Orbital ATK’s Antares rocket today sent a Cygnus cargo spacecraft on the first step of its journey to the International Space Station with 7,400 pounds of supplies and experiments, including a nanosatellite that its backers say will become the first “space nation.”
The Asgardia-1 satellite, which is roughly the size of a loaf of bread, is the product of an effort organized by Russian scientist Igor Ashurbeyli. It’ll store thousands of files uploaded by online fans who have signed up as Asgardia’s “citizens.”
Asgardia is due to delve into the details during a Hong Kong news conference on June 13, but an application filed with the Federal Communications Commission says the Asgardia-1 nanosatellite will be delivered to the International Space Station aboard an Orbital ATK Cygnus resupply flight, currently scheduled for September.
The CubeSat-style spacecraft will measure 4 by 4 by 8 inches, or roughly the size of a loaf of bread, and weigh about 5 pounds.
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.
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.