I have joined Asgardia recently and, as a new citizen of this nation, I started to think about its future.
I would like to introduce a brief thought, which can be considered as an exaggerated in current state of the project, but I am just asking myself what could be the next of future steps of the nation, after the satellite launch. What could be the first ground of Asgardians? How to get finance for other projects, for other operations above the orbit of Earth? How to gain experience with space exploration and colonization?
My answer is: Orbital plots
Create basic, scalable infrastructure, providing stable orbit, communication and energy (and its storage) for its tenants. At the beginning autonomous (maintained by robots and avatars) orbital plots could later host a first Asgardian astronauts.
Advantages of a cheaper space flights in near future thanks to companies like SpaceX will allow access to the orbit for smaller companies and enable usage of the environment for wider range of businesses. Equipment of these platforms can be then accessible to particular subjects without any restrictions and to all nations worldwide.
This platform will be useful mainly for a projects that do not need to keep a specific orbit for its proper service. The main purpose should be lowering costs of proper orbit maintenance of private devices. So these private devices could be cheaper, without any need of proprietary infrastructure and engines. Such devices could also spend longer time on the orbit, without dependence on their own resources.
Orbital plots could host already available services provided from the orbit or a services that could be accessible in a near future like:
- automated zero-gravity experiments
- remote sensing
- providing internet access (part of a network, or access points of more such networks)
- zero-gravity factories (a new kinds of alloys, drugs, transparent aerogels)
- microchip factories
- possibility to deploy laboratory modules of more independent countries
- hosting space hotel modules of more companies at once
- deep space missions refueling
- sensors useful for detection of NEOs
- small autonomous space telescopes
- removal of space trash debris
- hosting maintenance robots servicing a satellites
.. and many more.
Such orbital plot(s) could help with moving of heavy industry outside of Earth, to space, as envisioned by Jeff Bezos - and help to create a protected nature reserve from Earth, for a benefit of whole humanity.
Interesting possibility could be to build such orbital plot from ISS - NASA would like to hand over ISS to private companies in next decade. It could be good starting point for other Asgardia projects (with help from Amazon?).
Gained experience can be later used for building of bigger constructions farther from Earth, attached to asteroids, hosting more private subjects at once (when proper deep space resources sharing policies will be established by international organizations) and sending manufactured goods back to Earth.