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Anousheh Ansari (born September 12, 1966 in Mashhad, Iran) is an engineer and the Iranian-American co-founder and chairwoman of Prodea Systems. 
Ansari was the fourth overall self-funded space tourist, and the first self-funded woman to fly to the International Space Station. Her memoir, My Dream of Stars, co-written with Homer Hickam, was published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2010.

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When Anousheh Ansari was a little girl in Tehran, she used to sleep on her family's balcony and look up at the stars as they twinkled over Mt. Damavand. In 2006, she became the first self-funded woman to fly on the International Space Station. She talks to host Scott Simon about her travels into space and about her new book, My Dream of Stars.
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The second anniversary of Anousheh Ansaris adventurous travel to the spatial station as the first Iranian space explorer passed over with the reticence of global media who have been busy analysing the very earliest side effects of President-elect Barack Obamas victory in the 2008 U.S. Presidential Elections. In the heat of Ansaris space voyage, American media broached bunches of controversial issues such as the reluctance of half-blooded astronaut to introduce herself as Iranian or Muslim, but she never found the opportunity to clarify this.
Furthermore, most of the newspapers or websites dedicated their conversations to professional and technical matters when interviewing Anousheh Ansari which caused many stories to remain untold.

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Anousheh Ansari
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60 seconds interview with Anousheh Ansari
Ansari appeared on Future Summit: World In Motion, debating space travel, on CNN International.

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Anousheh Ansari, who became the first female space tourist in 2004, reminded a packed Kresge Auditorium on Friday that it is important to shoot for the moon — or, at the very least, for low earth orbit.

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The first female paying space tourist, Anousheh Ansari, has landed on the Kazakh steppe after a journey back from the International Space Station (ISS).

The Soyuz capsule also carried fellow US astronaut Jeff Williams and Russian cosmonaut Pavel Vinogradov. It landed in the 90km predicted zone.
The craft slowed its descent by firing rockets and opening parachutes until it landed softly on its side in a field.

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The Russian Federal Space Agency officially announced that Iranian born Anoushe Ansari would travel in space on the Soyuz aircraft next spring. It is not an official Russian-Iranian flight, since Ms. Ansari, a U.S. citizen, is to fund the flight on her own to become the first female space tourist. The Ansari family is also well known for investing in space tourism projects.
Alexey Krasnov, the head of the Federal Space Agency’s department for pilot programs, said on Friday that Anoushe Ansari, the ethnic Iranian U.S. citizen, is to become an alternate for Japan’s Daisuke Enomoto who is to set to fly to the International Space Station this autumn on the Russian Soyuz.

Anoushe Ansari was born in 1967 in Teheran. Her family immigrated to the United States after the Islamic Revolution. Ms. Ansari, her husband Hamid and his brother Amir founded Telecom Technologies in the U.S. to produce telecommunication equipment. The business brought multi-million revenues to the family.
After Telecom Technologies merged with Sonus Netword in 2000, the Ansaris set up Prodea Inc., an investment firm. The family has heavily invested in space tourism for a few years. Prodea became the major sponsor of the X-Prize in 2004, contributing $10 million for the contest to build the first private suborbital space flight. After the donation, the contest was renamed to Ansari X-Prize.
Mojave Aerospace Ventures won the prize in October 2004 after its SpaceShipOne spacecraft had gone twice to the height of over 100 km over two weeks.

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