Here Is Full Text of my interview with Anoushe Ansari that did for Nojum magazine and published in it in Farsi. You can find more about Nojum magazine at www.nojum.ir and more about Anousheh’s travel at www.anoushehansari.com
1) I would like start about first steps about your personal life, about your studies in Iran and migration to US.
Anoushe Ansari: I went to Jeanne D’arc in Iran and left Iran in 1984 to continue my studies in US. I was about 16 at the time. I finished the last year of High school here and got a BS in Electrical Engineering (EE) from George Mason University and a Master in EE from George Washington University.
You will also find both Amir’s and my Bio on the Prodea.com website.
2) For the first time people heard about Ansari family and specially
Anooshe when she chosen as one of most successful women of the US and
one of the most successful people in business. Would you please about
your professional activities business in the US that led you to this
Anoushe Ansari: I started my carrier in the telecom industry at MCI Telecommunications. My Husband Hamid, my Brother in law, Amir, and my Sister, Atousa all have the same background and we all worked in the field of Telecom. At the beginning of 1990, we started our first company in consulting services which led to our activities in Software product development later on. Our most successful product was developed in the late 1990’s in our company “telecom technologies, inc” (tti). tti was acquired by Sonus Networks in 2000.
As I have mentioned in my past interviews, Success is as a result of team work and cannot be achieved by an individual. With our complementary strengths, we made a strong team and with the help of wonderful employees, and a little bit of luck we were able to succeed. Perhaps my contribution to this success was the ability to keep focus and provide motivation and encourage teamwork, in order to get to the finish line.
3) Know Ansari family known as one of leading streams in
nongovernmental space travels. Review your activity shows that there
is very strong idea, interest and pushing force behind your activities
more than business alone. I would like to now where be first roots of
your interest to space. How space entered as a favorite activity for
you and is this dream begins from childhood? Can you explain about it?
Anoushe Ansari: I have been fascinated with Space and space travel ever since I can remember. This has been a childhood dream that has been with me throughout my life. With the success in our company, I found the opportunity to pursuit this dream more actively. My brother in law, Amir, also shares this dream with me and we both hope to fly to space in a private spaceship, before we die.
4) For the first time people heard about Ansari family activity in
space in vast, when you joined X-prize. But we know very little about
your activity about space before this event. Can you explain about
your pre Asari-XPrize activity that related to space?
Anoushe Ansari: As I mentioned before, we were very focused on out business and its success, so prior to its acquisition, most of our time and energy was spent in the telecom arena. Only after the sale of our company, we were able to focus on our Space dream. We got involved with X Prize in 2000 and announced our title sponsorship couple of years later.
5) Ansari X-prize was a very special moment in space history. we named it at Nojum as “beginning new age of space”, Bruce McCandless (former US astronaut) during an interview with me, said that with this prize we started new phase of space exploration that can help space
exploration more than space tourism and can entered many more space lovers to this technology. So my question is how you join this prize
and can you explain about this prize and its condition?
Anoushe Ansari: We saw XPrize as the best way to encourage private funding into soace travel development. It had become obvious that if we wait for the government agencies to make space travel more accessible to the general public, it may never happen. XPrize provided the motivation for innovative entrepreneurs to use exiting technologies in making space travel more cost effective and accessible to the public. The $10M prize was to be awarded to the first spaceship that makes a trip into the edge of space at about 100Km and returns safely and makes the same trip again in less than 2 weeks, with 90% reusability. The point of the second trip and the reusability factor was to ensure cost effectiveness and the ability to be able to commercialize the design.
6) Space Ship One of Paul Allen team won this prize, can you talk about the competitive teams and how this team won prize. Can you talk
about your feeling when space ship one for 2nd time landing and you give team x-prize? (We saw it live from CNN and rebroadcast it next day in Aseman-e-Shab live show in Iran.)
Anoushe Ansari: There were 26 teams for about 7 different countries competing for the prize. They were all in varying degrees of completion when the prize was won. As you know Canadian Arrow was very close to making a launch as well. All the teams had great ideas and many of them our continuing with their efforts in building suborbital vehicle. This is very encouraging for us since we have accomplished our main goal which as to create a Private space travel industry.
Standing in the Mojave Desert and watching Spaceship one land after its successful flight was one of the most exciting moments of my life. For the first time I could see that my dream was about to come true.
7) After Ansari X- prize you are continuing your activities in space travel and space tourism. I read that you found some other prizes to extend and support space research, especially in ongovernmental case; I know that recently you found new prize for idea and plane for spacecraft that can travel to moon and back. Can you explain more about these prizes and also your other activities?
