Our terminologist Hugrún Hanna Stefánsdóttir, in collaboration with The Árni Magnússon Institute for Icelandic studies, will ask the public’s opinion on the new Icelandic term ‘kastbraut’ to replace English ‘sub-orbital’ from now on when writing about space science and the space sector in Icelandic. For years, sub-orbital has been a problem child for Icelandic journalists, scientists and us in the sector.

Space Iceland is curious whether this might stick as a new term. Many commonly used terms within the space industry are derived from it, e.g. sub-orbital spaceflight and sub-orbital rocket launch. The word kast-brautar-flug is inspired by the Swedish word kastbanefärd, meaning sub-orbital flight. The word kastbraut was used by Þjóðlíf, a news magazine, during the cold war in a piece about Reagan’s Star Wars defence program.

Iceland has a long standing tradition of substituting loanwords with the creation of new words from Old Icelandic and Old Norse roots preventing foreign words from entering the language.

In January, we issued a press release on behalf of Skyrora where ‘sub-orbital’ was simply written in English. Hopefully, from now on kastbraut will gain normalcy. 

One small step on our quest to ensure Icelandic is fit for this country’s giant leap to space!

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