The Babylon Project

"Shooting a senior officer is an act of treason and mutiny. The penalty is spacing. They put you in an airlock, seal it and open the space door. You spend the next five minutes chewing vacuum until your lungs turn inside out, your eye balls freeze and your heart explodes. It's the worst kind of death you can imagine."

Garibaldi to Jack

Spacing is a human colloquial term used to describe death by exposure to vacuum by way of explosive decompression into open space.[1]

Spacing was the Earth Alliance's preferred means of execution, though only two crimes carried this form of death penalty: mutiny and treason.[2] Considered to be a particularly gruesome means of death, spacing was thought to be an effective deterrent.[3]

When he was 17, Stephen Franklin and some friends were on a transport on the Moon-Mars run when one of them decided to hide in an airlock, hoping to jump out and surprise them. He accidentally pushed the wrong button, blowing himself out into space. Stephen watched him gasping for air as he died and when they eventually pulled the body in, he noticed the eyes were frozen. The incident so unnerved him that he'd later say whenever anybody joked about spacing someone he never found it very funny.[4]