Asgardia, also known as “The Space Nation,” will launch a small satellite later this year. According to Asgardia’s leader, Russian scientist Igor Ashurbeyli, the satellite will carry the nation’s constitution, its flag and data stored by up to 1.5 million of its citizens.
But let’s take a step back. What the hell is Asgardia? The nation, if you want to call it that, was officially announced on October 12th, 2016 — or October 5th if you’re an Asgardian. The nation has its own calendar with 13 months (the additional month is named Asgard) that are 28 days each, which actually makes much more sense than our own calendar.
According to Asgardia’s website, the nation received over 100,000 applications in the 40 hours after its debut and if you want to join the nearly 200,000 current citizens, all you have to do is apply. As of now, Asgardia is run by Ashurbeyli alone, but it’s holding Parliamentary elections for verified Asgardian citizens beginning today, June 24th, 0001.
At a press conference in Hong Kong today, Ashurbeyli announced the plan to launch the satellite — Asgardia-1. “Asgardia-1 will mark the beginning of a new space era, taking our citizens into space in virtual form, at first,” Ashurbeyli said. On its website, Asgardia says that a second satellite is planned for 2018.
Asgardia’s website includes a history of satellite launches, starting with Sputnik-1. But it leaves out a lot of examples, like every single Vanguard satellite, for instance.
It’s a weird experiment pushing the boundaries of what makes a nation and what’s considered sovereign, though it’s unlikely many recognized countries will acknowledge Asgardia as a state. I, however, need to get back to my Asgardian application because even a virtual space nation seems like a good idea these days.