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"In 1970 I found little difficulty staying 30 years ahead of the man in the street, and now I find it difficult to stay 18 months ahead of the man on the street."
- Vernor Vinge

Triple Airlock  
  Special device to protect against extremely corrosive atmospheres.  

What happens when something even worse than the mere absence of air lies outside your space ship?

No human had ever set foot on the surface, or breathed the air, of Niflheim. To have done so would have been instant death; the air was a mixture of free fluorine and fluoride gasses, the soil was metallic fluorides, damp with acid rains, and the river was pure hydrofluoric acid. Even the ordinary spacesuit would have been no protection; the glass and rubber and plastic would have disintegrated in a matter of minutes. People came to Niflheim, and worked the mines and uranium refineries and chemical plants, but they did so inside power-driven and contragravity-lifted armor, and they lived on artificial satellites two thousand miles off-planet. This vehicle, for instance, was built and protected as no spaceship ever had to be, completely insulated and entered only through a triple airlock—an outer lock, which would be evacuated outward after it was closed, a middle lock kept evacuated at all times, and an inner lock, evacuated into the interior of the vehicle before the middle lock could be opened. Niflheim was worse than airless, much worse.
From Uller Uprising, by H. Beam Piper.
Published by Twayne Publishers in 1952
Additional resources -

Compare to the very early double-door vestibule from John Jacob Astor IV's A Journey in Other Worlds (1894) and the more conventional airlock from Doc Smith's Skylark of Space (1928). Also, see the pressure curtain from Niven and Pournelle's The Mote in God's eye (1974).

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  More Ideas and Technology from Uller Uprising
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