The first nation in space finally launches Saturday aboard a commercial spacecraft set to blast off from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.
Although the physical territory of Asgardia, the self-proclaimed “space kingdom” insists the deployment of the satellite Asgardia-1 is just the beginning of a much grander vision of a true space state.
Asgardia is probably one of the few self-declared sovereign states you could fit in a backpack.
Asgardia-1, a small cubesat that’s roughly the size of a loaf of bread, is among the 14 cubesats that will be launched from Wallops early Saturday aboard an Orbital ATK Cygnus spacecraft bound for a long stop at the International Space Station.
It will then have to wait at the ISS for a month before Cygnus detaches and heads to a higher altitude where the satellite can be deployed.
Asgardia-1 will carry some key files, like the national constitution, flag and database of all its “citizens“, but most of its storage is filled with files uploaded by citizens.
So far, over 100,000 humans have accepted the terms of the constitution and uploaded over 18,000 files to the satellite, according to Asgardia’s website.
The reaction to the space nation-building project has been mixed.
While over half a million would-be Asgardians have requested citizenship, others point out that the idea of claiming territory in space could conflict with existing law.
It’s also a stretch to consider Asgardia’s free orbiting cloud storage service an actual nation for even more fundamental reasons.
The ramshackle treehouse I built in my backyard has been declared sovereign territory by at least one young girl dabbling in imaginary megalomania.
But because no other nation on Earth has acknowledged that claim of independence, it carries about as much weight as Asgardia’s assertion of nationhood.
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