Mirror: Asgardia 'space nation' launches first satellite as it looks to slip the surly bonds of Earth
Over half a million people want to become citizens of Asgardia , a so-called "space nation" that will orbit the Earth and be free from politics and laws.
The idea comes from billionaire Russian computer scientist Dr Igor Ashurbeyli, who has confirmed 200,000 verified citizens from the initial 500,000 applicants from over 200 actual countries here on terra firma.
He founded the independent nation in October 2016 and took it a step closer to reality this week by launching the Asgardia-1 satellite.
Roughly the size of a loaf of bread, it contains the personal details of 18,000 Asgardia's citizens - including things like family photographs. There's also a copy of Asgardia's flag, coat of arms and constitution aboard.
It was delivered to the International Space Station (ISS) aboard a NASA commercial cargo vessel and will eventually be set free to orbit the Earth by the six astronauts aboard the ISS.
The satellite will remain in orbit for between five and 18 months, after which it will likely burn up and disappear.
Asgardia's founder said it represented the first step in leaving Earth and establishing a permanent nation in space.
"I promised there would be a launch," Dr Ashurbeyli said.
"We selected NASA as a reliable partner... because we have to meet the commitments that I made 13 months ago."
"Asgardia-1 will contain data stored for free for up to 1.5 million Asgardians on board the satellite. These are historic days, and your names and data will forever stay in the memory of the new space humanity, as they will be reinstalled on every new Asgardia satellite we launch.
"Asgardia-1 is our first, small step which we hope will lead to a giant leap forward for mankind."
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.
Dr Ram Jakhu, associate professor at McGill University said: “Perhaps the most exciting aspect of the great Asgardian experiment is its commitment to transnational democracy. The parliamentary elections give everyone a chance to play their role in shaping this new nation.
“My hope is that the parliament will be made up of people from all different backgrounds across the world. Together, they will be the engine that drives Asgardia forward into the next space age.”
People can apply online to be Asgardian citizens via the website www.asgardia.space .
mirror.co.uk by Jeff Parsons