Green’s Dictionary of Slang

space n.

[SE space of time/time n. (1)]

(US Und.) a jail sentence (often of one year).

[US]A.H. Lewis ‘Red Mike’ in Sandburrs 57: Red Mike gets ten spaces in Sing Sing.
[US]A.H. Lewis Boss 101: He got four spaces!
[US]F. Packard Adventures of Jimmie Dale (1918) II x: Husbands and fathers unfortunate enough in their clashes with the law to be doing ‘spaces’ up the river.
[US]Irwin Amer. Tramp and Und. Sl. 177: Space. –A year in gaol or prison, and by extension, any sentence, as ‘three spaces,’ three years, etc.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn) 218: space A one year sentence; a one year measurement of time to serve in prison.
[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 202/1: Spaces. (South) Years, especially years in prison. ‘Ten spaces on the rattler (chain gang) is sad pullin’ (hard to bear).’.

SE in slang uses

Based on being ‘high’ on drugs

In compounds

space base (n.) (also space ball, ...cadet, ...dust) [base n.1 (3)/SE cadet/dust + play on the 1980s sweet Space Dust]

(drugs) a cigar stuffed with a mixture of phencyclidine and crack cocaine.

[US]T. Williams Crackhouse 151: spacebase cigar with tobacco removed and refilled with angel dust (PCP) and crack-cocaine.
[US]ONDCP Street Terms 20: Spaceball — PCP used with crack. [Ibid.] Space base [...] Space cadet [...] Space dust — Crack dipped in PCP; hollowed out cigar refilled with PCP and crack.
space cadet (n.) (also cadet, space cadette, space cowboy) [spaced (out) adj. (1) + SE cadet]

1. (drugs) any heavy user of drugs, esp. cannabis or hallucinogens, who is continually ‘flying’; also attrib.

[US]R. Price Ladies’ Man (1985) 152: After about ten minutes of nonblink space cadet paralysis I rapped Donny on the knee.
[US]A. Maupin More Tales of the City (1984) 72: They’re all space cadets, man. They ain’t listenin’.
[US] W. Safire What’s the Good Word? 217: ‘Space cadets’ [...] or merely ‘cadets’ are those who seem a little out of touch with the material world.
[Scot]I. Welsh ‘A Smart Cunt’ in Acid House 275: Raymie Airlie and Spud Murphy, two space cowboys of the highest order.
[UK]G. Burn Happy Like Murderers 203: The lodgers and the space cadets who hung around with the lodgers were mostly too out of it to care.

2. (US, also space queen) a mad or eccentric person.

[US]W.A. Heflin US Air Force Dict. 479: Space cadet. A hot pilot; a pilot that shows off.
[US]Eble Campus Sl. Nov. 3: space cadette – someone who acts spaced out, i.e., as if he has been on drugs; out of touch with reality.
[US]J. Sayles Union Dues (1978) 312: ‘How many people you kill over there?’ ‘Didn’t count.’ ‘Didn’t count! Is that great? Comes back such a mindfuck he can’t remember. Fuckin space cowboy.’.
[US]Eble Campus Sl. Spring 8: space queen – generally a person who seems to have their head in the clouds.
[US]Frank Zappa ‘Valley Girl’ 🎵 Like my mother is like a total space cadet (Valley Girl) / She like makes me do the dishes and (Valley Girl) / CLEAN the cat box.
[US]C. Hiaasen Lucky You 66: The sort of space cadet who could misplace a $14 million lottery ticket.
[UK]D. Mitchell Black Swan Green 72: My cousin Jason Taylor is such a space cadet.

3. (US campus) a misfit, an unappealing person.

[US]P. Munro Sl. U.
B. Paterson Duck and Cover 154: If it weren’t for science, this kid would be a complete space cadet.
space cake (n.)

(drugs) a cake which is baked with cannabis as an extra ingredient.

[Scot]I. Welsh ‘Eurotrash’ Acid House 23: Swallowing a lump of spacecake.
[UK]N. Griffiths Grits 9: Roger’s brought his ideas uv a spacecake (uh Spar-bought Swiss roll sliced down thuh middle with resin sprinkled intuh it).
[UK]Metro (London) 5 Sept. 11: A prankster who fed cannabis-laced ‘space cakes’ to two pensioners [...] has been jailed.
space case (n.) (also space cookie, space ghost)

a crazy person.

[US]Eble Campus Sl. Mar. 6: space case – person lacking common sense.
[US]A. Maupin Further Tales of the City (1984) 87: I am such a space case.
[US]Eble Campus Sl. Mar. 5: space cookie – person who is out of touch.
[UK]J. Mowry Six Out Seven (1994) 358: So, what the fuck is he, man? Some sorta space-case like Beamer?
[US]Eble Campus Sl. Apr. 8: space ghost – someone who is unaware of what’s going on.
S. Macpherson She Woke Up Married 85: She was a total space case teaching us art. I swear she was on acid.
[US]C. Hiaasen Star Island (2011) 28: I was a peculiar gig, working as an undercover stunt double for a celebrity space case.
spaceman (n.)

(Aus. prison/US) one who is intoxicated on drugs; depending on context, an eccentric or madman.

[US]P. Crump Burn, Killer, Burn! 320: ‘Hey you there, space man – come here!’ [He] crooked a commanding finger at the junkie.
[US]W.D. Ehrhart Passing Time (1988) 6: ‘Hey, spaceman,’ said Roger.
[Aus]Tupper & Wortley Aus. Prison Sl. Gloss. 🌐 Space man. A crazy or intoxicated (especially drugs) prisoner.
[US]W.D. Myers Monster 149: When he shows, he shows correct but sometime he act like a spaceman or something.
space pill (n.) (also space biscuit)

(drugs) MDMA.

[UK]J.J. Connolly Layer Cake 235: Those space pills, I want to buy them, how much?
Greater Manchester Police Police and Schools Liaison Programme 🌐 Street names [...] Space Biscuits, Disco Biscuits, Pink Smarties, China White, M25’s, Triple XXX, Dove, ‘E’, Love Doves, M and M’s, MDMA, Shamrocks, X, XTC, Adam.

In phrases

General uses

In compounds

space opera (n.) [on model of soap opera n. or horse opera under horse n.]

(US) an SF or outer space drama film; also attrib.

[UK]Sat. Rev. Lit. (US) 24 Dec. 7: No less than eight of this year’s crop of science-fiction novels are what is known in the trade as ‘space operas’—books built round the theme of interplanetary travel.
[UK]Sat. Rev. Lit. (US) 17 June 32: He tells a better story and tells it better than any of the other three writers who have entries in the ‘space opera’ category this spring.