Just days after President Trump announced his plans to add a Space Force to the American military, the so-called space nation of Asgardia inaugurated its new head of state. Each are billionaires, both like elaborate ceremonies and the head of Asgardia is – or was – a Russian citizen. Will they get along?
On June 25, Igor Ashurbeyli became the official head of state of the Space Kingdom of Asgardia, the so-called first outer space nation that already has a constitution, an elected parliament and enough citizens (over 210,000) to place it at number 172 in comparison to the over 200 Earth-based countries. The inauguration ceremony and celebration (entire program can be seen here) was held at the Hofburg – the nearly 750-year-old former palace of the Habsburg dynasty and the current official residence and office of the president of Austria. Giving even more credibility to the Space Kingdom of Asgardia, Ashurbeyli received a congratulatory outer-space message from Russian cosmonaut Oleg Artemiev who is currently on the International Space Station.
After receiving the ceremonial necklace of Asgardia (which the bearer first tried to put on backwards – the first government prisoner of Asgardia?), Ashurbeyli gave his inaugural address – promising to have permanently inhabited space stations in Earth orbit and settlements on the Moon by 2043. The speech was followed by singing (a Viennese opera star and a woman in kimono singing Mozart a capella), dancing and an electric violin performance.
“Access to outer space should be a human right, beyond the control of any Earthly nation. We believe that the creation of a new legal platform for the exploration of near-Earth and deep space is crucial to keep pace with humanity’s rapid technological and scientific expansion off-planet. Universal space law and astro-politics have to replace the current outdated international space law and geopolitics.”
That official statement to the press (not a tweet) may be why Asgardia leader Ashurbeyli didn’t receive a call from President Trump. Ashurbeyli sees Asgardia as a peaceful nation committed to preventing space wars and using its technology for scientific research and protecting Earth from asteroids – Russia may want to talk to him after the latest unexpected space rock incident.
And yet, there are aspects of Asgardia that should appeal to President Trump. It will have its own network of satellites for delivering global internet coverage. Billionaire Ashurbeyli made his fortune developing missile systems for the Russian military and he appointed himself head of state with no end to his term. His next steps are to set up a ministry of foreign affairs and a national bank.
On the other hand, Ashurbeyli’s goal is for Asgardia to be accepted as a member by the United Nations and to demilitarize space. Can he do it?
Can he do it before it’s too late?