shuttle n.

a small spacecraft used to transport passengers or cargo over a relatively short distance, as between an orbiting craft and a planet’s surface


  • 1940 N. S. Bond Legacy in Astounding Science-Fiction Dec. 39/1 page image Nelson S. Bond bibliography

    The Andromeda has been sold, Bert,…to the Ionian freight shuttle. You and the gang are ordered back to Earth.

  • 1950 T. Sturgeon Stars Are Styx in Galaxy Science Fiction Oct. 74/2 Theodore Sturgeon bibliography

    I was waiting in the entry bell when Judson arrived on Curbstone. Judson had nothing to do with that. I didn’t even know he was on that particular shuttle. It’s just that, aside from the fact that I happen to be Senior Release Officer on Curbstone, I like to meet the shuttles.

  • 1951 R. A. Heinlein Between Planets vii. 83 Robert A. Heinlein

    A shuttle ship up from the surface could leave any spot on Venus, rendezvous with the ship in orbit, then land on its port of departure or on any other point having expended a theoretical minimum of fuel. As soon as the Nautilus had parked such shuttles began to swarm up to her. They were more airplane than spaceship, for, although each was sealed and pressurized to operate outside the atmosphere while making contact with orbiting spaceships, each was winged and was powered with ramjet atmosphere engines as well as with rocket jets. Like frogs, they were adapted to two media.

  • 1953 R. A. Heinlein Starman Jones (1975) iii. 39 Robert A. Heinlein

    Fast little military darts, stubby Moon shuttles, winged ships that served the satellite stations.

  • 1960 ‘J. Wyndham’ Emptiness of Space in New Worlds (#100) Nov. 41 page image John Wyndham bibliography

    The acceleration in that shuttle would spread you all over the floor—very thinly.

  • 1982 S. Cooper Black Fire ix.175 Sonni Cooper bibliography

    He’s taking a shuttle.

  • 1986 J. M. Dillard Demons i. 12 J. M. Dillard

    Take the evening shuttle to ShiKahr and I will meet you at the station.

  • 1988 A. C. Clarke 2061: Odyssey Three 195 Arthur C. Clarke

    When the cloud had cleared, the shuttle was already landing, two hundred metres away.

  • 1995 C. Carter Truth is out There: Official Guide to The X Files The Episodes: Season 1 120 Chris Carter

    Although the shuttle is damaged, Belt tells the astronauts to deliver their payload, fearing that millions of dollars will be lost—and the space program crippled—if they don’t follow through.

  • 1999 C. Pellegrino & G. Zebrowski Star Trek Next Generation: Dyson Sphere iv. 66 George Zebrowski Charles Pellegrino bibliography

    He managed it after two tries, and in a few minutes was ascending through low gravity, into the brightly lit shuttle compartment.

  • 2014 S. Coonts Saucer: Savage Planet xviii. 296 Stephen Coonts bibliography

    The shuttle from the starship left orbit twenty minutes ago.

  • 2015 N. Okorafor Binti 11 Nnedi Okorafor

    The shuttle was one of the new sleek models…. These ones glided fast over land using a combination of air current, magnetic fields, and exponential energy.

Research requirements

antedating 1940

Earliest cite

Nelson S. Bond, "Legacy", in Astounding

Research History
Douglas Winston submitted cites from an Ace books reprint of Robert A. Heinlein's 1951 "Between Planets": we would like to verify these in pre-1960 editions, or, preferably, in the serialization in Blue Book Magazine, Sept.-Oct 1951.
Irene Grumman submitted a 1950 cite from "The Stars are the Styx" by Theodore Sturgeon.
Ben Ostrowsky submitted a 2014 cite from Stephen Coonts.

Last modified 2021-02-04 18:14:38
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.