Word Origin & History
c.1300, "an area, extent, expanse, lapse of time," aphetic of O.Fr. espace, from L. spatium "room, area, distance, stretch of time," of unknown origin. Astronomical sense of "stellar depths" is first recorded 1667 in "Paradise Lost."
"Space isn't remote at all. It's only an hour's drive away if your car could go straight upwards." [Sir Fred Hoyle, "London Observer," 1979]
Typographical sense is attested from 1676 (typewriter space bar is from 1888). Space age is attested from 1946; spacewalk is from 1965. Many compounds first appeared in science fiction and speculative writing, e.g. spaceship (1894, "Journey in Other Worlds"); spacesuit (1920); spacecraft (1930, "Scientific American"); space travel (1931); space station (1936, "Rockets Through Space"); spaceman (1942, "Thrilling Wonder Stories;" earlier it meant "journalist paid by the length of his copy," 1892). Spacious is attested from 1382.
1703, "to arrange at set intervals," from space
(n.). Meaning "to be in a state of drug-induced euphoria" is recorded from 1968. Space cadet "eccentric person disconnected with reality" (often implying an intimacy with hallucinogenic drugs) is a 1960s phrase, probably traceable
to 1950s U.S. sci-fi television program "Tom Corbett, Space Cadet," which was watched by many children who dreamed of growing up to be one and succeeded.