Aphelia Space Research Nation
Aphelia Space Research Nation
|Motto: FRA SØMAND TIL RUMFARER|
(Norwegian: From sailor to spaceman)
|Official languages||Thai, English, Norwegian|
|Establishment||23 March 2017 @2345 Indochina time|
4 registered member
|Time zone||Local time - Indochina time (ICT)|
Standard time - Coordinated Universal Time (UTC
This nation was established to support civilian private space program NEXSpace Exploration
Aphelia, officially the Aphelia Space Research Nation (ASRN) is a micronation focused on space launch technology, scientific research, the arts, and innovation. The ASRN was founded on March 23, 2017 by Svein Smedberg, an amateur rocket builder and artist. Aphelia has prohibited any claims which violate the terms of the Outer Space Treaty in any form, and as such does not claim any celestial objects or locations in space. Additionally, the country has further made it a strict policy to rely only on its own in-house, and/or in-development space technology. This means that objects purchased for launch into space are likewise not regarded as sovereign territory as it was not built by ASRN personnel or with proprietary technology.
Aphelia's ultimate goal is to embrace scientific research and development to pursue the ideal of becoming a nation of science, innovation, and art. Its method in achieving this ideal is to research the most efficient space launch technologies, and work ceaselessly in the worldwide effort to erase the barrier between Earth and space. In doing so, the nation aims to increase the likelihood of survival for humans in case of catastrophic incidents that would otherwise wipe out all life as we know it on earth (such as an asteroid impact, runaway climate change, and collapsing biosphere, or other man-made disasters such as nuclear war). Aphelia's missions are solely for science and are not involved in the carrying of any explosive, nuclear, biological or chemical weapons as payloads, and the use of its technology for any military purpose is prohibited by law. Beside space launch technology, Aphelia has also supported research in closed-system farming, agriculture in extreme climates, and geoengineering—all in the context of space habitation.
In addition to its science programs, Aphelia is leading national efforts in supporting writers, artists, film makers, and creators of the arts in every form as a free space for creative minds. Because of its dualistic nature of a scientific and artistic organization, many ASRN citizens are incidentally sci-fi writers and illustrators. Most of the ASRN's creators are mainly digital artists, primarily focused on creating sci-fi genre fiction in various formats. As a part of its efforts at sponsoring the creative arts, it encourages its members to express the written and visual arts in all forms, be it as a piece of fiction in subject or setting.
ASRN joined Zenrax as a state in 2022 in a mutually beneficial arrangement. Since then, it has integrated its government systems, logistics, and foreign affairs into Zenrax's to ease the political burden of maintaining the polity's government, internet presence, scientific endeavors, and further representation and outreach outside of its own spaces.
Name and Etymology
ASRN took its name from technical term aphelion - the point in the orbit of an object where it is farthest from the Sun, and symbolically named its territory after the term. The official name of the ASRN is the Aphelia Space Research Nation with the shorter version of the official name, Aphelia, and acronym, the ASRN, being more commonly used. At first ASRN name have only the word Aphelia and was unofficially known as Aphelia Technocratic Republic. The term Space Research Nation has been added later to publicly declare and strengthen the purpose of the existence of the nation, after reformation to avoid unnecessary government structure. Before it took the name Aphelia as an official nation name, the ASRN was known as Space Port Interplanetary Nation.
The ASRN has published its official name in other languages below:
- Norway Norsk: Aphelia Luftfartsforskningsnasjon
- Germany Deutsche: Aphelia Spatienkeil Forschung Nation
- Poland Polski: Kraj Badań Przestrzeni Kosmicznej Afelia
Flag and National Emblem
The ASRN flag is the flag used to represent the country and its people. The flag and has two variants: The rectangle flag is used as the national flag. Known as the "Shelter Flag," it symbolizes Mars' orange surface, deep space, shelter area, and life. The non-rectangular flag, known as the "Seafarer Flag," honors the traditions of human exploration at sea. It is used for sea vessels registered to the ASRN. The flag is always seen hanging vertically when in use other than as an at-sea ensign.
