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"[Science fiction] is the one literary medium left in which we have a free hand. We can do any damn thing we please."
- Alfred Bester

Osprey Space Armor  
  Space suit you can live in.  

Very early description of having a space suit that almost substitutes for a space ship. Look through the other items from this story, particularly the asteroid rocket to see the slapdash style of the earliest "belters"!

His "planet" was the smallest in the solar system, and the loneliest, Thad Allen was thinking, as he straightened wearily in the huge, bulging, inflated fabric of his Osprey space armor. Walking awkwardly in the magnetic boots that held him to the black mass of meteoric iron, he mounted a projection and stood motionless, staring moodily away through the vision panels of his bulky helmet into the dark mystery of the void...

He drew his right arm out of the bulging sleeve of the suit, into its ample interior, found a cigarette in an inside pocket, and lighted it. The smoke swirled about in the helmet, drawn swiftly into the air filters.

"Darn clever, these suits," he murmured. "Food, smokes, water generator, all where you can reach them. And darned expensive, too. I'd better be looking for pay metal!"


(Salvage in Space)

From Salvage in Space, by Jack Williamson.
Published by Astounding Stories in 1933
Additional resources -

Here's a bit more detail:

He still wore his Osprey-suit. The heavy fabric, made of metal wires impregnated with a tough, elastic composition...

Be sure to read the entry for rocket motor from this same story to understand the minimalist "space ship" that Williamson envisions for his hero.

Fans of Larry Niven remember the belter world from At the Bottom of a Hole (1966) by Larry Niven.

Compare to the early reference to the phrase space suit from The Emperor of the Stars (1931) by Nat Schachner (w. AL Zagat). Also the pneumatic suit from The Shot Into Infinity (1929) by Otto Willi Gail. Also in Edison's Conquest of Mars, an 1898 novel by Garrett P. Serviss; see this article on air-tight dress. Also, see the somewhat less formal space overalls from Lost Rocket, a short story by Manly Wade Wellman.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Salvage in Space
  More Ideas and Technology by Jack Williamson
  Tech news articles related to Salvage in Space
  Tech news articles related to works by Jack Williamson

Osprey Space Armor-related news articles:
  - The Space Suit As Personal Spaceship
  - A Space Ship On My Back

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