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First female space tourist blasts off By MIKE ECKEL, Associated Press Writer

Mon Sep 18, 6:52 AM ET




BAIKONUR, Kazakhstan - An Iranian-American telecommunications entrepreneur took off Monday on a Russian rocket bound for the international space station, achieving her dream of becoming the the world's first paying female space tourist.


Anousheh Ansari was accompanied by a U.S.-Russian crew on the Soyuz TMA-9 capsule, which entered orbit about 10 minutes after liftoff from the Russian cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.


Ansari reportedly paid $20 million to become the fourth private astronaut to take a trip on a Russian spacecraft and visit the station.


"I'm just so happy to be here," she said ebulliently as she entered the rocket Monday, watched by about a dozen relatives.


As smoke billowed below the rocket, her relatives gasped and her mother clasped her hands in front of her chest.


Ansari's husband, Hamid Ansari, watched the liftoff stoically, but her sister's face was streaked with tears and her aunt jumped up and down, shrieking and pumping her arms in the air.


At Russian Mission Control, NASA flight director Robert Dempsey said Ansari's presence was a plus to the mission. As for the propriety of sending tourists into space, he said: "My personal feeling is I wish it could be me."


The Soyuz TMA-9 capsule took off less than a day after the U.S. space shuttle Atlantis pulled away from the orbiting station and began its journey Earthward.


On board with Ansari were Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Tyurin and U.S. astronaut Michael Lopez-Alegria, who were to join German astronaut Thomas Reiter on the station just over 48 hours after liftoff.


Ansari, 40, was due to return to Earth on Sept. 29, along with cosmonaut Pavel Vinogradov and astronaut Jeffrey Williams, who have been on the station since April.


On Sunday, Ansari defended the role of "space flight participants" and said she viewed herself as an ambassador for attracting private investment to space flight.


"In order to make great leaps in space exploration ... private companies and the government need to work together," she said at a news conference at the cosmodrome in Baikonur.


Ansari gave $10 million in 2002 for the naming rights to a prize awarded to the first successful privately financed manned trip into space.


Ansari follows in the footsteps of Britain's Helen Sharman, who flew to Russia's Mir Space Station in 1991 as a tourist as part of a lottery system called Project Juno.


Astronaut Lopez-Alegria said just a few years ago he was skeptical of private tourists. But he said now it was clear that the Russian space program needed such investment — and that without the Russian space program, the U.S. space program would suffer.


"If that's the correct solution... then not only is it good from the standpoint of supporting the Russian space program, but it's good for us as well," he said. Ansari's presence in space "is a great dream and a great hope not just for our country but for countries all around the world."


Cosmonaut Tyurin called Ansari "very professional" and said he felt like they had worked together for a decade.


Ansari said she expected seeing Earth from space would alter her view of the planet.


"You'll see how small and how fragile the Earth is compared to the rest of the universe," she said. "It will give us a better sense of responsibility."


Earlier she said she was eager to see Iran from space — she hasn't been back since emigrating to the United States — and hopes to inspire girls in her homeland to study science.


Ansari and her family left Iran a few years after the Islamic revolution, in part because the opportunities for a young girl to study science were becoming limited there.


Speaking no English when she arrived as a teenager with her family in Virginia, she went on to earn bachelor's and master's degrees in engineering within a few years.


She and her husband married in 1991 and later moved to Texas to start a company that made signal-switching software for phone networks.


In 2000, at the height of the telecommunications boom, they sold their suburban Dallas company to Massachusetts-based Sonus Networks Inc. for $550 million in Sonus stock.


The value of those shares slid from $40 to under $5 as the telecom industry collapsed but her husband said they had "enough opportunity to sell enough shares to earn financial independence."


The timing of some stock sales led to shareholder suits against Sonus and nine people, including Anousheh Ansari. The plaintiffs accused her of illegal insider trading in the sale of $26.3 million in Sonus stock.


A spokeswoman for the couple said the Securities and Exchange Commission never accused Mrs. Ansari of insider trading.


