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Portrait Anousheh Ansari


Entrepreneur and engineer, first female space tourist.

Anousheh Ansari was born in Machad, Iran in 1966. In 1982 she emigrated to the United States, where she initially studied electrical engineering and computer science. She later continued her studies in Washington D.C., where she received her degree in electrical engineering in 1992. One year later, together with her husband and his brother, she founded the Internet company tii (telecom technologies incorporated).

In 2000, the three sold their company for 550 million dollars and used the revenue to found a new company, Prodea Systems. Ever since she was a child, Anousheh Ansari dreamt of one day flying to space.

In 2004, she and her company Prodea Systems gave support to the X-Prize Foundation, a competition to provide a stimulus for private flights to outer space. The prize was subsequently re-named the Ansari X-Prize.