The Mirror: Tens of thousands sign up to world's first SPACE NATION where citizens will live in "habitable platforms" suspended in orbit
According to its official website, there are more than 300,000 "Asgardians" - members who have registered an interest in life on the satellite state, including more than 11,000 from Britain. When launched, Asgardia residents will live on "habitable platforms", known as arks, suspended in orbit around the planet. The space nation is the brainchild of Russian businessman Igor Ashurbeyli, who is dubbed Asgardia's "Head of Nation". He said Asgardia "essence" is to avoid Earth's conflicts such as wars and natural disasters by living in space instead. Now, more than 111,000 Asgardians have accepted a constitution which residents will abide by on the space nation. Objectives include to " ensure equal opportunities in space for all Asgardians" and "promote the welfare of the entire humankind".
Its website reads: "The essence of Asgardia is Peace in Space, and the prevention of Earth’s conflicts being transferred into space. "Asgardia is also unique from a philosophical aspect – to serve entire humanity and each and everyone, regardless of his or her personal welfare and the prosperity of the country where they happened to be born." But the ambitious project has been beset by issues over who would run it, taxes and an apparent lack of women interested in it.
Frans von der Dunk, a space law professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, told the Wall Street Journal he thought the organisers "don't have any idea what they are doing, legally speaking." But Asgardians said they were confident the problems could be overcome.
Ross Cheesewright, 33, a Southampton Solent university student, said "I am certain Asgardia will adapt and add polish as we move along", The Times reported.In June, it was reported more than half a million people applied to become citizens of the first independent "space nation".After the creation of Asgardia was announced in Paris last October , more than 500,000 applications were received within the first 20 days, the team behind the project revealed. The numbers were so high it forced a change of the rules for those hoping to become part of the visionary plan to establish a new space nation with its own constitution and laws.
Asgardia switched to a stricter system that filtered out children registering without their parents' permission, duplicate applications, people who refused to provide required information, and non-human internet "bots".This month, Asgardia will send its "foundation stone" into orbit. The micro-satellite, Asgardia-1, will carry personal data freely uploaded by up to 1.5 million Asgardians.
The launch, 60 years after the first artificial satellite, Sputnik, was sent into orbit, will mark the first small step in a programme to establish the space-based country. Asgardia is named after the City of the Gods in Norse mythology. Its main aim is to develop space technology unfettered by Earthly politics and laws, leading ultimately to a permanent orbiting home where its citizens can live and work.
The Mirror, Jamie Bullen