The ASRN flag has been changed twice: The older version of ASRN flag is the "Mars Flag," symbolizing a sun, Mars' surface, and the moons Phobos and Deimos. Heavily influenced by the Martian flag of Martian Congressional Republic from The Expanse series, the flag served as a long-term inspiration for the ASRN to work towards settling on Mars. The "Space Port Flag" symbolizes a rocket launch from earth. A white, diagonal line shows the rocket trajectory, the blue color symbolizes Earth, the black color symbolizes deep space, and the white circle symbolizes the moon. The Space Port Flag has been criticized in some circles for similarity to existing amateur rocket research groups, as well as for a subdued color palate. Additionally, it used common aspects such as a diagonal line, which are also frequently used in logo of several aerospace companies worldwide. However, the flag continues to be used due to its symbolism and contribution to the nation's traditions of supporting space science and exploration.
The ASRN National emblem is the Phoenix emblem, which features wings extended downward in a triangular formation. The phoenix, a bird from Greek mythology, obtains new life by arising from the ashes of its predecessor. This serves as a national symbol for how Aphelian engineers develop new generations of technology by working on their predecessors. By enduring failure and hardship to build a better future, Aphelians surpass old limitations and rise once more to ever greater heights, like the phoenix which underwent the crucible of fire and ash to be reborn. The curve of the phoenix's wings are symbolized by the bright area of the Mach diamond of standing wave patterns that appear in the supersonic exhaust plume of an aerospace propulsion system.
Technostellar and Space Port
In 2015, a small micronation named Technostellar was established after Svein read about the Principality of Sealand, inspiring Svein to create their own micronation. To take place in the same location where the ASRN was located with a similar concept but with unrealistic claim of space objects, Svein planned to create an interplanetary nation. Technostellar was intended to have all of the essentials of a nation, whilst never being recognized, nor having any interaction with other organizations (national or otherwise) due to Svein's various concerns about and local law and its implications on understanding Technostellar's work. Svein took on the role of a one-man government for a week until ceasing all activity due to burnout. With the lack of means to communication with other micronationss, Technostellar faded into the background.
Svein has been involved in local amateur rocket and rocket festival since founding Technostellar, and continues to testing a solid fuel and hybrid fuel rocket on a small scale, as well as electronics and recovery systems for a non-profit amateur rocket group known as NEXSpace Exploration, which itself was founded after Technostellar ceased to exist. The project did not make much progress due to a lack of funding, manpower and intervention from local law enforcement due to legal misunderstandings and lack of communication. During 21 March 2017, having read about micronations and colonization in space. Svein was struck with the idea of establishing an interplanetary nation once again. Based on the original Technostellar concepts, NEXSpace Exploration's ultimate goals, and SpaceX's Mars colonization project, the idea of Space Port was born as the first nation of its kind: one that specifically emphasized space exploration and development, but with more realistic goals and featuring the use of in-house technology.
ASRN was officially established 23 March 2017 as Space Port Interplanetary Nation and became fully operational 4 days later, with Svein taking the title of First Commander.
Repurposing and Reform
In mid-2018, due to lack of funding and support from investors, excessive costs of operation, and several unsuccessful tests, NEXSpace Exploration's subsidiaries ceased rocketry activity and all project were put to a halt. Thus, they separated from ASRN and handed over any shared material to NEXSpace Exploration. All space technology experimental research branch temporarily closed as ASRN shared some facilities with NEXSpace Exploration, with the exception of radio and nanosatellite research. These came to be run by a HAM operator on the American continent. This cause a set back to ASRN space technology research, stalling its in-house technological progress indefinitely.
Because the ASRN initially set its projects on a very narrow lens, the project devoted itself almost exclusively to science and engineering disciplines, leaving close to no room for those who did not specialize specifically in the ASRN's core disciplines. This is not only deterred applications from otherwise highly-qualified citizens, but this policy also led to a lack of good public relations. Svein then advocated for the conversion of the ASRN existence from only “researching the most efficient space exploration technologies” to “a micronation focused on space exploration technology, science research, the arts, and innovation”, a more realistic set of goals that remained faithful to the original intention of establishment of the ASRN. The repurposing of the new ASRN brought not only more realistic goals and milestones, but also remain faithful to its purpose while opening more opportunities for space enthusiasts and media creators to join the ASRN as citizens.
As ASRN's internal activity revived, it resumed the creation of new diplomatic channels, after having already resumed management of its own external affairs since early 2021. This resumption of diplomacy coincided with undisclosed internal projects reaching levels permitting the re-creation of prior corporations related to the nation's internal interests. Per agreement reached in 2019, ASRN ended its Compact of Free Association with Zenrax (now Stormhold), while retaining the original shared citizen agreement and the original 2017 Agreement on Arts & Sciences Collaboration. The two entities continue to collaborate very closely on matters relating to the arts, culture, aerospace science, security, and technology.
