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"I identify with the weak person; this is one reason why my fictional protagonists are essentially antiheroes."
- Philip K. Dick

Manshell  
  A spaceship large enough for just one man; also an escape pod.  

"Uncle Rade!" Mona clawed at the jamb, her pupils dilated. "Jan. I tried to stop him. He is in the escape lock. Heó" Her arm lifted. Her fingers pointed to the viewscreen.

The dome was in it again, just coming up over the bulge of Mercury. Something else was in it too, black, elongated, stream-nosed. A manshell, the lifeplane of the spaceship. It was jetting violet flame from its truncated stern as it fell away from the Aldebaran's keel and streaked, on a long diagonal, for the gleaming great dome on Mercury!

Within that manshell was Jan Lovett. Against the chance that the Aldebaran might fail on its Earthward flight, he had made a human projectile of himself to die that the peoples of the three planets might live, still free.

"The fool," I heard Master Rade Hallam whisper. "The magnificent fool!" and then no one spoke, no one moved, as we watched that manshell catapult toward the dome.

Technovelgy from Sunward Flight, by Leo Zagat.
Published by Super Science Stories in 1943
Additional resources -

Compare to the deceleration chambers from The Storm (1943) by AE van Vogt, the escapecraft from The Ethical Equations (1945) by Murray Leinster, the space dory from Asteroid Justice (1947) by VE Thiessen, the emergency space-boat from Revolt of the Star Men (1932) by Raymond Z. Gallun, the survival bubble from Footfall (1985) by Niven & Pournelle, the life tubes from Salvage in Space (1933) by Jack Williamson, the life ship from The Invisible World by Ed Earl Repp and the emergency lifeboats from Triplanetary (1934) by 'Doc' Smith.

You should also check out the torpoon from Seed of the Arctic Ice (1939) by H.G. Winter.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Sunward Flight
  More Ideas and Technology by Leo Zagat
  Tech news articles related to Sunward Flight
  Tech news articles related to works by Leo Zagat

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