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Thrown Out the Airlock

Throwing someone out a spaceship or space station's airlock without a suit, or as some universes call it, "spacing," or simply "airlocking," is a common method of killing someone in sci-fi works involving space travel. This one is usually reserved as a last-ditch effort to get rid of a bad guy, though certain Captains (especially Space Pirates) have been known to use this as a method of execution. By all accounts, getting exposed to the hard vacuum of space is not a pleasant way to die, and the effects of this on the body are covered in much more detail on the Explosive Decompression page. A somewhat crueler version involves giving the executed a spacesuit with enough air to let them last a while so they can fully appreciate their upcoming death.

An odd bit of Hollywood Science regarding getting Thrown Out the Airlock is that it always causes the victim to be violently sucked out into space. In Real Life, a pressure difference of a single atmosphere would not cause very much suction and would happen almost instantly rather than cause the prolonged gale-force winds that seems to always happen in the movies. Granted, there would be a rather fast stream when the cover starts to open, but by the time it opens enough for someone to exit, the wind slows down (and the pressure drops). As airlocks are, in the vast majority of cases, intended for scenarios other than "jump out before the ship explodes", they will likely be designed to minimize air loss. This includes having air lock chambers as small as possible and some foolproof measures to ensure that both doors of the sluice will not open at once. Which means there's simply not enough air to have a long wind. Also, there's no reason to give any airlock a powerful instantly-opening door if it's not an evacuation exit or torpedo tube — it's more likely to have the air slowly pumped out (or, more likely, pumped back into the ship) before opening. We don't want those maintenance guys to drop crates every time they exit, right?

See The Coconut Effect and Reality Is Unrealistic. Not to be confused with Recycled INSPACE!

Appropriate, given that Space Is an Ocean, and parallels can be drawn with keelhauling or walking the plank. Note that the loss of oxygen from the ship's system will never be a problem no matter how much you do it. May result in Dramatic Space Drifting.

Since this is a Death Trope, beware of spoilers.


Examples

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    Anime and Manga 
  • In one episode of Cowboy Bebop, Spike spaces a rogue refrigerator. Notably, the Hollywood Science aspects of the trope were averted as the would-be spacee had to be physically kicked out of the ship when air movement proved insufficient to do the job.
  • Benten of Cyber City Oedo 808 tries this against the main bad guy of his focus episode, who is a vampire. It doesn't work.
  • Louis from Mujin Wakusei Survive.
  • In Trigun, a human who bullied Rem, Vash and Knives and tried to kill the twins dies like this.
  • Happens in the original Gaiking series, to the wife of an alien enemy some time before their daughter is shot to death and he's brainwashed into becoming Darius's minion..
  • In Victory Gundam, whenever the Angel Halo fortress was hit in the Grand Finale, many of the "physickers" inside of it (Newtypes acting as the "power batteries" for the Halo itself got thrown into space without spacesuits and died.
    • Also, the "thrown into space in a spacesuit with few days worth of air" version was applied to Dark Action Girl Fuala Griffon. She was rescued in the nick of time via orders of the local Starscream Tassilo Vargo, but her almost unexistant mental stability was fully gone by that point.
    • In the backstory of G Gundam, Canada's future Gundam Fighter Andrew Graham lost his wife Norma to decompression during an attack by Space Pirates lead by Russia's future Gundam Fighter, Argo Gulskii. Though Argo was actually trying to save her, but wasn't fast enough to do so.
  • In the backstory of Trinity Blood, Cain gets thrown out an airlock by his siblings. Not only does he survive being spaced, he (eventually) recovers from re-entering Earth's atmosphere. From space.
  • Irresponsible Captain Tylor. "The Day the Soyokaze Vanished". The ship is haunted by the ghost of the previous captain who killed himself out of grief when several members of his crew committed suicide by jumping out the airlock; he tries to make Captain Tylor follow suit.
  • In Dragon Ball Z, King Cold gets infuriated by one of his minions suggesting that Frieza didn't survive Namek's explosion and shatters a window to get the minion sucked into space. The minion actually survives this.

    Comic Books 
  • As part of a plan to fight aliens with 'bring one back to life' über-technology, Cyclops of the X-Men throws himself out an airlock into space and dies. Intentionally. Knowing he lacks (and will lack) access to his powers. That's how much of a badass he is.
  • Mystek of the Justice League Task Force was Thrown Out the Airlock due to a tag-team combo of Executive Meddling and the resulting Creator Breakdown. As writer Christopher Priest explains at his website:
    We eventually introduced a character named Mystek, but I killed her off when her miniseries was not approved. Mystek was supposed to be a creator-owned character, developed under a first-look deal, and I was instructed to put her into JLTF to introduce her to the fans in preparation for her miniseries. Then there was no series, so I shoved her out an airlock in JLTF #32.
  • In the Marvel Star Wars series, one story has Darth Vader giving an admiral one of his famous performance reviews aboard the "Tarkin" (Death Star superlaser without the Death Star). He tells the admiral to go for a walk in the "fresh air." Later, a tech notices an airlock cycling all by itself. Vader: "Curious, no doubt a faulty mechanism!"
  • In The Adventures of Tintin: Explorers on the Moon Wolff commits suicide by airlock so the others have enough oxygen to make it back to earth.
  • X-23 has the "give them just enough air" variation done to her by an intergalactic pack rat who wants to add her adamantium claws, Hellion's metal hands, and the Richards kids to his collection. He sends her out in a spacesuit with an insufficient power and oxygen supply to retrieve the kids when they're accidentally spaced (the kids are protected by life support pods), fully intending for her to die from vacuum exposure so he could retrieve her claws afterwards. Just as he planned, the space suit (actually a device that projects an energy shield around her body to maintain oxygen and pressure) runs out of power once she reaches the kids, and in short order Laura succumbs to vacuum exposure. Unfortunately, he failed to account for Valeria's genius, Julian's telekinesis, and Laura's own Healing Factor. Laura is successfully rescued and quickly puts an end to his plot.

