Asgardia, the world’s first ‘space nation’, takes flight

On November 12, Asgardia cemented its presence in outer space by launching the Asgardia-1 satellite. The “nanosat” — it is roughly the size of a loaf of bread — undertook a two-day journey from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia, the United States, to the International Space Station (ISS). It contains 0.5 TB of data belonging to 18,000 of Asgardia’s citizens, such as family photographs, as well as digital representations of the space nation’s flag, coat of arms and constitution.

Russian scientist Dr Igor Ashurbeyli founded the world’s first independent nation to operate in outer space in October 2016. Named after a Norse mythological city of the skies, Asgardia is free to join and so far, about 114,000 people have signed up.

Ashurbeyli says the project’s mission is to provide a “peaceful society”, offer easier access to space technologies, and protect Earth from space threats, such as asteroids and man-made debris in space. While Asgardia’s citizens will — for the time being — remain based on earth, the satellite launch brings the nation one step closer to space.

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