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"I can remember when the first pulsars were discovered. I was able to go and sit down and listen to graduate students talking about what their theories, to explain what pulsars really were."
- Vernor Vinge

Joy-boat Junior  
  A private space yacht, capable of suborbital journeys.  

At this point in Heinlein's Future History, humanity had conquered space to the point of colonizing the Moon, Venus and Mars. A faster-than-light drive had not yet been invented; spacecraft worked in a manner similar to those in use today, in that the craft was pushed forward by throwing mass the other way as fast as possible.

Lazarus Long was on a large ship in orbit, when a smaller craft locked on to a port - somewhat unexpectedly.

Why, the ship wasn't a proper deep-space craft at all. It did not have an airlock but merely a seal to let it fasten to a larger ship; Lazarus was staring right into the body of the craft. It looked like - yes, it was a "Joy-boat Junior," a little private strato-yacht, suitable only for point-to-point trajectory, or at the most for rendezvous with a satellite provided the satellite could refuel it for the return leg.
From Methuselah's Children, by Robert Heinlein.
Published by Astounding Science-Fiction in 1941
Additional resources -

In the novel, wealthy individuals owned their own small spacecraft in the same way that wealthy individuals today own Lear jets. Once you filed a flight plan at your space field (and "cut through the red tape of interplanetary travel"), you were free to go wherever your craft could take you.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Methuselah's Children
  More Ideas and Technology by Robert Heinlein
  Tech news articles related to Methuselah's Children
  Tech news articles related to works by Robert Heinlein

Joy-boat Junior-related news articles:
  - SpaceShipOne - The First Strato-Yacht?
  - SpaceX Dragon To Land On Any Planet
  - SpaceX Dragon First Private Craft To Dock With ISS

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Dream Of Building Your Own Rocket?
Used Dragon Cargo Spacecraft Will Fly Again
Laser-Powered Spacecraft To Explore The Solar System
SKYLON Space Plane Gets Boost

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