From Iceland — Exploring The Potential For An Icelandic Satellite

Exploring The Potential For An Icelandic Satellite

Published July 3, 2020

Nico Borbely
Photo by
Adobe Stock

“Iceland is part of space research and will continue to be, but the question is whether we’re going to do so on our own conditions or not, says Atli Þór Fann­dal, project manager at Space Iceland.

Space Iceland is currently mapping technical capabilities in Iceland for developing an Icelandic satellite, as well as research on the need for such operations on the Icelandic market, Morgunblaðið reports. According to Atli, Icelandic satellites could play an important role in agriculture and meteorological measurements, but it is important that such satellites are used in ways best suited to Icelandic needs.

Iceland Is The Ideal Place For Research

“Iceland has contributed greatly to space research,” says Atli, “Although we haven’t always done so on our own conditions.” Iceland has been a prevalent site for practice launches of spacecraft, and two groups of prospective Apollo astronauts were trained on Icelandic soil. The French additionally launched four rockets from Iceland from 1964 to 1965, two from Mýrdalssandur and two from Skógasandur, both located along the southern Icelandic coast.

Atli says that there is considerable relevant knowledge in Iceland, but that it is the mission of the Space Iceland to assemble this knowledge and strengthen Iceland’s position vis-à-vis the European Space Agency. He says Iceland is an ideal place for space exploration. No country has as easy access as Iceland to unspoiled land, a comfortable geographical position between Europe and North America, and good air transport.

Atli says that if Icelanders decide not to take part in the European Space Agency, they risk not being able to take advantage of the value creation related to space exploration, and will not become part of this rapidly expanding industry.

Creating New Terms For Icelandic Space Exploration

Space Iceland is additionally responsible for collaborative projects with the Árni Magnússon Institute for Icelandic Studies, which are related to the development of new Icelandic words connected to space exploration and technology. Space exploration is a very international field, and communication within the field is thus usually conducted in English, so Icelandic translations of these words are often lacking as a result.

“We want Icelandic to be the language of space exploration and technology in Iceland,” says Atli. The European and Canadian Space Agencies’ vocabulary will provide the base for the project.

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