Space

First satellite for the "space nation" of Asgardia due for launch in August

First satellite for the "space...
Assuming everything goes to plan, the first satellite for the space nation of Asgardia is due to launch in August
Assuming everything goes to plan, the first satellite for the space nation of Asgardia is due to launch in August
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The first satellite for the project, Asgardia-1, will be a CubeSat carrying the names and photos of the first 1.5 million citizens to sign up
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The first satellite for the project, Asgardia-1, will be a CubeSat carrying the names and photos of the first 1.5 million citizens to sign up
Assuming everything goes to plan, the first satellite for the space nation of Asgardia is due to launch in August
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Assuming everything goes to plan, the first satellite for the space nation of Asgardia is due to launch in August
An ambitious concept image of what Asgardia might eventually look like
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An ambitious concept image of what Asgardia might eventually look like

Last year, some 200,000 people decided they don't want to live on this planet anymore, and registered to be citizens of the first "space nation," Asgardia. In the unlikely event that it ever gets off the ground, the extremely-ambitious project would see a system of satellites orbiting the Earth, carrying a country's worth of people. Now the self-appointed Head of Nation has outlined plans to launch the first of these satellites.

Since the call for would-be citizens was first put out in October, some 500,000 registrations were apparently received. As you'd expect from the kind of internet democracy responsible for Boaty McBoatface, the project was flooded with applications from bots and jokesters, and registrations were shut down and reopened with stricter protocols. Asgardia now boasts some 200,000 "serious" applicants, but it doesn't exactly bode well for a project where literally everything can go wrong.

At a press conference, Dr. Igor Ashurbeyli, the scientist leading the project, declared June 18 to be Asgardian National Unity Day. Along with kicking off a shiny new calendar from Day 01, residents will begin voting to approve the country's constitution, flag, coat of arms, and national anthem. That constitution has reportedly been in development for the last six months, and its creators say it mixes and matches certain aspects from other countries.

As the founding father and primary funder of the project, Ashurbeyli has declared himself Asgardia's Head of Nation for the first five years, until a proper parliament is elected by its space citizens.

While the satellite array is eventually expected to be big enough to house millions of Asgardians, the first step is a small one. Literally. It's a CubeSat measuring 10 x 10 x 20 cm (3.9 x 3.9 x 7.9 in) and weighing just 2.8 kg (6.2 lb). This foundational satellite, dubbed Asgardia-1, will carry just a tiny amount of data for each early adopter, in the form of their names and photos. The first 100,000 people to sign up can send 300 KB into space, while the next 400,000 get 200 KB, and a further million are granted 100 KB.

"Last year in Paris, when we launched Asgardia, many people were skeptical that we would ever put anything in space," says Ashurkeyli. "But I can confidently announce today, that we will be launching a space satellite, Asgardia-1. Asgardia-1 is our first, small step which we hope will lead to a giant leap forward for mankind. It will be our foundation stone, from which we will look to create a network of satellites that will help protect our planet against asteroids, solar flares, man-made space debris, and other space hazards."

An ambitious concept image of what Asgardia might eventually look like
An ambitious concept image of what Asgardia might eventually look like

Although it may read like a scheme cooked up by a Bond villain, Ashurbeyli clearly wants to be taken seriously. But there are plenty of questions standing in the way of that right now. First and foremost is gravity: those concept images show a 70s sci-fi-style paradise, complete with people just walking around. That could use some explaining – as could how the satellites will help protect the planet. And if that's not enough to pull the project apart at the seams, the gender imbalance surely will: only 17 percent of applicants so far are women.

Asgardia-1 is due for launch in August, and after that, the next hurdle (on a road that's currently more hurdle than road) will be official recognition by the United Nations. Ashurbeyli is confident this will happen in early 2018, although we'd not be too surprised if that little CubeSat ends up being the only part of Asgardia that ever gets off the ground.

You can watch the press conference in the video below (it kicks off around the 1 hour 30 min mark), and if you feel like registering as a resident, even just to be sent a certificate, check out the source link.

Source: Asgardia

6 comments
Rahn
Just want to wish Kathy Griffin the best of luck with her new life in Asgardia.
Douglas Bennett Rogers
Low gravity will be the major commodity. This will be a Mecca for rich, old people, the disabled, and the large. We will need to abandon the chemical rocket launch system to make this work.
Stephen N Russell
Idea is NOT defined, had no rules, I signed up but didnt follow up since I was told Asgarida is NOT a space nation or planned to be. No Long range plans, seen , NOT tapping Tech experts to achieve dreams etc seen thus I quit. Needs better HR & Marketing alone aside Corp Vision & How to achieve. Very cult like.
BeinThayer
'Assgaurdia'? This has to be a very late April Fools spoof.....or a very real CYA (with appropriate naming) maneuver attempting to legitimize taking dollars from doe-eyed stargazers.
ljaques
I love that "ambitious concept image". Beautiful. And with a 90% glass (or other frangible) exterior, it should be very interesting, indeed, during the Leonid and Perseid Meteor Showers.
Offstar1029
Yeah it's a very ambitious project but if it works out consider what it will represent. Back when America tried to become an independent country that was considered an ambitious project, when slavery was abolished that was considered an ambitious project, and when we sent people into space, to the moon, and made the ISS all of those were ambitious projects. Just because something is ambitious doesn't mean it's impossible or crazy. This is what it means to be human to have a goal no matter how improbable and to do anything to achieve it. I would also like to point out the concept image is more a representation of what one of the stations could look like hundreds of years from now. Considering we don't have the technology to make something of that massive scale and design in space atm.