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Anousheh Ansari      

CEO of X Prize Foundation & First Female Private Space Explorer

Anousheh Ansari captured headlines around the world as the first female private space explorer, and earned a place in history as the fourth private explorer to visit space and as the first astronaut of Iranian descent.

Ansari dreamed of space exploration since her childhood in Iran. On September 18th, 2006, she blasted off for an eight-day expedition aboard the International Space Station. While in space, Ansari wrote a blog at, which captured international attention.

A living example of the American dream, Ansari immigrated to the United States as a teenager who did not speak English. She immersed herself in education, earning a bachelor's degree in electronics and computer engineering, followed by a master's degree in electrical engineering. She is currently working toward a master's degree in astronomy.

An active proponent of world-changing technologies, Ansari co-founded Telecom Technologies, Inc., in 1993, which created a product called a "softswitch" that allows voice communications over the Internet. It was sold in 2001 for over $750 million.

To help drive commercialization of the space industry, Ansari and her family provided title sponsorship for the Ansari X Prize, a $10 million cash award for the first non-governmental organization to launch a reusable manned spacecraft into space twice within two weeks. Legendary aerospace designer Burt Rutan accomplished this feat in 2004.

Ansari is now CEO, chair, and co-founder of Prodea Systems, a company which will significantly change the way consumers interact with the Internet.


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Speech Topics

Reaching for the Stars and Getting There

Entrepreneurial Success as a Women

The Virtues of Space Exploration

Space Commercialization and its Future

Be the Change You Want to See in the World


Spotlight on X-STEM Speakers: Anousheh Ansari! – USA Science ...

Lifting off with the Expedition 14 mission crew on September 18, 2006, American businesswoman Anousheh Ansari made headlines around the world as the first ...

Ansari to speak at Muslim Women's Foundation to host Mother's Day ...

Plano resident Anousheh Ansari, who was born in Iran and immigrated to the United States, will provide the keynote speech during the Texas Muslim Women's  ...

Anousheh Ansari: A passion for space travel

Anousheh Ansari spent her childhood in Iran dreaming of venturing into space. On Monday, that dream came close to fulfilment when the businesswomen with American citizenship boarded a Russian Soyuz spacecraft.

Anousheh Ansari Dreams of Stars

When Anousheh Ansari was a little girl in Tehran, she used to sleep on her family's balcony, and look up at the stars, twinkling over Mt. Damavand. Her family was having tough times: her parent's marriage was breaking up, while Iran's clerical revolution had closed her school, and seemingly ended her dream of becoming a scientist. The stars were Anousheh Ansari's refuge.

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