I'm writing a sci-fi novel in German, as I'm German myself, but since I usually only read (and watch) English sci-fi, I'm stuck on some terms that I can't think of a German word for.

In the current scene I'm writing, a space marine is navigating space in a space suit. The suit doesn't have an engine, it only has an array of small navigational thrusters. In English, I'd write something along the lines of "He engaged his thrusters to catch up to Bob."
Another use would be on the space ship, like the Star Trek Enterprise docking to some starbase and Picard saying "Thrusters only, Ensign Crusher."

I've found some words I could use, e.g. Schubdüsen, but they don't feel right. Especially Navigationsschubdüsen gives me a headache just from reading it. It might just be my lack of familiarity with German sci-fi terms, though.

  • 5
    Once you've introduced the capabilities of the suit, i.e., that it only has Manövrierdüsen, there is nothing wrong with calling them only Düsen later on (after all, in the context of the suit there is only one kind). Commented Jan 8, 2019 at 12:58
  • @Morfildur perhaps you can get a hold on the Raumpatrouille Orion series or some 30/40ties aircraft movies to get inspiration.
    – jmk
    Commented Jan 9, 2019 at 22:31

3 Answers 3


First of all: Do you want to write a hard science novel? In this case it will be a Düse, Schubdüse or Druckpatrone/düse as these terms are used in real life space suits/chairs. Or maybe a general term like Antriebssystem.

But as it's a novel lets look at established german science fiction. There are quite a few examples like Perry Rhodan. In these a space suit uses Impuls/Antigravaggregat. So maybe a Antriebsaggregat?

You may also look at books by Isaac Asimov, Andreas Eschbach or Philip K. Dick and its translations.

As an annotation. I think a Triebwerk as other answers suggest sounds to "big". Technicaly it may be correct but for me a Triebwerk is used for a plane or Space vehicle, not a space suit.


In this case I would resort to "Denglisch" and use something like "Jetpack" instead of the more technical terms for the component of the space suit.


Google Translator / DeepL: Strahlruder

My Oxford dictionary translates it to Korrekturtriebwerk.

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  • 2
    Korrekturtriebwerk is correct, but a rather formal word I'd expect to see in a manual, not in everyday language. Commented Jan 8, 2019 at 13:44

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