“We have our territory in space,” said Igor Ashurbeyli, the Azerbaijani founder of the Aerospace International Research Center (AIRC) and the self-declared king of Asgardia. The Asgardia-1 satellite, just 8 inches long, now floats aboard the International Space Station.
Early next month, Asgardia-1 will be rocketed to a higher orbit, some 311 miles above the earth, where it will operate on its own. “Then we will celebrate,” Ashurbeyli told BuzzFeed News through his translator.
Space law experts, such as Mark Sundahl of the Global Space Law Center at Cleveland State University, are pretty dubious about its chances of ascending to nationhood. A spacecraft isn’t territory, they argue, just like a ship in the ocean isn’t a country.