Asgardia the space nation announced this week at the 74th International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in Baku, Azerbaijanm, that it is actively working towards recognition as an independent state.
The news was given by Dr Igor Ashurbeyli, the Head of the Space Nation, at a media briefing to international journalists on 4 October. In addition, Dr Ashurbeyli spoke about planned new experiments and the three main scientific stages of movement towards a major goal of Asgardia - the birth of the first child in space.
“At previous congresses, Asgardia was represented 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 in the Congress and a sponsor,” said Dr Ashurbeyli.
He made two new announcements, the first on Asgardia's participation in the SIRIUS international isolation experiment, which the space nation is entering this year for the second time with a programme of research into women's health under the effects of spaceflight factors, in collaboration with the Institute of Biomedical Problems (IBMP) in Moscow.
As with the previous isolation experiment, the new participant will be a woman - physician Ksenia Orlova. The SIRIUS experiment has been running for many years now and is a well-established integrated research programme in the international space community.
The second piece of news was previewed earlier in the week by Asgardia’s Minister of Science of Asgardia, Prof Floris Wuyts, in his IAC presentation to science delegates when he announced a call for bids to build a new isolation laboratory on Earth, designed to simulate flight conditions for the next generation of human spacecraft.
Dr Ashurbeyli added: “In a few days, on 12 October 2023, Asgardia will celebrate seven years since its founding. The second elections of the Head of Nation were recently held, and I was re-elected to the position for a second term. After the completion of the five-year cycle of the Asgardian legislative body, new Parliamentary elections were held, with 150 parliamentarians elected from 49 nations of planet Earth.
The press conference was also addressed by Chair of Parliament Lembit Öpik, Prime Minister Lena De Winne, and Head of the Administration to the Head of Nation, cosmonaut Dumitru-Dorin Prunariu.
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. Interaction within the structure of the Asgardian polity takes place in the digital space, a mechanism that was fine-tuned even before the pandemic.
Lena De Winne introduced the Asgardian Minister of Science, a prominent scientist and head of the Space Research Laboratory at the University of Antwerp, neurophysiologist Floris Wuyts. On the first day of the Congress, Professor Wuyts successfully moderated one of the sessions and also addressed the scientific community with some of the results of his many years of work and a presentation on Asgardia.
Mrs 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 outlined by the Head of the Nation. These are 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. Everyone in Asgardia is working towards a common goal - the birth of the first child in space, to provide a guarantee of immortality for the human race.
Dumitru-Dorin Prunariu drew the journalists' attention to the special nature of Asgardia: being a nation, it promotes, first of all, scientific, philosophical and ethical values, rather than political ones.
Answering questions from journalists, including the about why such a name had been chosen for the space nation, Dr Ashurbeyli reminded that in the mythology of almost all nations, there is a concept of a certain Heavenly City, where there are no wars, no death and pain. In Scandinavian mythology, familiar to Europeans, it is Asgard, the city of the gods.
“We have chosen this particular version of the ancient dream of peace and mankind in space. Our small planet has already been divided and redivided a thousand times, there is hardly any place for a new state, “ he said. “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 the second satellite. Having a territory is a prerequisite for admission to the UN.
“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. 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,” he added.
“Our plan has three scientifically based stages to create conditions for the birth of the first human child in space. The first stage is ground-based isolation experiments involving volunteers, including married couples. That 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 orbit, so that there is a possibility of an emergency return to Earth if something goes wrong. When technologies of artificial gravity and protection from cosmic radiation are created and all conditions are successfully worked out, then 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-distance space flights. This requires that people can lead a fully-fledged life and self-reproduce in space.”