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"Does it open a new horizon for my thinking? Does it lead me to think new kinds of thoughts, that I would not otherwise perhaps have thought at all? These qualities are what [make] science fiction ...unique."
- Frederik Pohl

Light Beam Propulsion (Light-Ship)  
  Use of brilliant light as motive power for a space ship.  

"Deimos dead ahead!" I shouted wildly. "Prepare for landing! Forward beams reverse half power! Aft beams cut off! Crew to landing stations! Move!"

Below me, the thirst-mad crew wrestled insanely with the ponderous manuals of the forward photon beams. Compressors throbbed a sullen song of power, groaning under the overlord of hard straining engines. The steelite shell of the ship, triple-braced as it was, quivered gently with the vibration.

And above in the control-room, I watched fierce streamers of released photons burst hotly from liquid captive light into free energy. The gigantic recoil slowed the ship perceptibly in her eager rush toward the approaching satellite.

I hesitated, hardly daring to use full power with the forward engines half-crippled from Jupiter warp. But the Sprite's velocity was far too great for safe landing.

“Full power to all forward beams!“ I shouted into the tube, casting caution to the wind.

The trembling black needles of the pressure gauge swung far over. Hot light gushed from the beam nozzles, backrushed soundlessly into the engine room, filled the control cabin with the indefinable acrid sweetness of bursting light. Bright glowing plumes reached out far ahead of the quivering Sprite.

The light ship dropped slowly down upon the scarred face of the dead satellite.

From The Radium World, by Frank K. Kelly.
Published by Wonder Stories in 1932
Additional resources -

Compare to Light Pressure Propulsion from From the Earth to the Moon (1867), by Jules Verne.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Radium World
  More Ideas and Technology by Frank K. Kelly
  Tech news articles related to The Radium World
  Tech news articles related to works by Frank K. Kelly

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