    Film 
  • Alien and Aliens end with the xenomorph getting blown out a ship's airlock.
    • In Alien: Resurrection, the monster is not simply shoved bodily out of an airlock, but sucked into the vacuum of space through a small broken port window. It was not pretty.
  • In Event Horizon, Justin almost kills himself messily this way when the titular ship takes him over.
  • James Bond does this to Hugo Drax after shooting him with a poison dart in Moonraker.
  • Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me. Austin Powers ejects Mini-Me from a moonbase toilet into the void of space. He recovers just fine after Dr. Evil retrieves him.
  • The Sean Connery movie Outland features a doped-up asteroid miner doing this to himself in the opening minutes.
  • A Martian tries to do this to Santa and the kids in Santa Claus Conquers the Martians; it doesn't work. Note that Santa escapes from the airlock through the ventilation duct.
  • There are three notable airlock scenes in Sunshine. In the first, Icarus Two has decoupled from Icarus One, wrenching the airlock open. There's only one spacesuit, and with no means of repressurizing the damaged airlock they can't just send over more suits. Capa (the person most critical to the mission) is placed inside the spacesuit while the others wrap themselves in thermal insulation. With two men holding onto Capa's spacesuit, the door is opened (manually by a crew member who has to stay behind) and the outrush of air blasts them in the direction of Icarus Two's airlock which is twenty metres away. One crew member strikes part of the spaceship and is knocked free of their grasp; the others survive.
    • In the second incident Capa is locked in Icarus Two's airlock by mad Captain Pinbacker. Capa burns a hole in the inside door with an oxy torch (kept in the airlock as part of the EVA repair kit), then straps himself to the wall and fires the explosive bolts in the outside door. The force of the air inside the spaceship trying to escape through the small hole is enough to wrench the inside door off its hinges.
    • Plus there's a third airlock incident not long after this. Capa has just separated the payload from Icarus II and is making his way to the airlock when he trips in his heavy spacesuit. The boosters will fire in four minutes; he is able to get to his feet again, but the payload has already separated. He must leap from one airlock to the other and climb inside before the boosters fire.
  • Happens to a couple of alien mooks in Galaxy Quest, prompting Tony Shalhoub's character to mention that the door was a little sticky and he'd send a couple of his boys up with a can of WD-40.
  • Subverted in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy movie: Prefect and Dent stand in the Vogon airlock while klaxons sound, facing the standard giant, ominous-looking space door, waiting for it to open and send them to their doom. Nothing happens. Then a tiny and inconspicuous Trap Door opens under them instead.
  • In Jimmy Neutron Boy Genius, during the part where the Yolkians find Jimmy's 'toaster', the one who delivered it to the King was 'spaced' because he entered the throne room unannounced.
  • General Grievous does this to himself in Star Wars Episode III, but in order to escape the Jedi (he can survive in space, and had a grappling hook that allowed him to reattach to the ship). Blast panels come down soon after to prevent others from getting sucked out.
  • In 2001: A Space Odyssey, HAL 9000 kills Frank Poole by maneuvering his space pod and using the gripper arms while he is on EVA to replace the AE-35 unit. David Bowman rushes out in another pod to rescue his fellow astronaut, but in his haste neglects to take a helmet for his pressure suit. When HAL refuses to open the pod bay doors so Bowman can reenter Discovery, Since Bowman lacks a helmet, he has to throw himself out of the airlock in order to regain entry into the spaceship. He is able to open the outer door of the airlock with the gripper arms, but the pod hatch does not mate with the door completely. Bowman blows the explosive bolts on the hatch, tucks down and is blown into the airlock. In seconds, he is able to shut the outer door manually and repressurize the airlock. Although this scene is perfectly plausible, despite Explosive Decompression, Bowman inhales and holds his breath right before the hatch blows, which is the wrong thing to do. This may have been a mistake by actor Keir Dullea, however.
    • Arthur C. Clarke reportedly said that if he had been on the set that day, he would have corrected this.
  • Though not technically through an airlock, a nameless female officer was spaced through a hull breach in the 2009 Star Trek.
  • This is how Scroop actually kills Mr. Arrow in Disney's Treasure Planet. Later, Jim actually kills Scroop the same way as revenge for Mr. Arrow's murder.
    • Technically, it was into a black hole, as space in the Treasure Planet universe has air.
  • In Men In Black III, Boris shoots the ceiling of the Moon prison Lunar Max to let his guards be sucked out out of the hole... along with the would-be girlfriend that freed him.
  • In the 1972 low-budget sci-fi film Doomsday Machine, two crew members are killed this way by unlocking the airlock by accident (thanks to an easily pressed button) during an attempted rape.

