First of all, it's not really a traditional tractor beam. Not that there even IS a traditional tractor beam, because fully functional tractor beams don't exist. It's just not the kind of tractor beam you may have seen in Star Tracks before. And yes, I did use that 'beam me up' thing in the title and 'star tracks' right now as an act of passive aggressiveness because I know my roommate hates it when I post erroneous shit online. F*** you Derek, don't leave the milk out!
In Sinko's original plan, spacecraft carry thrusters with two types of propellant, each responding to a different laser wavelength. To fire a thruster, a laser beam is shone on it, vaporising propellant to create thrust and so push the spacecraft onto a new course. The propellants fire in different directions, so the spacecraft can be steered.
The idea would be that they could shrink these thrusters down and stick them on to space suits. If an astronaut is incapacitated for some reason, they could be controlled from the ship
Oh man, I pointed a laser at something and vaporized it one time. It was a friend's eyeball. It didn't actually vaporize though, it just made a popping noise and smoked a little. Then dude tried to fight me but couldn't connect any of his punches. That'll teach you to pass out on my couch with your shoes on!
Thanks to Cristie, who agrees there's nothing more terrifying than realizing you forgot to attach your lifeline and are drifting away from your spaceship. I know, right?! I filled my spacesuit with so much shit it was starting to seep into my helmet!