In 2016, an a crew of scientists from around the world have announced that they were initiating their plan to launch the first ever private space-based nation, Asgardia.
Sounds off the rails, but according to a new FCC filing, their plans are going on quite nicely, and the founders are currently working on preparations for launching a data storage satellite. It’s supposed to orbit far away from Earth-based laws and regulations, according to the plan.
“If Asgardia can find a launching country that is not a signatory to the space treaties, there are no international law obligations,” professor of space law Mark Sundahl said in an interview for Motherboard.
At that point, it’s the Wild West.
In Norse mythology Asgardia is known as the sky sity, but this “Earthly” design is to be a permanent space station that will run asteroid mining missions, and provide defense for Earth against meteorites, space debris, and other serious threats. They started recruiting back in October, claiming that the first 100,000 people to register would be granted citizenship of Asgardia alongside their nationality on Earth.
Over 180,000 Earthlings have agreed to pledge allegiance to the planned orbital nation. The Asgardia flag, emblem, and national anthem are all currently being crowd-sourced, and are set to be finalized on June 18. It plans to establish its own currency and calendar, which will add an extra month to our Earthly 12-month calendar, called Asgard, which sits between June and July.
“We must leave [Earth] because it’s very much in the nature of humanity,” Ram Jakhu, director of McGill University’s Institute of Air and Space Law and Asgardia founding member, told Business Insider last year.
“Humanity left Africa and covered the whole globe. The resources of Earth will be depleted. [W]e have a wish to go where nobody has gone before.”
At the time, the founders had announced that they planned to launch a satellite called Asgardia-1 within 18 months, followed by the space station, and judging by this recent FCC filing, they’re at least on track to get the first stage done. The document states that the group plans to launch their satellite by September 2017, piggybacking on a supply mission to the International Space Station (ISS).
A mini satellite called CubeSat (10 cm on each side, and weighing around 1 kilogram) will carry a 512GB solid state drive pre-loaded with data, but the public doesn’t know what it will contain, yet.
“Asgardia-1 will also contain internal and external particle detectors ‘to determine the radiation dosing that the internal electronics are receiving’, says the filing.
No matter how dubious the legality of this is, citizens want to colonize our cosmic neighborhood as soon as possible. What might happen according to some law professors is that enterprising citizens (such as those behind The Pirate Bay) would jump to take advantage of the de-regulated space before regulations can catch up. The satellite will soon be revealed in a press conference in Hong Kong.