    Literature 
  • Parodied in the first MAD Magazine Star Trek parody "Star Bleech" In 1967. Kirk tries to solve the problems of the alien of the week by having him. 'accidently' slip on a banana peel out a porthole.
  • the Motie miner encountered in "The Mote in God's Eye" does this with his passengers, for reasons which become an important plot point later on. There is a later variation when Horace Bury kills the Watchmakers by breaking their faceplate during the crossing to Lenin
  • Ford and Arthur in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. They survived the airlock toss thanks to the Infinite Improbability Drive, in a surreal scene involving detached limbs, penguins, and an infinite number of monkeys using an infinite number of typewriters. It's kind of hard to explain.
    • Which is probably why the film replaced it with a less "odd" scene involving sofas.
    • However, the BBC television adaptation, despite its much smaller budget, portrayed the scene much closer to the book.
  • In Ben Bova's Venus, this is turned Up to Eleven by Captain Fuchs, who places rebelling crew members onboard a faulty escape pod and ejects it, leading to an extremely painful and messy Explosive Decompression.
  • A threat used repeatedly in Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan Saga.
    • In The Vor Game, Oser orders Miles and co thrown out of an airlock to eliminate them quickly, rather than let Miles have time to take over as he had before. It didn't work.
    • In Falling Free, a character tries to commit suicide this way. Fortunately enough, her friend got there in time and jammed the airlock shut.
    • At the end of Komarr, Ekaterin and her aunt are being held hostage in an airlock, partly to enable this threat and partly so Ekaterin can't get out and wreck the hostage-takers' plans again.
  • Used in Tom Godwin's short story "The Cold Equations". In this specific instance, contra the general rule above, the air lost due to the spacing would probably have been closely calculated since the girl needs to be spaced or the ship won't make it to its destination.
  • Robert A. Heinlein uses this in:
    • The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress, except that the airlock is for the city's pressure enclosure, not on a ship.
    • Rocket Ship Galileo: one of the heroes threatens to do this to a Nazi prisoner to get him to talk. He has to partially carry it out before the Nazi cracks.
    • The Rolling Stones, but here it is a trope used by various family members when plotting and writing scripts for a successful commercial space opera serving as an income source for the family, the original scripts having been written by the Grandma character Hazel Mead Stone.
    • Time Enough for Love, Lazarus Long tells a story how he ended up staying years - long enough for his babies to be grown men - on a planet because the government confiscated his ship, and it took that long to make enough money to buy a replacement ship. Also, that planet is a slaver, planet, where slavery and slave trading are legal, something Lazarus detests, badly. So, when he's about to leave, the Protector of Servants (the Chief Slave Overseer for the planetary government's slave management department) gets suspicious when Lazarus and his entire family decide to a "pre-flight inspection" (before slaves are loaded) and tags along to the inspection, probably suspicious they might not pay all taxes owed before leaving. Lazarus does a take off almost immediately after everyone is aboard, and jettisons anything and everything out of the ship that would indicate it was prepared to be used for carrying slaves. He also spaces the Protector of Servants. "Alive. He went that-a-way, eyed bugged out of his head and peeing blood. What did you expect me to do, kiss him?"
  • In Black Fleet Crisis, a trilogy of Star Wars novels, the main villain is ejected into hyperspace after the slaves on his flagship mutiny. They send him in an escape pod, but without a method of reversion to realspace, the end result is the same. This was done on the premise that regular "spacing", or any other form of execution that the killer could think of for that matter, would be too quick. The executioner had been enslaved for decades by the villain in question and seen most of his comrades brutally murdered, so it's no surprise that he wanted to get the most out of his revenge.
    • Another Star Wars novel, Legacy of the Force: Exile, has, halfway through the book, a brainwashed space admiral open up all the doors on a ship that needed to be gotten rid of. All the airlocks and vents and everything. Everyone loses their air, except for the admiral, who is ensconced on the spare bridge. The insane admiral had done all this after overhearing some code words the Captain used (then killing him).
    • A book in the X-Wing Series has some of this trope used, when the big viewport at the bridge is breached. The sucking-air effect happens, but there's also an automated system to seal the doors after a bit so that the rest of the ship can function in battle, usually with surviving officers commanding from the auxiliary bridge. In the case of this book, the people who didn't get sucked into space try to leave by that door before it closes, find that the air blasts through much harder from that point, and get saved by Chewbacca holding it open and pulling them through.
    • Played with when Grand Moff Tarkin hears that an officer has been spreading (partially true) rumors that Admiral Dalaa was sleeping with the Moff for her position; he jettisons the officer into space in low orbit around the planet in a spacesuit and leaves the suit's comlink on so the rest of the ship can hear his final moments as he plunges into the atmosphere and burns up.
    • A few times in Galaxy of Fear: The Nightmare Machine, though it happens at a space station and is a simulation anyway.
    • In one of the original Han Solo books (Han Solo At Stars End), Han determines that one of the people on his ship is The Mole. The traitor flees, hoping to find a place on the Falcon where he can hole up... but stumbles into the airlock instead. Once he gets the information he needs (and the captive has tried to claim Solo's Not So Different) and finds time to quip that it's just as well he stumbled into the airlock since he would've ended up there anyway, Han just hits the button.
      • In addition, they were in hyperspace and his body was annihilated once he left the Falcon's protective field.
  • In Honor Harrington, using this method of execution is rightly regarded as an unforgivable atrocity. Pirates do it regularly, of course (there is NO romanticisation of piracy in that universe). Slavers one-up them with ships designed to efficiently space every prisoner aboard in the event of boarding or mutiny. Just getting caught with such a ship - regardless of any evidence that it's ever actually carried slaves - is enough to be shot. A slaver ship's true purpose is impossible to hide from the inside, so if they're boarded and don't have a cargo of slaves they're assumed to have spaced them beforehand and as such are automatically guilty of mass-murder. In the book where this is stated, one slaver captain, while flying without a cargo, muses that it would be better to get caught with a full load of slaves; slaving will just get the whole crew life in prison, whereas being charged with mass-murder will get them all shot on the spot.
    • A few of the "Good Guys" feel that spacing pirates is appropriate, as something of a retribution; the rest, however, feel these people are treading severely into Knight Templar territory. One captain in the series promises to kick a bunch of pirates out an airlock, and is met with horrified reactions until he clarifies that of course he'll shoot them first. The airlock is just a fittingly callous way of disposing of their worthless bodies; spacing is too cruel to inflict on anyone.
      • Indeed, he considers putting a pulser dart in their heads an act of mercy that the pirates don't deserve. Granted, what the pirates had done to a pair of Manticoran merchants would be enough to make anyone want to show them the door.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin manages to use the trope despite being a fantasy setting. One castle, built atop a huge mountain, has a door in the throne room that leads directly outside the walls. This is the door unwanted visitors exit through.
    • Played straight in his sci-fi horror story Nightflyer. Two passengers on the eponymous spaceship try to find out more about their mysterious and unseen captain by hacking into the ship's computer, only to have an Oh Crap moment when they realise the corridor has just been sealed and the cargo-loading hatch above their heads is opening. As they're traveling at superlight speed, the resulting explosion rips them apart and causes major damage to the ship. The survivors correctly assume that this was no accident.
  • Chasm City by Alastair Reynolds. Two incompetent medics accused of causing the death of their captain are executed this way, with the air being slowly vented from the airlock to increase their suffering. Actually it was the Villain Protagonist who murdered the captain, simply taking advantage of the men's carelessness.
  • In the Lensman series, Boskone-affiliated pirates routinely space the crews and passengers of ships that resist capture. (Except for any post-pubescent females, of course.)
  • The same spacing incident from the film also happens in the book version of 2001: A Space Odyssey. However, in the third sequel, 3001: The Final Odyssey, the body of Frank Poole (one of the spaced astronauts) is discovered floating in space. Thanks to the advanced technology of 3001, he is revived, making him of the few non-superpowered individuals to survive spacing.
  • In Star Trek: Typhon Pact, the Gorn Hegemony is shown to practice this as a form of execution. The prisoner is entitled to an official trial, but that doesn't stop some commanders spacing traitors there and then. In the novel Seize the Fire, the Gorn technologist S'syrixx is thrown out the airlock, having been found guilty of sabotage.
  • In Jack McDevitt's Infinity Beach, Solly tries to blow the Shroud out of the Hammersmith's airlock, explaining that he Saw It in a Movie Once. But unlike in Alien, it doesn't work.
  • In the fourth Animorphs book, two Controllers are overheard saying the Visser has been receiving some distant thought-speak message (the same Cassie and Tobias have been hearing, which turns out to be Ax on the ocean floor), and had a thrown Hork-Bajir out the airlock for breaking his concentration.
    • The Visser's host, Alloran is even worse. In the Andalite Chronicles he finds thousands of helpless hostless Yeerks in a transport they were sneaking on. Alloran not only wants to space them but tries to force rookie Elfangor to do it as a lesson in war. Elfangor refuses and the opportunity passes. Alloran's response? Forgo retrieving the Time Matrix in favor of hiding out for days morphing and demorphing watching the ship for the chance to do it again. And he very nearly gets his wish. He does make Elfangor toss a single Hork-Bajir out the airlock (albeit in atmosphere, not that it mattered at their altitude). Elfangor himself spaces a starving Yeerk later (in stasis to spare it starving to death but he does make sure to eject it close to a star...) Finally, the newly promoted Visser Thirty-two (now in Alloran's head, ironically) is almost a victim of it when he tries to board Elfangor's ship leaving the lot of them on a depowered vessel heading for a black hole.
  • The Red Vixen Adventures: "I Fought the Claw and the Claw Won" starts with Greycoat about to be spaced and reflecting on how he ended up like that. In the end Melanie decides to indenture him to a brothel instead. And earlier in Captive of the Red Vixen Melanie almost seemed to mention spacing some of the psychopaths in her ship's original crew when she became captain.

