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Hail, Asgardia! Scientist aims to create space nation

Asgardia satellite
A stylized graphic shows Asgardia’s satellite in space. (Credit: Asgardia.space)

A Russian scientist and businessman today unveiled a social-media-savvy plan to create the first-ever nation in space, named Asgardia. But many of the details of the plan, including how Asgardia’s first satellite will be launched, haven’t yet been pinned down.

The mastermind behind Asgardia, which takes its name from the city of the skies in Norse mythology, is Igor Ashurbeyli. Five years ago, he left his position as the CEO of one of Russia’s top defense contractors, Almaz-Antey, and turned his attention to Socium Holding, a company he founded in 1988.

Ashurbeyli is also the founder of the Vienna-based Aerospace International Research Center and the editor-in-chief of a space journal called Room.

The idea is that once Ashurbeyli and his fellow Asgardians launch a satellite, that will open the way for them to designate the spacecraft as the first territory of a new nation in the sky. That would pose a challenge to the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, which appears to rule out assertions of sovereignty in space.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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