First Female Muslim in Space
Hijri 1385-Present (AH); Common Era 1966-Present (CE)
Born in pre-revolution Iran, Anousheh Ansari immigrated to the United States as a teenager. Soon after receiving her master’s degree in electrical engineering from George Washington University, she began working at MCI. In 1993, Anousheh and her husband founded the telecommunications company, Telecom Technologies, Inc which was later sold to Sonus Network, Inc. In 2004, she and her family made a multi-million dollar donation to the X PRIZE Foundation, which promotes innovation regarding social and environmental issues. Subsequently, the X-PRIZE award that supports private space exploration and space craft design was officially renamed the Ansari X PRIZE. In 2006, Anousheh became the first Muslim female in space, when she blasted off in the Soyuz TMA-9, through Space Adventures, Ltd. She is only one of a handful of self-funded spaceflight participants and the first private female space explorer. She has conducted multiple experiments while at the International Space Station. Anousheh is the first person to contribute to a blog from space. She is the recipient of multiple awards and was one of only two women listed by Fortune Magazine’s “40 under 40” list in 2001.