    Live Action TV 
  • In the Firefly episode "Ariel", Mal almost does this to Jayne for ratting Simon and River out to the Feds on Ariel for the reward money. Jayne fearfully states that this "ain't no way for a man to die," and though Jayne wanted both of the Tams off the ship for a variety of reasons, as Mal vehemently points out during the confrontation, "you turn on any of my crew, you turn on me!"
    • In addition, Mal threatens to do this to Simon in the pilot if he fails to save Kaylee, who is laid up with a nasty gunshot wound after being accidentally shot by the Fed trying to bring Simon in, since Simon had refused to treat her unless Mal got them away from the Feds:
      Simon: What about us?
      Mal: Kaylee comes through, you and your sister get off at Whitefall.
      Simon: If she doesn't come through?
      Mal: Well, then you're gettin' off a mite sooner.
    • In the Serenity tabletop RPG, getting thrown out an airlock is instant death.
  • Almost happens to Harlan in the second episode of Space Cases.
  • The new version of Battlestar Galactica turned the word "airlock" into a verb. This is the standard method of execution, usually employed to deal with Cylons and suspected Cylon collaborators. Laura Roslin is often referred to as "Madame Airlock" because of her fondness for this method of dealing with undesirables. More recently, Cally Tyrol was murdered by a Cylon in this fashion.
    • Often, it is not the airlock that is used, but Galactica's launch tubes - usually used for launching the ship's Vipers. which justifies the long tube with a quick-opening door at the end.
    • Additionally, Cally and Chief Tyrol have to airlock themselves in order to be rescued by a Raptor when escaping from a faulty airlock.
    • Col. Tigh volunteers to be airlocked simply to put the screws to D'Anna's plan to coerce the Final Five Cylons out of hiding. Thankfully, Colonel Badass doesn't take the threatened "express ride into the vacuum," but an inconsequential Colonial pilot does—tossed out into space, ironically, by D'Anna.
    • Another variation, seen in "Blood On The Scales" is to have the person or persons killed while in the launch tube, which would then be opened. Execution and burial, all in one.
  • Babylon 5:
    • A character is threatened with execution by spacing after it is discovered that he shot Garibaldi in the back. A character in another episode is actually (hyper)spaced by Bester and another Psi-Cop.
    • In the reporter-visit episode "And Now For A Word," Dr. Franklin describes an incident when he was a kid where he and one of his friends were playing a game and the friend hid in an airlock. He was accidentally ejected and killed, and as a result, Franklin never laughs at jokes about putting people out of the airlock.
    • A species who're into Alien Abduction also space their captives when Ivanova and Delenn catch up with them. Needless to say, the aliens quickly die for this atrocity.
    • G'Kar's first aide, Ko'Dath, is offhandedly mentioned to have died in a freak airlock accident (off-screen, in between episodes) when her replacement arrives (her actress refused to return to the show due to the heavy makeup demanded by Narns causing her problems). G'Kar's tone indicates that he suspected foul play, but it's not confirmed.
    • The Card Game turned this one-note joke into a card called "Airlock mishap", which deals 2 damage to every ambassador's aide in the game. Notably, it's instantly fatal for all the starting aides except Ivanova, and can be a real pain if said Aide isn't in your inner circle yet.
    • In a Crowning Moment of Funny from the season four episode "The Illusion of Truth", Sheridan calls Ivanova on threatening to space a nosy EarthGov reporter. His objection wasn't to the threat, but that she didn't mention that the reporter was to be stripped naked before being spaced, in order to save his clothes for use on a station that's short on supplies due to a trade embargo.
    • Another CMOF: when Sheridan spaces a teddy bear, which is later encountered by Keffer.
  • Star Trek examples:
    • At one point in Enterprise's Xindi arc, a prisoner refuses to take Captain Archer's threats seriously, so Archer sticks him in the airlock and starts venting out the air. He makes a convincing enough show that the prisoner gives in; we're left to wonder how far Archer might have gone otherwise.
      • Archer spaced himself in one episode to escape a space station that was moments away from emptying its stores of deadly viruses into the ventilation system. He was beamed onto the ship moments after clearing the airlock.
      • The evil Mirror Universe Archer threatens to space T'Pol if she betrays him — in that case there's no doubt he would carry out his threat.
    • The above scene hit many of the same notes as one in Voyager's "Equinox, Part II", with Captain Janeway as the increasingly obsessive interrogator, and a room open to alien attacks as the airlock. The big difference is that Janeway didn't back down — Chakotay intervened to save the prisoner. This scene earned Janeway a "Madame Airlock" reputation well before Roslin.
      • Early, on, the Kazon, after stealing a working transporter from Voyager, used it to space to rival Kazon leaders. The Voyager crew initially assumed they just couldn't use it correctly until Neelix identified the pair.
    • In Deep Space Nine's "Covenant," Gul Dukat spaces a follower who's become inconvenient.
      • Kira threatens to space Quark 'if I ever get my hands on that little troll!' in one second season episode.
      • In "The Nagus", Quark is nearly thrown out an airlock by his brother Rom.
      • In "Defiant", Will Riker actually Thomas Riker, tells Sisko that Dr. Crusher practically pushed him out an airlock in order to get him to go on shore leave.
    • In the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode 'Contagion', it is reported that eighteen people were killed when the Yamato's computer shut down the forcefield in an open shuttle bay. It turns out they were just dying early to avoid the rush..
  • In the Stargate SG-1 episode "Company of Thieves", Vala does this to a Lucian Alliance goon who was about to kill Samantha Carter, albeit without an airlock: She uses a damaged Asgard transporter to beam him into space, albeit not on purpose - they didn't know where the goon had been transported to until they looked out the window.
    • In the episode "Tangent", Jack O'Neill and Teal'c have to do this to themselves (ie. leave their ship without suits) in order to be evacuated to another ship with a Ring Transporter. They survive unharmed.
    • In "Prometheus", Jack and Teal'c use this method on the eponymous ship to get rid of the Goa'uld-infested Colonel Simmons.
