So far, the project has been funded solely through the private funds of those working on the project. However, they have plans to crowdfund and approach investors to strengthen their coffers. Initially, they will accept 100,000 people to become members of the would-be nation of Asgardia. You can even apply to become a citizen on the project’s website, which has a ".space" domain name, of course.
“As low-earth orbit becomes more accessible, what’s often called the 'democratization' of space, a pathway is opening up to new ideas and approaches from a rich diversity of participants,” Professor David Alexander, Director of the Rice Space Institute at Rice University in Texas, told the press conference.
“The mission of Asgardia to create opportunities for broader access to space, enabling non-traditional space nations to realise their scientific aspirations, is exciting.”
Screenshot of Dr Igor Ashurbeyli speaking at press conference in Paris on 12 October
Such an ambitious plan has many hurdles to overcome and is surrounded by many "if and buts". For one, it seems overly optimistic they will be able to obtain nation status from the UN, let alone by 2017. It was also questioned that the project will require an Earthly nation state to host its satellite launches, although they did explain they would require the help of other country's space agencies in the short term.
Furthermore, the legality and politics of the project is meaningless if they don't have the money, technological capability, or practical means of actually getting to space.
“Is it madness? Call it what you will, and time will tell,” said Dr Ashurbeyli.