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"Every scientist worth his salt that I know of has read science fiction."
- Greg Bear

Geopeller  
  An atomic powered, miniaturized means of propulsion.  

Another bit of preparation, he took the geopeller unit out of a spare space suit and strapped it to his shoulders under his clothing. (The geopeller, invented by Max Eleroid, was a delicate miniature geodesic deflector, with its own atomic power pack. Little larger than a manís hand, controlled from a spindle-shaped knob on a short cable, it converted an ordinary space suit into a complete geodesic ship. A tiny thing, yet already it had brought many a spacewrecked flier across a hundred million miles or more to safety.)
From One Against The Legion, by Jack Williamson.
Published by Astounding in 1939
Additional resources -

Here's an example of the device in use:

At last the technician arrived, sliding up a pilot wire from the metal star of the New Moonís heart, carrying a kit of tools to repair the disabled unit. Gripping the control-spindle of the geopeller, Chan flung himself to meet him.

They sprawled together in space. The technician, after his first surprise, displayed a wiry strength.

Compare to the gravity web from Whipping Star (1969) by Frank Herbert.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from One Against The Legion
  More Ideas and Technology by Jack Williamson
  Tech news articles related to One Against The Legion
  Tech news articles related to works by Jack Williamson

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