    • In a low-atmosphere example, SG-1 used a ring transporter to beam out a Kull warrior hey couldn't stop otherwise. His death was presumably messy.
  • In the Stargate Atlantis episode "Travelers", Larrin threatens to drop Sheppard out of Hangar Bay, going as far as opening the doors, leaving him standing on a force shield. Though she doesn't actually voice the threat beyond saying "Don't worry. You're safe as long as the force shield doesn't malfunction, and that almost never happens." Her crew previously state they assume she blew the last man who disappointed her out into space, though this could simply be posturing.
    • This is one of the ways the Wraith virus controlling the Daedalus likes to kill people in the episode "The Intruder". It spaces an unfortunate Red Shirt, and tries to do the same to McKay and Sheppard, leading to an amusing Oh Crap moment before they realize that they are protected by a force field.
    • Also done to Niam in Progeny. Since Asurans don't need to breathe, it doesn't actually kill him, but he's left floating in high orbit around the planet.
  • Done by a doctor in Lexx, to a patient whose bank account he's finished sucking dry even though there was nothing wrong with her in the first place.
  • An episode of Farscape had a kamikaze baddie that could magnetically attach herself to metal, and guide some Negative Space Wedgie missile. At the end of the episode, after she escapes her cage and attaches herself to a wall, Crighton nonchalantly informs her that she attached herself to an airlock, and a detachable one to boot. Moments later, the airlock itself is thrown out, taking her with it.
    • D'Argo is accidentally spaced when he is ejected from Moya in "They've Got a Secret", however due to his Luxan physiology, he survives. Over the course of the series, most of Moya's crew (save Aeryn, Zhaan and Sikozu) find themselves spaced (unintentionally or intentionally), but all survive with little if any ill effects. Most notably, during the "Look at the Princess" trilogy Crichton spaces himself without any form of spacesuit or protection in a desperate attempt to escape a doomed spacecraft, and is able to survive for more than a minute before he is able to get himself on board a nearby craft. The only ill effects are frostbite-like symptoms that are virtually shrugged off a few scenes later.
  • The Doctor only takes Adam Mitchell home after he royally screws up, and Adam says "Blimey. I thought you were gonna chuck me out of an airlock." Not that the TARDIS has one as it could generate an atmosphere in vacuum.
    • Also, in the episode Midnight, after the Hostess realizes that Sky has been possessed by the unseen entity, she grabs her, opens the door and let the truck's safety system throw them both into the vacuum. Note that the door was the one that leads to the cockpit (which has been torn apart from the rest of the truck earlier), hence the lack of airlock. The actual exit door (which has an airlock) is located at the back of the truck.
    • And earlier in 42, where the ship's captain opens the airlock deliberately to send her and her possessed husband into space. It was something of a Tear Jerker.
    • And then in The Time of Angels, River Song throws herself out of an airlock with intent to land in the TARDIS, to whose occupants she has just given the coordinates via Timey-Wimey Ball. Don't worry, the TARDIS has the capability to create an "air corridor".
      • The worrying part is that she is trusting her life to the Doctor eventually finding her message - which he does, 12,000 years later. One of the nice things of the Timey-Wimey Ball is that it is never too late for a retroactive Big Damn Heroes moment.
    • In the classic story "The Daleks' Master Plan", short-lived companion Katarina spaces herself as a Heroic Sacrifice to kill the homicidal psychopath who's holding her hostage.
    • In "Dinosaurs On A Spaceship," the pirate Solomon did this to the crew of a Silurian ark he came across. All several thousand of them.
    • In the classic story "Planet of Evil," one of the cliffhangers has the Doctor and Sarah in the process of being conveyed out the airlock by one of the spaceship officers, who thinks the Doctor and Sarah are responsib;e for the story's high body count.
  • Blake's 7. Servalan leaves a magnetic bomb in the airlock of Warlord Zukan's spacecraft. Zukan sends in his aide to remove it, blowing him out the airlock the moment he detaches the bomb from the metal wall. Unfortunately the bomb explodes at that point fatally crippling the spacecraft, so the warlord dies anyway.
    • In another episode, Avon tries to airlock Vila when they're both stuck on an escape pod that needs to lose a lot of weight quickly to avoid crashing. Things get... pretty dark before an alternative solution is found.
  • The '80's revival of The Twilight Zone had an episode where this is threatened to a stowaway on a ship.
    • Not just threatened... It actually happened.
  • In Defiance this apparently happened to Datak's romantic rival. "Accidentally" of course.
  • In Space: 1999: End of Eternity, this is how the villain of the week is dispatched. The airlock was on the Moon rather than in space, and the villain's final resting place is glossed over: given his Healing Factor, it could be an And I Must Scream situation.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Classic Traveller Adventure 1 "The Kinunir". In the scenario "The Lost Ship", the title starship's A.I. became paranoid and evacuated the ship to vacuum, killing the crew and blowing their bodies into space. The PC's can find several bodies near a small asteroid.
  • In Fading Suns this is what happens to you when you piss off the Guilders.
  • The Imperial Navy of Warhammer 40K prescribes this as a punishment for many, many offenses.
  • The expansion of the Battlestar Galactica board games lets you do this (fittingly), but for some reason, only from the Pegasus One, even though the Viper launching tubes are on the Battlestar Galactica.
    • I figured it was what automatically happened to the Cylon when he was revealed, considering he goes to the Resurrection ship immediately.
  • Eclipse Phase
    • Some of the background fiction in the rulebook has a reference to using the airlock to Shoot the Dog - but if you're going to stop someone from infecting others with the Exsurgent virus, well, hard vacuum is grimly convenient.
    • In the starting adventure included in the "quick start" PDF there's a point where the PCs have to jump out an airlock, vacsuits optional. Game effect, some stress points when they download into their next morphs.

