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"I realized there was a heavy-duty change coming in biology, and I could write a really compelling novel about catastrophic evolution, punctuated equilibrium."
- Greg Bear

Parking Orbit  
  An orbit from which access to the planet's surface via a small auxiliary vessel is quick and uncomplicated.  

As far as I know, Heinlein coined this term (and first mentioned the idea) in this story.

Approaching Earth, he called over the patrol frequency and asked for a parking orbit, as he did not wish to put the Chili down on Earth. It would waste fuel and might cause talk. To be sure, he could have picked an orbit without permission, but there was a long chance that the Chili might be noticed and charted in his absence, and investigated as a derelict. It was safer to be legal about it.

An orbit having been assigned, he attained it and settled down in the groove. That done, he set the echo mechanism in the ship's communicator to his own combination, made sure that the set in the ship's gig could trigger it, and dropped away in the gig.

From Methuselah's Children, by Robert Heinlein.
Published by Astounding Science-Fiction in 1941
Additional resources -

This term also appears in Heinlein's Starman Jones (1953).

They hung in parking orbit while their possible future home was examined from the control room.

It's interesting to note that the term "parking orbit" is used by NASA in a manner that is (in a sense) the opposite of this one. Heinlein used it to mean an orbit that a ship assumed as it approached Earth from afar. The current meaning of the term refers to a temporary orbit achieved by a satellite or space probe leaving the surface. There are a variety of reasons why a temporary parking orbit is a good choice on a space mission.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Methuselah's Children
  More Ideas and Technology by Robert Heinlein
  Tech news articles related to Methuselah's Children
  Tech news articles related to works by Robert Heinlein

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