Issue #1(1) 2014 Lounge

Space nation reveals global recognition ambition

Clive Simpson Editor-in-Chief

Asgardia announced at the 74th International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in Baku, Azerbaijan, that it is actively working towards recognition as an independent state.

Dr Igor Ashurbeyli, Head of the Space Nation, revealed the news at a media briefing to international journalists on 4 October when he also spoke about planned new experiments and the three main scientific steps to achieving Asgardia’s major goal of the birth of the first child in space.

“Asgardia has been represented at previous congresses by its international space magazine ROOM, which has always been an information partner of the IAC. But this year, for the first time, Asgardia itself is a direct participant and sponsor,” said Dr Ashurbeyli.

His first announcement involved Asgardia’s participation in the latest SIRIUS international isolation experiment, which the Space Nation is entering this year for the second time in collaboration with the Institute of Biomedical Problems (IBMP), Moscow. Asgardia is conducting a programme of research into women’s health under the effects of simulated spaceflight and the new participant is physician Ksenia Orlova.

A second piece of news - previewed earlier in the week by Asgardia’s Minister of Science, Prof Floris Wuyts, in his IAC presentation to science delegates - was a call for bids to build a new isolation laboratory to support flight simulations for people that will fly on future generations of human spacecraft.

Dr Ashurbeyli also reminded journalists that Asgardia was about to celebrate its seven year anniversary and that he had recently been re-elected Head of Nation for a second term. After completion of the five-year cycle of the Asgardian legislative body, new Parliamentary elections were also been held in June 2023 with 150 parliamentarians elected from 49 nations.

Chair of Parliament Lembit Öpik, Prime Minister Lena De Winne, and Head of the Administration to the Head of Nation, cosmonaut Dumitru-Dorin Prunariu also addressed journalists.

Mr Öpik spoke about the world’s first digital democracy, a new term introduced into the world’s political vocabulary thanks to the Parliament and other governing bodies of the Space Nation.

Lena De Winne emphasised that the Asgardian government is a true team effort: the Parliament, the Government and the Administration work together on the 12 areas of Asgardian development - science, finance, citizenship, foreign affairs, information and communications, trade and commerce, justice, youth and education, safety and security, equity and resources, manufacturing, and culture. Each area corresponds to one of the ministries and one of the parliamentary committees.

Dumitru-Dorin Prunariu drew the attention of journalists to the special nature of Asgardia in that its priority was to promote first and foremost scientific, philosophical and ethical values, rather than political ones.

Answering questions from the media, including about why the space nation is called Asgardia, Dr Ashurbeyli recalled that in the mythology of almost all nations, there is a concept of a certain ‘heavenly city’, where there are no wars, no death or pain. In Scandinavian mythology, it is Asgard, the city of the gods.

“We chose this particular version of the ancient dream of peace and mankind in space,” he explained. “Our small planet has already been divided and re-divided a thousand times, there is hardly any place for a new state. Having a territory is a prerequisite for admission to the UN and therefore today the ‘coordinates’ of Asgardia are our satellite Asgardia-1, launched in 2017 from the USA. Now, we are preparing for the launch of a second satellite.

“Space missions remind me in many ways of seafaring in the old days - ancient ships that sailed without maps or navigators, their crews not knowing for sure whether they would be able to reach the other shore, Dr Ashurbeyli added. “But our ancestors had no time for doubts and fears - they had to discover new countries and develop. The same is required for humankind today, the only difference being that the territory of new discoveries is now in space.

“Our plan has three science-based stages to create conditions for the birth of the first human child in space. The first is ground-based isolation experiments involving volunteers, including married couples,” he explained.

“This is why we are now conducting ground-based research with the participation of SIRIUS female crew members, together with IBMP. An experiment involving married couples will follow shortly.

“The second stage is the birth of a child in low orbit. It will be in low Earth orbit, so that there is a possibility of an emergency return to Earth if something goes wrong.

“Then, when technologies for artificial gravity and protection from cosmic radiation are created and all conditions are successfully worked out, we will move to the next stage - a spaceship in near-lunar orbit. And only after that, it will be possible to talk about long-term spaceflights. This will involve people leading a fully-fledged life and reproducing in space.”

Clive Simpson

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