    Toys 
  • In BIONICLE, Teridax teleports Miserix, Helryx, Hafu, Kapura, Tuyet, Artahka, Brutaka and Axonn out into space. Fortunately, Lewa managed to interfere with the process and get himself teleported too, so he could create a large air bubble so that everyone could breathe.

    Video Games 
  • Conkers Bad Fur Day throws an alien out an airlock, blatantly spoofing the scene from Alien.
  • Once they get their hands on jump pad-less transporters, teleporting people into space becomes the favored punishment by rampant AIs in the Marathon series.
    • The player does this to a pair of Pfhor Enforcers in one level of the Game Mod Tempus Irae, only to get thrown into space by an explosion shortly afterwards.
  • The player can toss just about anything out the airlock in the game Creatures 3, from random trash you don't want lying around to living creatures. Sometimes the latter will accidentally throw itself out the airlock by crawling inside and pressing the button, thus proving that artificial life is not the same as artificial intelligence.
  • Used to interesting effect in Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, where the chaotic first level features space pirates and federation troopers being sucked out of damaged airlocks and holes in the ship (there's a bonus for getting the blast doors down in time to save one trooper). Samus also ends up being shot out of an airlock, then manages to get back inside through another.
  • In Jedi Outcast, on the Cairn installation, the player can depressurize an entire hangar bay, sucking at least five poor bastards out with gale-force speed.
    • Later on, on the Doomgiver, there are 3 full hangars packed with pilots and stormtroopers that you can send flying into space. Of course, you can also do it to yourself - by accident.
  • In Live A Live, you can do this to yourself in Cube's chapter and get a Game Over. It also almost happens (by accident) in the story, after a crew member goes insane.
  • If you manage to find the Comm Satellite secret level of Quake II, you'll notice a threshold with danger markings at the beginning of the level. Beyond the threshold is a stash of goodies placed conveniently near an opened airlock. Do the math.
  • In Lemmings 2: The Tribes, automatic airlock doors are a deathtrap that the Space Tribe must avoid.
  • In the 1990s Alien vs. Predator PC game, Marine players had to beat the Queen by airlocking her.
  • In Mass Effect 2, while in the strip club Afterlife on Omega, Aria's batarian bodyguard threatens to "toss your sorry ass out the nearest airlock" if you forget who's really in charge (hint: it's Aria).
    • During Jacob's romance, he points out that "one-nighting the Commander is a good way to get airlocked". Which brings into question the fact that by the third game, he hooks up with someone else regardless of said romance. He also suggests doing this to Legion rather than activating them.
    • Happens to Shepard at the start of the second game when the Normandy SR-1 is destroyed.
    • This is how the Collectors are finally purged from the Normandy during the attack, and it is brought up as an option if something goes wrong while opening Grunt's pod.
    • Non-living being example, Shepherd can jettison a compacted garbage cube in Zaeed's quarters.
    • In Mass Effect 3, when Javik learns of Legion, he settles for nothing less than having it spaced. He also threatens Joker with this when the latter insists the former call himself "Prothy the Prothean." Suffice to say, it quickly became a meme for Javik to throw anything he doesn't like out the airlock.
    • At one point in the Citadel DLC, Shepard gets in on the act as well. While caught in a trap, (s)he can make a series of increasingly colorful threats to the villains, culminating in, "Then, I'm going to take both your heads and space them out the airlock!" If Javik is in your party at the time, he'll mutter, "Finally!"
  • In Little Big Adventure 2, on the Emerald Moon, you can trick one of the Franco guards inside the base into following you into the airlock, then put on your space suit, which automatically opens the outer door. Bye-bye, Franco guard.
  • In the in-game tutorial for Star Trek Online, you are required to space a number of Borg drones by teleporting them into a corridor that is open to space, though safely on the other side of an atmospheric Force Field from where you are standing.
  • The first level of the Episode IV room of LEGO Star Wars gives players the opportunity to space as many Imperials as you have time for during a level replay.
  • Mentioned in Space Quest 5. When Roger asks why the Eureka's captaincy is vacant, Droole mentions that the last captain had an "unfortunate accident" in the airlock. The nonchalant way it's written and the snarky attitude of the crew more than imply that Droole, Flo, and Cliffy arranged the "accident."
  • In episode 4 of Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People, "Dangeresque 3: The Criminal Projective", Craig (played by The Cheat) is disposed of in this way. Due to the cheap production of the film and the fact that this scene is shot in Strong Bad's basement, Craig is simply kicked into a dryer which is covered in aluminum foil to look like an airlock.
  • In the Star Wars: The Force Unleashed games, in levels set in a space environment (such as on a spacecraft), throwing someone out a window will break the window, space them, cause the ever-so-popular "gale-force winds" that will suck out anybody too close (except yourself), and then a safety door will slam down and cut off the wind.
  • Played with in Xenosaga at the beginning. You have no way of dealing damage to the gnosis, and the only way to get through a particular room, is to get up on a safe ledge, and open the airlock, but only enough to suck air out. This sucks a bunch of explosive crates towards it, as well as the gnosis. The crates explode, destroying the gnosis, and then you hit the button again to shut the airlock doors so you can continue on.
  • A variation occurs in Sonic Adventure 2, where Sonic is trapped in a pod and ejected from the Arc. We see him plummet towards Earth before exploding. Of course, he survives and comes back just in time to fight Shadow for the second time.
  • This is the whole point of the Flash game Evacuation. The airlocks are color-coded so you have to devise a plan that will vent the aliens without losing too many crew (either to space or the hungry aliens).
  • In Bullet Storm, Gray does this to a captured bounty hunter in the very first scene of the game.
  • Master Chief rides the bomb out of an airlock in Halo 2. In Halo: Reach, Jorge throws Noble Six out an airlock of the Covenant corvette just before the slipspace portal bomb goes off, sending Jorge, the corvette, and most of the supercarrier to oblivion.
    • In one of the later stages in Halo 4, you can do this to Covenant who are trying to enter a space station through an airlock.
  • Portal 2: At the end Chell wins the fight with Wheatley by opening one portal directly under him and the other one on the surface of the Moon, sucking out everything that isn't nailed down, including the Portal Gun, Wheatley and herself. After they end up hanging on the Wheatley's cable, GLaDOS reaches her mechanical claw in, knocks Wheatley into space and, surprisingly, pulls Chell back, then seals the portal. Interestingly, it also completely justifies the "long wind" issue, as it had the entire Earth atmosphere to equalize.
  • Dead Space 2 allows a variant on this; in some sections of the Sprawl that are being renovated, the reinforced glass is replaced by a breakable variety; shooting those panels will depressurize the room and drag any necromorphs out with it. Players must be quick to hit the emergency release, or they will get sucked out as well.
  • A common way of disposing of bodies in Space Station 13, because it's probably one of the safest methods of killing.
  • Space Pirates and Zombies has this as a gameplay mechanic. Your ships can recover escape pods and incorporate the survivors into their crew pool (assuming it's below maximum). However, given you are literally enslaving these people, not all of them will be cooperative. Thus, there's a certain chance that the survivor will be spaced for being unruly, which goes down as you add points to your crew skill.
  • One of the space station levels in Double Dragon Neon has an airlock door that periodically opens and closes, which is a callback to the chopper level in the NES version of Double Dragon II.

