Previously in the symbolism series: Robots, Demons, Ruins, the Undead, Deserts
Outer space represents an anarchy similar to the desert, but more lonely. It is the ultimate isolation from law and society. Everything you want to feel by marooning someone on an island, or placing them in a desert or somewhere else where resources are scarce is magnified by putting them in space. Time spans and distances are enormous, dwarfing individual human and even individual societies concerns.
In space, everyday concerns are stripped away and replaced with a unique set of things to do and think about. It is very introspective. Oddly enough, going out to the vast world of space symbolically lets a person go on an equally deep inner voyage, since they may have lots of time to think, and are jogged out of their terrestrial ruts.
One thing outer space offers as a setting is the possibilities of true alien-ness. Even the physics are different from normal earth side life.
If I had to guess one more thing that space is about, I would say it is a sub-conscious replaying of being in the womb. It just has that feel to me at certain times. Or at least a deep inward-looking mind space, since you literally aren't connected to regular reality anymore.
Read previous entries in this series about symbolism: of Robots, of Demons, of Ruins, of the Undead, of Deserts.