Ūrątybara

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10, 2.1528, 92.2549
Uratybara
Ūl e Ūrątybara
Independent Admiral Islands Territory
Flag
Capital
and largest city
Uratybara (town)
National languagesDontdū
 • Regional languagesIngerish
Ethnic GroupsUnspecified (of Asperic Ocean island origin) (34%), Others (66%)
DemonymUratybaran
GovernmentCompany Limited by International Guarantee (CLIG)
 • CEADuman Art Makaral
LegislatureBoard of Directors
Area
 • Totalc15 km2
Population
 • Estimate18,000-25,000 (permanent residents)
HDI0.85
very high
CurrencyUS$
Drives on theleft
Internet TLD.ur .oo

Uratybara, formerly the Admiral Islands, is a group of islands lying just north of the equator in the Asperic Ocean. The coral atolls are part of a 700km-long chain of islands and lie between Cocus Island and Samiloor around 60km south-west of the Serene Islands.

The territory is a constituent member of the Organisation of Independent Oceanic Islands (OIOI) and is technically a state within this larger politico-economic union. It is a recent member of the Organisation, joining in 1984. The islands lie 4000km north of E'tena where the headquarters of OIOI are located, and around 1500km from diplomatic offices of OIOI in Lonowai District, Gobrassanya.

Name

The islands were named the Admiral Islands by the Ingerish explorer and cartographer Captain Robert Cork in 1777. Ūl e Ūrątybara is thought to derive from the name 'the bare island' in a local language; it was adopted as the official name of the islands in 1973. The language of origin - commonly called Ūrątybaran - is now extinct. The core settlement on the islands was established in the early 1940s by Asperic Ocean islanders, many from E'tena, and became known as 'Uratybara' in Dontdū, which is the majority language on the islands today. The islands are still sometimes referred to as 'the Independent Admiral Islands' or 'Admiral Islands Territory'.

Colonisation and settlement

The Admiral Islands were rarely visited until the early 20th century. The atolls were an overseas territorial possession of Gobrassanya from 1844 to 1941. A small Gobrassanyan military settlement existed on the islands between 1910 and 1914, consisting of a detachment of around 25 army engineers. The engineers constructed the first port facilities on the main island. The islands were deserted between 1914 and 1941. On 4th January 1941 the islands were purchased directly from the government of Gobrassanya by an international company, Admiral Island Sugar Company. The deed of purchase included all territorial rights over the (then uninhabited) islands. At the time of purchase, the islands were thought to be largely uninhabitable, due to lack of fresh water.

In 1947 the islands were sold to an international trading company Bear Holdings Inc based in Grum, with renewed plans to build a desalination plant and introduce sugar cane plantation. However, following purchase, the islands were developed by the holding company, with investment from international organisations, as a potential missile test range and as a launch facility for the development of space technology. Around 20 million tonnes of concrete shipped from Wahihuna was used in the construction of reinforced tidal protection around the launchpads and port facilities.

The space race

One of the first earth satellites, Tamsi 1, was launched from Uratybara on 15th March 1958. The satellite was launched from Atoll IV by a Sambo III rocket following a four year development programme. The satellite travelled at about 29,000 kilometres per hour (18,000 mph; 8,100 m/s), taking 96.2 minutes to complete each earth orbit. Its broadcasts were monitored by amateur radio operators throughout the world. The signals continued for 21 days until the transmitter batteries ran out on 6th April 1958. Tamsi 1 burned up in September 1958 whilst re-entering Earth's atmosphere around 400km west of Freedemia.

A number of increasingly large rockets were launched from the atolls. Rocket parts were shipped to the islands from laboratories and manufacturing plants around the world and were assembled in huge hangars and workshops erected on the main island. They were transported by heavy rail and barge to their launch sites.

In 1974, following the successful launch of a number of space missions, a falling used fuel tank from a three-stage rocket struck a Khaiwoonese registered fuel tanker around 20km south of the islands. This triggered a diplomatic incident with Khaiwoon, but investigation failed to determine whether the ship had been in international waters or within the territorial waters of Uratybara. Subsequently, all shipping was advised to avoid the area around the islands, but prospective launch dates of rocket tests were shared more widely and, with the participation of a number of Ulthan navies, shipping was directed away from the area at launch dates.

Rocket launches have continued in the 21st century. Today there are around 10 launches per year from launchpads in the atolls.

Economics

The islands are dependent on their strategic location on the equator and generally benign weather. These make the islands an ideal launch site for space ventures. They are located far enough away from major settlements that there is low risk to any populated areas.

Most resources are imported to the islands, but small scale harvesting of crops and plots is practised by most island residents. The construction of a major desalination plant powered by wind and solar energy has enabled irrigation of parts of the island and has allowed the population to increase substantially.

Politics

Uratybara is currently run as an international company, specifically a Company Limited by International Guarantee (CLIG), specialising in aeronautics and space research and rocket launch systems. Of the original five launch pads, two launch platforms are located on coral atolls in the island group. A large assembly plant is located on the main island. The launch facilities are well-used by a number of state sponsored space programs and private space ventures. Uratybara CLIG is a member of the Space Exploration Coordinating Agency which shares technology related to space research. Controversially, offices of the Telkhug Ēkdŭn (TĒ) organisation are also located on the island and a number of Telkhug Ēkdŭn satellites have also been launched from the facility.

The island is semi-democratic. The Chief Executive Administrator (CEA) of Uratybara CLIG is appointed by the board of directors who themselves are elected from a short-list. All candidates on the short-list are elected in an Annual General Meeting and serve a three-year term. A proven residency of three months on the island is necessary to stand for election to the board. In 1984 the board of directors voted to join the Organisation of Independent Oceanic Islands OIOI, the application being accepted on the condition that further suffrage was extended to all islanders. This has been happening slowly. In 1999 and again in 2007 OIOI threatened to withdraw membership from the island unless substantial changes were made and legislature based on that used in the International Criminal Court to uphold human rights and individual freedoms was introduced.

Culture

The island has a mixture of permanent residents and seasonal or temporary technical staff connected with the space programme. There have been concerns that permanent residents, especially families, are being marginalised in the islands development. however, the islands have comparatively high education levels and very high standards of living in spite of their remoteness.

Alcohol and drugs are prohibited on the islands. The islands most celebrated cultural event is the annual drum festival held each year in May. Drummers from around the Asperic areas come to the island to share music styles and celebrate. The festival usually co-indices with at least one rocket launch.

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In 2008, the directors of Uratybara CLIG voted to join the Ulethan Alliance for Culture. This was widely viewed as an attempt by the directors of the company to gain access to Ulethan art markets. With their massive incomes, the anonymous company directors are thought to invest a great deal in art. This has clear financial benefits for top artists, but there is a strong feeling that grass-roots art is ignored on the islands. There are no permanent theatres or galleries.

In 2013, launchpad Atoll 4 was designated a Ulethan Heritage Site.