Anousheh Ansari

Anousheh Ansari is the first female private space explorer and Chairman, CEO & Co-founder of Prodea Systems, Inc. On September 18, 2006, Anousheh Ansari captured headlines around the world as the first female private space explorer and the first astronaut of Iranian descent. Currently, Anousheh is chairman, CEO and co-founder of Prodea Systems, a company that will unleash the power of the Internet to all consumers and dramatically alter and simplify consumer’s digital living experience. Prior to founding Prodea Systems, Anousheh served as co-founder, CEO and chairman of the board for Telecom Technologies, Inc. The company successfully merged with Sonus Networks, Inc., in a deal worth approximately $750M. To help drive commercialization of the space industry, Anousheh 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. Anousheh immigrated to the United States as a teenager who did not speak English. She earned a bachelor’s degree in electronics and computer engineering from George Mason University, followed by a master’s degree in electrical engineering from George Washington University. She has an honorary doctorate from the International Space University and is currently working toward a master’s degree in astronomy from Swinburne University. Anousheh is a member of the X Prize Foundation’s Vision Circle and Board of Trustees. She is a life member in the Association of Space. She has received multiple honors, including the World Economic Forum Young Global Leader, the Working Woman’s National Entrepreneurial Excellence Award, George Mason University’s Entrepreneurial Excellence Award, George Washington University’s Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award, and the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award for Southwest Region. While under her leadership, Telecom Technologies earned recognition as one of Inc. magazine’s 500 fastest-growing companies and Deloitte & Touche’s Fast 500 technology companies. She currently works to enable social entrepreneurs to bring about radical change globally, with organizations such as X Prize, ASHOKA and the PARSA Community Foundation. Through it all, Anousheh continues to quote Gandhi, one of her personal heroes, who said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”

Broadcast 872 (Special Edition)

Guest: Anousheh Ansari. Anousheh Ansari was the guest for the first hour of this Space Show program with the remainder of this nearly 2 hour program filled by Open Lines. Please visit Anousheh's website ( for more information about her activities, interests, appearances, as well as her blog that she wrote aboard the ISS. We started the program by asking Anousheh about her interests in business and electronics and what triggered these interests for her.

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