Tyurin and Lopez-Alegria are to join Reiter as the construction at the space station is picking up pace. On the agenda for the four days following the departure of the Atlantis: The station's current crew will shift a Progress supply ship to a different docking port to make way for the Soyuz; Atlantis will land back on Earth; and the Soyuz will dock at the station.


During the six-month tenure of Tyurin and Lopez-Alegria, four space walks are planned, with as many as three to be conducted in January to help set up the station's permanent cooling system. Another will take place earlier to retrieve and install experiments on the station's exterior.




AP reporter Vladimir Isachenkov contributed to this story from Mission Control in Korolyov, Russia.


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White Dwarf
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Reply with quote  #2 

...and to think OUR space program only gets money by taxing us. 



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Reply with quote  #3 

Got to be a joke. . . right?!?




Mon Dec 11, 5:47 AM ET




Vowing to boldly go where no gourmet coffee chain has ever gone before, Starbucks Inc. announced today that it would build its first coffee franchise on the moon by the year 2020.


While the coffee giant raised eyebrows in the restaurant and aerospace industries with its startling announcement, it stunned Wall Street with its plan to expand to over 11,000 lunar coffee houses by 2021.


At a press conference at the company's Seattle headquarters, Starbucks spokesperson Carol Foyler said that        NASA's decision to build a manned base on the lunar surface by the year 2020 motivated Starbucks decision to expand moonward.


"Those astronauts are going to be working long and hard to build that moon base and we're betting they're going to want a latte or two," Ms. Foyler says. "Fortunately for them, there'll be a Starbucks on the edge of every crater."


But Starbucks' decision to expand to 11,000 stores by 2021 inspired skepticism among restaurant industry experts, who wondered if there was a large enough market for gourmet coffee on the moon to justify such accelerated growth.


"The biggest problem is that there is no life on the moon," said Nick Klujian, an analyst at Morgan Stanley. "They'd be much better off on Mars."


In response to Mr. Klujian's comment, Starbucks responded: "Did we say the moon? We meant Mars. Sorry, we got the order wrong."


Elsewhere, spokespersons for        Jennifer Aniston and        Vince Vaughn said that the couple has broken up but remain good friends, according to a story published today in "Like I Care" magazine.


Award-winning humorist, television personality and film actor Andy Borowitz is author of the new book "The Republican Playbook," to be published October 2006. To find out more about Andy Borowitz and read his past columns, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at


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Yellow Star
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Reply with quote  #4 

True, Space tourism is booming and will probably take a major place in space activities in the near future. I am currently in the team working on the legal aspects of space tourism via the Student Aerospace Challenge. Here is an extract of their website :

"Students, you can participate to the ambitious suborbital spaceplane project developed by theACE. This spacecraft will bring 3 to 6 passengers beyond 100km of altitude, the edge of space. The Student Aerospace Challenge proposes to contribute to this new venture led by Jean-Pierre HAIGNERE, the European astronaut, by studying several different aspects of the project and proposing innovating solutions."

It's really exciting to work on suborbital flights, there are so many things to adapt or create !

For more information about the Student Aerospace Challenge :


About the Star Bucks, well I don't know if this is a joke but that is not so irrealistic. Let's say they still need 30 years at least before building Star Bucks on the Moon (There are Star Bucks in Paris and I LOVE their strawsberry/white chocolate CHEESE CAKE...mmmm Maybe one day I could eat my cheese cake on the Moon ).

The presence of private societity is in fact the future of Space. When the Russian launched the first module of the ISS, they put the logo of Pizza Hut on it ! But wait if I remember well, Gorbatchev was on the TV commercial of Pizza Hut... lol






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White Dwarf
Posts: 519
Reply with quote  #5 
Can you believe they were going to tax the crap out of that guy that won the space trip??!! Ohman I was so pissed when I saw that. That poor guy crushed because the government wanted thousands of dollars before he went..... oh man that is sooooooooooooooooooooooo

oooooooooooo low!!

when do we stand up to this?! I want to know... where is everyones balls no days

..... sleepy sheep wake up!!! you just dont get it

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