‘Space nation’ Asgardia names its first leader

‘Space nation’ Asgardia names its first leader
The Space Kingdom "Asgardia" held an inauguration ceremony for its first Head of Nation, Dr. Igor Ashurbeyli at Hofburg Palace in Vienna, Austria on June 25, 2018.

The “space nation” of Asgardia inaugurated its first leader Monday during a ceremony at Hofburg Palace in Vienna, Austria.

Newsweek reported the ceremony included diplomats, researchers, engineers and legal experts from around the world. The group’s website currently claims a population of more than 200,000 citizens from across the globe.

Asgardia is named after Asgard, a sky city in Norse mythology that is said to house the gods. It was founded by Russian scientist Igor Ashurbeyli and several prominent space experts in October 2016.

Asgardia’s website says the project aims to “create a free, independent nation outside of planet Earth” with “equal access to space for all people regardless of origin, nationality, age, gender, sex, race, etc.” It further states “the essence of Asgardia is peace in space and the prevention of Earth’s conflicts being transferred into space.”

Ashurbeyli took an oath of office Monday during the inauguration that included a significant amount of pomp and circumstance, Newsweek reported.

“We have established all branches of a nation,” Ashurbeyli said. “I can declare that Asgardia has been born.”

He outlined an ambitious list of goals, notably to have permanently inhabited space stations in low Earth orbit and permanent settlements on the Moon within 25 years.

Currently, the Outer Space Treaty requires governments to authorize and supervise all space activities, including those of commercial and nonprofit organizations. Asgardia’s founders hope to avoid the tight restrictions imposed by the treaty.

“Access to outer space should be a human right, beyond the control of any Earthly nation,” Ashurbeyli, who is also head of the UNESCO Commission on Space Science, said in a statement.