From the word source section at Dictionary.Com
- 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 (spaceman) 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.
I was born the year and month that Sputnik was blasted into orbit and so I grew up dreaming of the great rockets roaring into space. My dreams died a little with the end of the Apollo era and a little more with every year of the space shuttle and ISS travesties that followed. Not because of the actors in the piece but because of the dead hand of bureaucratic-management-executive risk aversion that could be seen crushing the glory out of the endeavor. It was only the glorious optical archive that is Hubbles legacy that kept a dream alive, a dream rekindled with Faster Better Cheaper and the Mars flurry and then blown to full flame in the last few years with Space X, Virgin Galactic, Bigelow, Orbital, and more.