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"The first thing that's wrong with being a science-fiction writer today is that the present has caught up with the future and surpassed it."
- Peter Watts

Space Wagon  
  A space vehicle without a cabin, used for short-range towing.  

This vehicle is the equivalent of a "tractor" or utility vehicle that has a seat and controls for the driver, but does not have an enclosed cabin (pressurized for vacuum, in the case of a space vehicle).

Part of the new picture was two devices that Haney and the Chief were assembling. They were mostly metal backbone and a series of tanks, with rocket motors mounted on ball and socket joints. They looked like huge red insects, but they were officially rocket recovery vehicles, and Joe's crew referred to them as space wagons. They had no cabin, but something like a saddle. Before it there was a control-board complete with radar-screens. And there were racks to which solid-fuel rockets of divers sizes could be attached. They were literally short-range tow craft for travel in space.

They had the stripped, barren look of farm machinery. So the name "space wagon" fitted. There were two of them.

...

He tried the gyros, and the space wagon went into swift spinning. He reversed them and straightened out—almost. The vastness of all creation seemed still to revolve slowly about him. The monstrous globe which was Earth moved sedately from above his head to under his feet and continued the slow revolution. The Platform rotated in a clockwise direction. He was drifting very slowly away.

"Chief," he said wrily, "you can't do worse than I'm doing, and we're rushed for time. You might come out. But listen! You don't run your rockets! On Earth you keep a motor going because when it stops, you do. But out here you have to use your motor to stop, but not to keep on going. Get it? When you do come out, don't burn your rockets more than half a second at a time."

From Space Tug, by Murray Leinster.
Published by Not known in 1953
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