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"We [science fiction writers] always wanted to believe in "private sector" space -- hucksters make better characters than a government does."
- Larry Niven

Permalloy  
  Protects ships from the hazards of space.  

In the very center of the pit stood a huge, bullet-shaped object. More than 200 tons of Welded duralumin and permalloy comprised its gigantic shell...

"...If they make a direct hit, not even permalloy will save us."

"Even permalloy has a melting point. If we threw braking jets from our forward rockets, traveling at this speed, our nose would melt like hot butter beneath that terrific backwash.

From Fugitives From Earth, by Nelson S. Bond.
Published by Amazing Stories in 1939
Additional resources -

It's not impervious to damage:

It had landed— but how it had landed! Not upright on its base, as its constructors had planned. On its side. A gaping rent marred the silvery sheen of the sturdy' permalloy. It must have been a horrible crash that caused that damage.

Compare to durite from Misfit (1939) by Robert Heinlein, gundarium from Mobile Suit Gundam (1979) by Yoshiyuki Tomino, steelonium from Hugo Gernsback's 1911 classic Ralph 124c 41 +, plasteel from Frank Herbert's 1965 novel Dune and helio-beryllium from Robert H. Wilson's 1931 story Out Around Rigel.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Fugitives From Earth
  More Ideas and Technology by Nelson S. Bond
  Tech news articles related to Fugitives From Earth
  Tech news articles related to works by Nelson S. Bond

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