Anousheh Ansari is the first female space tourist
and the fourth overall to make the trip from Russia to the
International Space Station (ISS). Anousheh Ansari's trip,
by Space Adventures,
was aboard a Russian Soyuz TMA-9 spacecraft, which launched
September 9, 2006 from Kazakhstan's Baikonur Cosmodrome.
Anousheh Ansari lifted off with cosmonaut Mikhail Tyurin
and astronaut Michael Lopez-Alegria on Expedition 14. When
returning from the ISS, on Expedition 13, Ansari flew with
astronaut Jeff Williams and cosmonaut Pavel Vinogradov on
a regularly scheduled Russian taxi mission to exchange crew
Anousheh Ansari received cosmonaut training at the Yuri Gagarin
Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City, Russia. Until a month
before her flight, however, Anousheh Ansari was a backup to
Japanese businessman Daisuke Enomoto, who was scratched from
the flight for medical reasons.
In stepped, 40-year-old Anousheh Ansari who became the first
Iranian-born U. S. citizen to travel into space. Complete
with iPod and motion sickness pills, Anousheh Ansari stepped
into the Soyuz capsule for takeoff.
Though the flight went well from a technical standpoint,
Anousheh Ansari did get sick on the trip to the ISS with headaches,
lower back pain and motion sickness that the pills couldn't
cure. She required a couple of injections of motion sickness
medication from the crew to get her medical illness under
control. One of her highlights was actually smelling "space"
when the capsule docked with the ISS.
Anousheh Ansari and her family were the largest multi-million
dollar donor to the X-prize for space tourism and, thus the
Anasari X-prize was named after her generosity. In addition,
Anousheh Ansari did something her predecessors did not do,
which was start and maintain a blog of her adventure through
the X-prize website.
Anousheh Ansari blogged about her thoughts, feelings and
impressions of the days leading up to the mission, her flight
and time about the ISS. While aboard the ISS she blogged
to the website, was not able to read comments, but was able
to answer limited emails and have them posted on the site
for her fans on the ground. Some video of the flight is also
posted to the blog as well.
While on the ISS, Anousheh Ansari conducted several experiments
for the European Space Agency (ESA). She conducted experiments
on anemia, lower back pain (of which she had first had experience),
and the effect of radiation on crew members and space station
On September 29, the Soyuz capsule with Anousheh Ansari aboard
undocked from the ISS and three and a half hours later, the
parachutes came out and the capsule landed back in Kazakhstan.
As a parting gift, the crew gave Anousheh Ansari a stuffed
toy bear that had flown on the mission and been used as a
zero-g sensor to let the crew know when they had officially
arrived into space.
Anousheh Ansari co-founded both Prodea Systems and Telecom
Technologies. Ansari received her master's degree at George
Washington University in Washington D.C. and is fluent in
Persian, French and English and acquired a working knowledge
of Russian for her flight.