14 November 2017 News

Space nation launches first satellite into orbit

Credit: NASA/Orbital ATK
Credit: NASA/Orbital ATK

The Asgardia space nation has its first ‘territory’ in orbit following the launch of its Asgardia-1 satellite on Sunday (12 November) from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. The satellite, procured through Texas-based NanoRacks, has 0.5 TB of data storage capacity which houses the nation's Constitution, national symbols and the personally selected data of Asgardian citizens.

It was launched as a part of the OA-8 Antares-Cygnus mission to the International Space Station (ISS) and will be deployed along with 13 other nanosatellites after Cygnus completes its mission at the ISS and is placed into a higher orbit.

Igor Ashurbeyli, Asgardia's Head of Nation, said: "Asgardia-1 may look like many other satellites orbiting Earth but it is the only one in the whole world which represents a new territory. Exactly 13 months after its founding, Asgardia is now in space - as promised. I believe that Asgardia-1 is the first step towards unifying humanity."

This will be the first time ever that Dr Ashurbeyli used the opportunity of attending the launch to meet with policy experts in Washington DC to discuss the next steps for Asgardia on its journey towards full statehood endorsed by the United Nations.

As well as outlining his professional journey through engineering, business and diplomacy which led him to launch Asgardia, he used the visit to outline his views on what international cooperation in space will look like over the next century and the need to protect Earth from both cosmic and man-made threats.

The Orbital ATK Cygnus supply ship was packed with 3.7 tons of cargo, supplies and experiments and docked with the ISS today (14 November). Its launch by an Antares rocket was delayed by a day after a light aircraft strayed into restricted airspace just 90 seconds before the scheduled lift off.

In October, Asgardia's began its first parliamentary elections which, according to Dr Ram Jakhu, Associate Professor, McGill University, Montreal, offer citizens a chance to play their role in shaping the new nation.

"Perhaps the most exciting aspect of the great Asgardian experiment is its commitment to trans-national democracy,” he said. "My hope is that the parliament will be made up of people from all different backgrounds across the world. Together, they will be the engine that drives Asgardia forward into the next space age."

Anyone interested in signing up for Asgardian citizenship can do so here - Asgardia

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