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"We were essentially being shell-shocked by rapid change. That was one of the things you needed science-fiction writers for back in the Sixties, because we could cope with the future."
- Peter Watts

Space Legs  
  The ability to walk under high gee acceleration on a space ship.  

As far as I know, this is the first use of the phrase "space legs".

WHEN I had gained my space legs sufficiently to leave the cushioned protection of my bunk, I shuffled along the spiral tube which terminated in the glittering fascination of the control room. Of the four mariners in the place, only the monstrous quartermaster, who was known to spaceman and planet dweller alike as “Mark the Massive,” seemed to take any note of my entrance.

“We’ll be blasting again soon, laddie,” the big fellow counseled solemnly.

Technovelgy from Flight of the Typhoon, by Clifton B. Kruse.
Published by Astounding Science Fiction in 1936
Additional resources -

Robert Heinlein offers this usage in Methuselah's Children:

Lazarus saw from his face that it was necessary to the man's morale. "Okay... if you can handle yourself under two gees."

Ford struggled heavily up out of the acceleration couch he was in. "I've got space legs. What kind of sandwiches?"

"I'd say corned beef, but it would probably be some damned substitute. Make mine cheese, with rye if they've got it, and use plenty of mustard. And a gallon of coffee. What are you having, Andy?"

"Me? Oh, anything that is convenient."

Ford started to leave, bracing himself heavily against double weight, then he added, "Oh-it might save time if you could tell me where to go." -

"Brother," said Lazarus, "if this ship isn't pretty well crammed with food, we've all made a terrible mistake. Scout around. You'll find some."

Not one to be hobbled by consistency, Heinlein also uses it in a different sense in Space Cadet (1948):

When the class was dismissed he hurried to his room and into his own cubicle, selected a spool on Martian history, inserted it in his projector, and began to study. He had been tempted to remain in the free-fall gymnasium to practice; he wanted very badly to pass the "space legs" test - free-fall acrobatics - as those who had passed it and qualified in the use of basic space suits as well were allowed one liberty a month at Terra Station.

And yes, EE 'Doc Smith used this phrase - but not until First Lensman, published in 1950!

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Flight of the Typhoon
  More Ideas and Technology by Clifton B. Kruse
  Tech news articles related to Flight of the Typhoon
  Tech news articles related to works by Clifton B. Kruse

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