    Webcomics 
  • Narbonic parodies "The Cold Equations" (mentioned above) in this week of strips.
  • In Schlock Mercenary, Petey dumps a bunch of Space Marines out of an airlock that wasn't there until he boarded the ship. (He didn't just cut a hole; he "installed" a complete airlock.) But the marines are all wearing Powered Armor, so they should be able to reach one of the other ships nearby.
  • In one of the fillers for S.S.D.D the misconceptions about throwing people out the airlock were addressed, apparently spacing is a slow and painful way to die and they just stay in the airlock until poked with a stick though if you have a window in the airlock you can watch them WRIGGLE!!
  • In 8-Bit Theater an old man is shoved out of an airlock, of an airship, by the heroes, for being annoying.
  • Cap'n Crosby from Far Out There is known to threaten people with this. And he'll do it, too.
  • Quentyn gets tossed into space in one Quentyn Quinn, Space Ranger strip.
  • The Gazelles in Commander Kitty do this to Nin Wah in the most inconsiderate, irresponsible, Jerk Ass way possible. After she's convicted (of not paying a hotel bill), it turns out they can't afford to lock her up due to budget cuts and instead sentence her to 15 minutes of community service. Which happens to involve cleaning up outside the space station, without a spacesuit (also due to budget cuts). Hey, they had to pay for Frank's party somehow; the guy got promoted last week!
  • Happens several times in Vexxarr, but since all but one of the crew can easily survive in hard vacuum it's usually Played for Laughs.
  • Buck Godot Zapgun For Hire: The first sign that a species isn't welcome in the Gallimaufry station's sector is their entire embassy aboard the station getting ejected into space through its airlock-roof. It also seems to be the local Sufficiently Advanced Alien's preferred execution method when he doesn't just disintegrate the offender.