Anoushe Ansari: We are continuing to work with the X Prize foundation in finding ways to continuing to push forward the development of private Space industries and prizes that could provide the next step in the private space travel. Our aim is toward orbital and lunar flight in the future and details of the prizes are still being worked. Meanwhile X Prize Cup wile b an annual event to showcase the progress and the development in the private space arena.
8) Few months ago we saw very interesting news from you. A great Idea that make an old dream to reality. You announced your plane for building first Space Port in Rass-al – kheyme. According our data you will build spacecrafts in association with Russian space agency and these spacecraft can send people to suborbital (about 100 km) distance from earth and back them to earth and it will begins its work at 2008.
Can you explain more about this plane and about which phases that passed until now?
Anoushe Ansari: Unfortunately we are at a stage that I cannot disclose any details about the design of this space craft. All I can say is that it is based on the design of one of the X Prize space crafts.
9) Why you chose UAE for this plane? Is it only related to economical support or there are some technical reasons?
Anoushe Ansari: We were looking for partners outside US to build the spaceports and UAE is one of the first countries that showed interest. We are hoping to build many more of these space ports in many countries around the world.
10) If Iran had acceptable situation in economy and other problems, was it possible that you chose Iran to build this space port?
Anoushe Ansari: I would love to see a space port in Iran. It requires support and encouragement of the government and conditions conducive to tourism. I love Iran and hope that such conditions will be provided one day.
11) This project decrees space tourism costs. What do you think about this cost that each people must pay for using this port services.
Anoushe Ansari: As you have seen Virgin Galactic has announced a $250,000 price tag for a suborbital ticket. I think this is on the high end and the prices would start dropping as there is more competition in the market. We are hoping to see the price drop to $15,000-$20,000 range in the next 10-15 years, or hopefully sooner.
12) What are the next steps that you plane about space tourism? Especially when we saw these activities in all around the world and other groups that join this new non governmental space race?
Anoushe Ansari: As I mentioned before we are working with X Prize to design the nest series of prizes to push forward this industry and we will concentrate on introducing competition and expanding these activities globally.
13) Your activities about space tourism opened one of space concepts again. What do you think about space lows? Do we need to write some new definitions and rules for using space?
Anoushe Ansari: I think Space laws are already being written. I hope one day, in humans would be able to leave without written laws, but that day is not were near and in order to be able to move forward we do need laws, acceptable and enforceable by an international body, to govern our activities and behavior in space.
14) What do you think about role of nongovernmental space activities to help space explorations?
Anoushe Ansari: I think it is an absolute necessity and Space exploration would be very limited and slow moving, without it.
15) Few weeks ago another news published about Ansari Family and space that happy us more than before. News about Anoosheh that will travel to ISS as first Iranian-American astronaut and also first women space tourist. Can you explain about this news?
Anoushe Ansari: I’m currently training as a back-up for the next private space Explorer, the Japanese Entrepreneur Dice-k Enemoto. I wanted to get a first hand experience about what it takes to do an extended space flight. The training at the Gagarin Cosmonaut training center has been very valuable and has provided me with new perspective on the level of knowledge required for an extended space trip.
16) Now you named as backup of Japanese space tourist. If his travel canceled you will go to ISS in September. If he didn’t cancel his trip when you flay to ISS?
Anoushe Ansari: Currently my first opportunity would be a trip in 2008.
17) Are you starting your training for this travel and which steps must be passed for this one week travel?
Anoushe Ansari: I have officially entered the training program in March and have been training since then. It is a 6 month training program which will end in mid September.
18) What is your filling about this fascinate journey? What do you think about living in no gravity conditions, living in only mankind station in space and more importance see earth from space as whole planet?
Anoushe Ansari: I don’t have any word to explain my sentiments about this journey. I guess I can compare it to the journey to Mecca for a devoted Muslim, or a journey to Jerusalem for a devoted Jewish. It is the trip of my lifetime and one that I have been dreaming about since my childhood. I believe seeing earth a small blue ball in the vast dark ocean of space, gives you a new perspective on life and what is important. You can see how small we are as compared to the universe and how fragile our lives are. At the same time you cal look beyond earth and see how vast the possibilities are and how the humankind could evolve in the future. From space, the earth is one, you cannot see borders you cannot see individuals. All you see is a big blue living earth spinning about its axis and how what we do in one corner can easily impact the entire planet. I hope all the young people, all over the world, would get a chance to see and experience this on their own.
19) I would like to know your mind future of space tourism and space
exploration and its necessity for mankind as a leading group of space explorations?
Anoushe Ansari: I believe space exploration is an absolute necessity for the survival of human race. It is a very naive view to think that the resources and conditions on earth would last forever. Our race has to take necessary steps now to be able to develop the technology necessary to live on other planets and moons and to reach to farther corners of the galaxy. In addition the vast resources and the scientific gains from space exploration would provide us with invaluable data that can befit us now.