Opening lines of The Last Starship by Murray Leinster, reprinted as Galaxy Novel #25 in 1955:
“Kim Rendell stood by the propped-up Starshine in the transport hall of the primary museum on Alphin III. He regarded a placard under the spaceship with a grim and entirely mirthless amusement. He was unshaven and hollow-cheeked. He was even ragged. He was a pariah because he had tried to strike at the very foundation of civilization. He stood beside the hundred-foot, tapering hull, his appearance marking him as a blocked man.”
Available in a 2007 reprint from Wildside Press.