Generic term for a small craft designed to carry cargo and passengers from planetary surfaces to orbiting ships or stations. They are usually employed to eliminate the need to land an entire ship (often impossible for many types of vessel) and hence are only intended for short trips.
Nuclear fission or fusion.
Most shuttles are equipped with some form of nuclear or fusion-thermal engine, with sufficient delta-v to reach orbit on most inhabited planets.
Weapons & Armament
Usually none, the only type of shuttle with weapons would be a dropship for landing troops.
Armor and defense
Superconducting heat shield for atmospheric entry.