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'Space nation' to Earthlings: Do you read us? - CNET

Orbit

Later this week, Earth will communicate for the first time with a nation based solely in space. If you consider a tiny cubesat about the size of a toaster to be a nation, that is.

The small satellite goes by the name Asgardia-1 and makes up the entirety of the territory of the virtual nation of Asgardia, the pet project of Russian/Azerbaijani scientist and businessman Igor Ashurbeyli, an entrepreneur and investor with a Ph.D. in engineering. In his mind, Asgardia planted its flag in space when it launched from NASA's Wallops Island last month aboard an Orbital ATK Cygnus cargo spacecraft.

"From a legal standpoint, the satellite is the first sovereign territory of Asgardia nation," Ashurbeyli told me over the phone via a translator.

Rendering of Asgardia-1 Asgardia

There's actually some debate about the law's take on calling an unpopulated satellite a nation. More on that later. But if you can call Asgardia a nation, it's probably the first one to begin its existence...(continued)

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