- A Russian engineer founds Asgardia, a country in space that will lay its first stone in the fall with the launch of a satellite.
asgardia still not officially a nationbut aspires to be. If it sounds like you have read this sentence before, but headed by some other proper name, and even if you are already tired of reading it, fear not; Asgardia does not intend to take a piece of its territory from any existing country, but create it where it does not exist: above our heads, in Earth’s orbit.
Other micronation-business, like Sealand, the marine platform off the coast of Great Britain? Or, on the contrary, another Utopia as the Free City of Christiania, the self-proclaimed independent neighborhood of Copenhagen? Asgardia seems to have more of the latter. At least as much its motto, One Humanity, One Unit, like his first steps, seem cut more by the idealistic pattern than for profit. What differentiates Asgardia from other proposals is that it aspires to become the first alien nation, whose foundation stone will be placed next fall with the release of a tiny satellite; an idea that has already seduced more than half a million earthlings eager to become asgardians.
Asgardia is the creature of Igor Ashurbeyli, a Russian engineer, scientist and businessman born in Azerbaijan who accumulates an extensive curriculum related to technology and space, which has earned him distinctions from UNESCO and the Russian state, among others. On October 12, 2016, at a press conference in Paris, Ashurbeyli announced the foundation of asgardia, a project in which a small group of characters related to space also participates and which was presented with the purpose of serving as “a state-of-the-art protective shield against cosmic threats to life on Earth, man-made or natural, such as space debris, coronal mass ejections [del Sol] and asteroid collisions.
The country takes its name from Asgard, kingdom of norse mythology where Valhalla is located, the paradise of warriors fallen in combat. With the launch of the page web and the account of Twitter of Asgardia last October, Ashurbeyli announced that the first 100,000 applicants would immediately receive the asgardian nationality; of course, without losing your own. But the response from the public far exceeded expectations, filling the quota in less than two days and increasing fivefold in less than three weeks.
A country without political parties
On June 13, Ashurbeyli held a new press conference in Hong Kong in which he reviewed the project progress since his previous appearance. In January of this year, the founder of Asgardia enacted his first decree in which he stood as head of the nation with the vote of more than 150,000 Asgardians, with a mandate self-limited to five years. In March the draft of the Constitution, which defines the Space Kingdom of Asgardia as “the first independent, free, unitary and social Space Nation, transethnic and secular, based on morality, justice, peace and the equal dignity of all human beings, and that looks to the future and to the infinite Universe.
In his statement to the media, Ashurbeyli announced some upcoming elections in order to form a government and Parliament in the next six months. A refreshing novelty is that, according to its Constitution, “Asgardia has no place for political parties“. The government will be made up of 12 ministerial portfolios, one of them dedicated to the science, which will be one of the engines of Asgardian society. In the following months, the judicial bodies, while working on the implementation of the Finance system, with the Solar as virtual currency. The flag, the shield and the anthem finish voting these days, a process in which the more than 240,000 Asgardians already verified can participate; at the time of writing these lines, Spain contributes 5.745, being the eighth country in population of Asgardians.
Due to its future location in space orbiting the Earth, a peculiarity of Asgardia is that it will use its own calendar, inaugurated last January 1 with the first Asgardian year. Each year it’s divided in 13 months, all with a duration of 28 days, just four weeks. The extra month, Asgard, is sandwiched between June and July. This makes a total of 364 days; the December 31 is not assigned to any month, being a national holiday called Year Day, or Day of the Year. In this way, every year and every month start on sunday, and all dates fall on the same day of the week each year. The system is based on International Fixed Calendar, devised by the British Moses Cotsworth in 1902 and which has had fervent defenders: the founder of Kodak, George Eastman, kept it as an officer in his company from 1928 to 1989.
Asgardia-1, the foundation stone
Also at the recent press conference, Ashurbeyli announced the launch on September 12 of what will be the first asgardian territory, a satellite called Asgardian-1, which will launch taking advantage of an unmanned mission to bring supplies to the International Space Station. The device will be a CubeSat, a type of tiny satellite format with a cube shape of 10 centimeters on a side, according to the system co-invented in 1999 by the Spaniard Jordi Puig-Suari, from the California Polytechnic State University. The Asgardian-1 It will be made up of two CubeSat units, with a total size of 10x10x20 centimeters and a weight of almost three kilos.
The purpose of Asgardian-1 will be to set the Asgardians’ first presence in space, although only digital. The satellite will carry a 512 GB solid-state memory unit on which data and files supplied by the Asgardians will be recorded. According to the rules established by Ashurbeyli, the first 100,000 citizens of Asgardia who have accepted the Constitution will each have 500 KB. The next 400,000 will be able to use 200KB, and the next million will have 100KB of space, all for free. The data on the disk can be updated from Earth via radio.
“These are historic days, and your names and data will remain forever in the memory of the new humanity of space, since they will be reinstated in each successive satellite from Asgardia, constellations of orbital satellites, on the Moon and anywhere in the Universe; wherever Asgardia is,” Ashurbeyli said at the press conference.
At the moment, Asgardia aspires to obtain the UN recognition, and including the International Olympic Committee. Later, its promoters dream of creating “inhabitable space platforms” and shields that protect the inhabitants of Earth against threats. Wherever this project takes you, one thing is clear today: according to the website’s FAQ page, “Asgardia is a meritocracy: People who volunteer to work harder and take on more responsibilities will have the chance to move up“. And this, today, is indeed extraterrestrial.