If you’ve had dreams of being an Asgardian, you might be one step closer to seeing them come true. On November 12th, the Cygnus spacecraft launched, carrying with it supplies for the ISS and the potential new nation of Asgardia. If this seems a little far-fetched to you, that’s just because you haven’t heard the whole origin story yet.
Asgardia is, for the moment, a small satellite dreamed up and designed by Igor Ashurbeyli. It’s safe to say he’s an Asgardian enthusiast. Right now, Asgardia consists of a single satellite, about the size of a loaf of bread and containing half a terabyte of data. That data is the nation’s origin story. It consists of data on its citizens, the nations’ Constitution and its symbols. Currently, Asgardia has about 115,000 citizens, but they are hoping that with time and perseverance, they will be able to grow to be the world’s first space-based nation.
Ashurbeyli certainly has high hopes for his nation. Although they are currently not recognized by any other country on Earth, he believes that this is a pioneering step, and he’s right. This is the first time humanity has ever attempted to establish a nation outside of our planet. The moon does not technically belong to anyone, and even if someone did claim it, it would be uninhabited. Asgardia already has thousands of citizens, even if they aren’t official yet.
Ashurbeyli claims that Asgardia-1 is the “first step towards unifying humanity.” While we have yet to see how accurate that statement is, he is taking significant steps toward his goal. Ashurbeyli, who is originally from Russia, took the opportunity to meet with experts in Washington DC. He was in the US for the Cygnus launch and is working to attain statehood for Asgardia-1 and its citizens.
Cygnus launched with a primary mission of delivering supplies to the ISS. After it docks there and drops off what the astronauts need, it will travel further and deposit 13 individual satellites, one of which is Asgardia-1 – no bigger than a loaf of bread. Because of its size, it’s called a nano satellite. These smaller crafts involve more compact electronic circuitry than traditional satellites. Asgardia-1’s size also limits the data storage available. Ashurbeyli created a system to delegate storage space. The first 100,000 members approved will receive 300 kilobytes each. Now, somewhere circling the globe, is a small satellite carrying the dreams of about 149,000 people (at the time of writing this).
Technically, the satellite launch should satisfy the UN’s requirements to accept a sovereign nation. However, the UN is not a government and cannot determine whether states officially exist. This leaves Asgardia in a bit of a bind. Even if its citizens get their application in to be considered by the UN, other nations still have to vote on their proposal. The government is still under formation, but the country has approved a constitution, and their currency is registered. That doesn’t make it official yet, but it’s certainly getting there.
What this means for the world is questionable. There’s a chance that this project could fizzle and die, with the result being that there’s one more satellite circling the planet that only a small number of people can upload data to. But, if it does pass through and join the UN, then more questions could arise. The ultimate goal is to create Asgardian colonies in space. What would it mean to have a space-faring nation, even if it is currently uninhabited? It could mark a huge step in humanity’s ability to move beyond our home planet. Right now, only time will tell.