Land claims were no longer in use, and over time ASRN loaned its territory (including its burgeoning test range) to outside entities. As such, the nation reduced its land claims until its direct use could be restored to its citizens
Imperial Federation of Zenrax
Due to lack of political and government development while continuing involvement in space technology, ASRN decided to join Zenrax as sovereign state and use Zenrax government to act in place of ASRN nonexistence political body. Zenrax federalized in May 2022, under the authority of the states of Stormhold, Novapara, and Aphelia. Under this same agreement, ASRN's membership of International Aerospace Community was transferred to Zenrax with same delegate as full member.
During July 2020, members of Aphelia Space Agency 3D printed face-shield frames during PPE stortages, along with mask strap holders to relieve pressure on medical workers' ears after long hours in Covid wards (which would cause skin rashes and bruises), as requested by Svein's relatives in the medical field. The team printed over 500 pieces of equipment, which then shipped out to several hospitals in Thailand. There were petitions to shift up production to other more productive mean, but the 3D printer owned by ASA and ASRN member went out of service from excessive use. However, as PPE shortages ceased to be an issue in local area, the team decided to cease the operation rather than combat the problem further.
To 28 October 2021, there were no report of citizens of ASRN contracting the Covid-19 virus. As Thailand government decision to refuse the Covax program offer and delayed importing of mRNA vaccines, ASRN citizens in Thailand were obliged to rely on private medical service to acquire the Moderna vaccine. One ASRN citizen reported to spend over USD200 to vaccinate their family. Thailand's delayed pandemic response (to include its lack of official compensation from government shutdowns) were heavily criticized by Svein and ASRN citizens on their personal social media. They similarly praised Thai citizens who took their own initiative to prevent Covid-19 outbreak without government aid (including donating food and supplies to medical workers) and generally taking prescribed Covid safety measures very seriously.
Aphelia Space Agency
The Aphelia Space Agency's projects vary in design. Overall, they primarily revolve around developing a sounding rocket and a cubesat at a cheaper cost. The ASRN was a partner of the civilian private space program, NEXSpace Exploration. Since its revival in 2021, ASRN has once again opened independently for international collaboration and intergovernmental contributions to the development and exploration of space. ASRN personnel involvement in space sector range from amateur rocketry, developing a small-lift launch vehicle, developing radio and nanosatellite based network and space policy consultant.
Space Test Complex 1
Space Test Complex 1 is a small territory owned by Svein's family, and is located in a northeastern region of Thailand. The facility is capable of hosting sounding rocket engine tests, being equipped with a horizontal test stand and fire suppression system. The site is now closed, having since been converted into farmlands managed by Svein's family. Because the facility is too small, the location raised safety concerns with a nearby village. As such, launching a rocket larger than a high-power amateur rocket from Space Test Complex 1 proved unrealistic due to high associated risks. Space Test complex 1 is now decommissioned, and all equipment moved to another location or sold to recuperate losses from the facility's decommissioning. Only the water tank is reserved for agriculture propose, having used to be part of a test stand. It was used primarily as a shield to block debris, some of which can still be found buried in the field.
K13 Test Ground
K13 Test Ground is a test site temporarily acquired by ASRN to participate in low altitude educational rocket motor tests in 2021. The test site is a farmland owned by one of Sveins's family relatives in central Thailand. Tests were delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic, but the project has nonetheless been slated to proceed at an undetermined date.
Aphelia Technology Protection Act
Due to the nature of space technology being frequently classified as defense technology by international law and national governments worldwide, most of the ASRN's core space technologies remain undisclosed. Access to undisclosed space technology requires written permission, along with a mutual non-disclosure agreement from Svein, the Aphelia Space Agency, patent owner and/or any third party involved in development of the technology.
ASRN space technology will not be shared with any non-scientific research organization or for non-research proposes. This policy is to protect ASRN technologies from misuse by unauthorized, unqualified or malicious persons or organizations. Furthermore, ATPA violations can result in violation of international and national security laws of the macronation which can lead to severe consequences as well.
The government has closely guarded its intellectual property during its existence, and has licensed its designs and technology to very few organizations, most of which remain undisclosed. Those few entities it has released proprietary information to include the State of Zenrax (now the Imperial Principality of Stormhold).