    Web Original 
  • Occasionally happens to characters in Chakona Space. Though in at least one story, the appropriately named Briar Patch, the "victims" were genetically engineered to survive in vacuum the pirates whose space suits they cut open, not so much.
  • Cortana in Arby 'n' the Chief was thrown into the centre of an alien sun after a gay alien that looks suspiciously like the creator of the show's chin raped and ate her friends Travis and Todd
  • The Journal Entries subvert this with a Pendorian sculptor using her final life support layer to allow her to walk around on an airless moon of a gas giant completely naked.
  • Happens frequently in Space Tree. Usually to Allon.

    Western Animation 
  • Used in a Star Wars parody on Robot Chicken, when Vader gets rid of Jar Jar this way: "If this is the escape, then where the pod?"
    • Unfortunately for Vader, Jar Jar comes back as Force Ghost, and now Vader can't shut him up.
  • Used in Transformers: The Movie, where the heavily damaged Decepticons were thrown out into space so that Astrotrain could...well, it was bad physics, but they needed to lose weight to reach Cybertron even though they were already in space. Naturally, being machines, this didn't immediately kill them, but it was implied that eventually their batteries would run dry or they'd drift into a sun. Unicron had other plans for them.
    • How Optimus Prime defeats a heavily damaged Megatron in the first episode of Transformers Animated. It should be noted that Megatron was thrown out while entering the Earth's atmosphere, and that is quite hazardous to the health of even a Cybertronian. It takes Allspark energy to fully restore him in the first season finale.
  • Done on The Simpsons in which Homer accidentally jettisons the two presidential candidates out of Kang and Kodos' ship.
    • And deliberately when Bart and Homer's rocket (full of Earth's most irritating people) wasn't flying into the sun fast enough.
  • Happens rather accidentally to either Jeebs or his brother (Or both?) in an episode of Men In Black.
  • It also half-happened on Codename: Kids Next Door, where Cree is tricked into going into a trash-disposal pod before getting locked in and shot out.
  • Lex Luthor does this to Grodd in the next-to-last episode of Justice League Unlimited. As far as last words go, "You twisted pink rabble of a hominid, I'm not done with you! I'll get out of this and when I do...!" are some of the better ones.
    Luthor: Goodbye, Grodd. It could have gone the other way.
    Grodd: It really could have, couldn't it?
    Luthor: No; but why speak ill of the dead? (opens airlock)
    • A mook did the same thing to The Flash in a much earlier episode, luckily Green Lantern managed to rescue him in time.
  • Almost done to Eve and Wall-E from WALL•E, though they manage to stay in the ship. Of course given that they already were in space five minutes or so before, this would not have been lethal.
  • The fate of The Mole in the Wing Commander Academy episode "Red and Blue", Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves.
  • Used in Star Wars: The Clone Wars with the typical gale-force winds. Ahsoka is almost sucked out the airlock.
  • Used in Invader Zim:
    Almighty Tallest Purple: And we all remember how [Zim] messed up Operation: Impending Doom I, am I right?
    Irken among the public: I don't.
    Almighty Tallest Purple: SEIZE THAT GUY, AND um... throw him out the airlock!
    (Two Irken guards in jetpacks jump out and then a shriek of pain is heard together with the sounds of a hatch opening and wind being violently sucked)
    Almighty Tallest Purple: That was the wrong guy but... that's okay! I think everyone gets the point!
  • Used at the end of a segment in Heavy Metal, when Captain Sternn pulls a lever and sends Hanover Fiste out of a space station airlock. Fiste subsequently catches fire in the vacuum of space. Or he might have burned up on reentry., if you're feeling charitable.
    • Word of God is that it was supposed to be on atmospheric entree, but they ran out of money and couldn't make the planned bridge to the next segment. (It was meant to show the way the Lohknar Fiste was holding affected the development of the planet that the next segment occurred on.)
  • The Venture Bros. - Brock is nearly sucked into space without a space suit when a space station hatch opens - being Brock he survives, but coughs up something big.
  • Dogstar: The Primes attempt to flush Alice and Zeke out of an airlock in "Titanium Chef". Their plan backfires and they end up being cast into space instead.


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alternative title(s): Spacing; Airlocking
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