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"Individual science fiction stories may seem as trivial as ever to the blinder critics and philosophers of today -- but the core of science fiction, its essence has become crucial to our salvation if we are to be saved at all."
- Isaac Asimov

Hand-Rocket  
  A handheld device that used reaction matter to aid explorers in space suits to move around easily in zero gee.  

This device solves one of the thought-experiments of early space enthusiasts; how do you move around when freely floating in empty space if you have nothing to push on?

But Kark Al at that moment stepped calmly out from the lock into empty space! The chain at his belt yanked Lalla Dee and Rab and the robot after him. They all floated there in space, a human chain, scraping the hull of the huge liner as it forged onward.

Kark Al's hand-rocket flashed flame, its impulse dragging them all forward. They moved outward from the liner...

From Murder in the Void, by Edmond Hamilton.
Published by Thrilling Wonder Stories in 1938
Additional resources -

V.E. Thiessen uses the same idea in his 1947 story Asteroid Justice:

He saw the lock open on the Fleetblast and opened his own, propelling himself into space and across the void. A few guiding blasts of his hand rocket and he was inside the lock of the other ship.

Compare with the Reaction Pistol from Gordon A. Giles 1937 story Diamond Planetoid, the Personal Jet Thrust from Robert Heinlein's 1948 novel Space Cadet.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Murder in the Void
  More Ideas and Technology by Edmond Hamilton
  Tech news articles related to Murder in the Void
  Tech news articles related to works by Edmond Hamilton

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