it fall," said Q., inspired with the vision. "Let it fall, and the sooner the better! The curve it is now on will forever clear the world; and over the meridian of that lonely waterfall,--if only we have rightly adjusted the gigantic flies,--will forever revolve, in its obedient orbit...
From The Brick Moon, by Edward Everett Hale.
Published by Atlantic Monthly in 1869
Additional resources -

And off it goes - although not quite on schedule:

It was too clear that in some wild rush of the waters the ground had yielded a trifle. We could not find that the foundations had sunk more than six inches, but that was enough. In that fatal six inches' decline of the centring, the MOON had been launched upon the ways just as George had intended that it should be when he was ready. But it had slid, not rolled, down upon these angry fly-wheels, and in an instant, with all our friends, it had been hurled into the sky!

"They have gone up!" said Haliburton; "She has gone up!" said I;--both in one breath. And with a common instinct, we looked up into the blue.

But of course she was not there.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Brick Moon
  More Ideas and Technology by Edward Everett Hale
  Tech news articles related to The Brick Moon
  Tech news articles related to works by Edward Everett Hale

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