ASRN maintained relations with other nations since its establishment in 2017 with very exclusive with its choices of allies and does not wish to create any military alliances with other micronations. ASRN is open to project collaboration and membership. Citizens of ASRN are permitted to bear multi-citizenship with other micronations.
ASRN is open for collaboration and diplomatic relations with other micronation in various subjects but does not actively seeking for one.
The following are political entities that ASRN maintains diplomatic relations with since its establishment in 2017
- Thegn-Hold of Siar Fordell since 2017, mutual recognition
- Kingdom of Jupiter since 2017, mutual recognition
- Imperial Federation of Zenrax since 2018, STEM and art collaboration/space program support. Later joined Zenrax as a state in 2022.
Grand Unified Micronational
ASRN is a provisional member of the Grand Unified Micronational since July 2021. However, it wields relatively little influence through its founder Svein Smedberg. Its citizens are most active in the organization's Minecraft server, where the ASRN entered into a friendly competition with Stormhold over building increasingly large and grandiose architectural features and settlements. Since it joined Zenrax, it has been unconditionally entitled to send a representative of its choice as part of Zenrax's own delegation.
International Aerospace Community
The ASRN is a member of the International Aerospace Community. While maintaining minimal activity, the ASRN nonetheless offers its experience in the space sector to members of the micronational community.
Geography and climate
The ASRN's general climate can be described as a tropical monsoon climate. It is characterized by a strong monsoon season, with a considerable amount of sun, a high amount of rainfall, and high humidity that makes summer weather quite uncomfortable. The Köppen climate classification of ASRN can be classified as Aw climate: a hot, tropical climate with all months above 18 °C and a period of dry weather in the winter.
Summer is from February to May. Its climate is greatly influenced by southeasterly monsoons from the South China Sea and the Gulf of Thailand. Due to the long distance from the sea, the weather is hot and dry. The rainy season is from May to October and has been known to cause depression in some. However, throughout the season, the amount of rainfall at any one given time varies even though 80% of total rainfall occurs in August and September. Rainfall is unpredictable, but is concentrated in the rainy season from May to October. Average annual precipitation varies from 2,000 mm (79 in) in some areas to 1,270 mm (50 in). This is to say, the likelihood of rainfall in the ASRN is difficult to predict. The rainy season begins with occasional short but heavy showers, eventually raining very heavily for longer periods almost every day, usually in the late afternoon or at night, until it ends abruptly at the onset of the cool season. The cool season is from October to February. There are many northeastern monsoons that affect the area. The beginning to the end of October experiences some rains, however as the winter continues, a colder period of high pressure blows in from China, creating a characteristically drier weather. The other seasons are hot season from February to May with its sudden peak of high temperatures in April.
Due to safety concerns, some ASRN research and development projects such as solid-fuel rocket motors and other engine testing are put on hold when the temperatures rise above 40 °C to prevent overheating, over-pressurization, and undesired ignition in engines. Additionally, during cool season the region features drier weather and strong wind, which frequently means that a rocket can be pushed off course by strong upper level winds and sudden changes in wind direction. Another reason for a general launch ban in summer and cool seasons is the risk of wildfire, as Space Test Complex 1 and other ASRN facilities are located close to heavily farmed and/or forested areas.
While the nation no longer claims most of the aforementioned territories, the nation remains headquarter in the same areas as of 2021.
The de facto official languages in the ASRN are English and Thai. However, its members are able to speak various other languages including Japanese, German, Norwegian, English-based creole languages and more.
ASRN carries out no censuses. However, the population as of mid-2021 is estimated to be no more than fifteen individuals, of whom two are active in government, internet presence, and/or other national activities.
ASRN has long been considered a progressive country that has adopted policies to support its citizens and protect them from unlawful discrimination. In regard to LGBT rights, gender identity considered a private matter that the government should not involve itself in, aside from maintaining policy on prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity. Furthermore, it sees the sole role of government in LGBT matters as guaranteeing the legality of civil union partnerships and marriages for same-sex couples, along with other rights enjoyed by "traditional" couples.
There are several holidays in the ASRN, the major ones which are listed below:
|New Year's Day||1 January||The beginning of the year in the Georgian Calendar. Public holiday in ASRN.|
|Spaceflight Memorial day||27 January||Remembering, honoring, and mourning personnel that had lost their life in spaceflight activity|
|ASRN National day||23 March||The yearly anniversary of the establishment of ASRN|
|International Day of Human Space Flight||12 April||Anniversary of the first human space flight by Yuri Gagarin.|