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Iranian Woman Is First Female Space Tourist; Agrees To Wear Spacesuit - Articles Surfing
Just when we thought all Iranian women were contentedly hiding behind their veils, what do we read but one not only made it to America but just made it into space?
The daring and successful Anousheh Ansari, who grew up in Iran dreaming, not of memorizing the Koran as a safe substitute for original thought, but of space, has become the first female space tourist.
She blasted off from Kazakhstan in a Soyuz rocket with astronaut Michael Lopez-Alegria of NASA and cosmonaut Mikhail Tyurin of Russia.
'Ever since I can remember,' she said, 'it has been in my soul and in my heart. I've always been interested in and fascinated by space.'
How did she do it?
Ansari left Iran, where she was born in 1966, with her sagacious parents, shortly after the grim Islamic revolution. Once here, she studied electronics and data processing, got her American citizenship, and went on to graduate from George Mason University in Virginia and George Washington University in DC.
She learned well and filed patents in telecommunications. She convinced her husband to leave the comforts of corporate corridors and set up their own venture in 1993. The telecommunications company they started grew and had 250 employees, when the Ansaris sold it in 2000. Which helps explain how the lass could come up with the $25-million for the ticket to history.
But there's more. Her family, apparently widely successful, has invested in technology, including space exploration, to which they gave $10 million to a foundation that encourages advances in space flight.
The venturesome Iranian woman is also studying for a diploma in astronomy.
'I hope that not only my flights, but the life I have lived so far, become an inspiration for all youth all over the world, especially women and girls around the world to pursue their dreams,' she said. 'It may seem very hard... but looking at my background they can see that sometimes the impossible can be possible and dreams can come true.'
As a fillip to diplomatic amity, earlier in the year she displayed the flags of Iran and the United States on her spacesuit. 'I felt that by wearing the two badges I can demonstrate that both countries had something to do with making me the person who I am today,' she said.
May she be an inspiration to many in her homeland.
She certainly qualifies as one in a world weary of hearing just how far along the radical road to earthbound conduct Iran has trod.
Copyright © 1995 - Photius Coutsoukis (All Rights Reserved).
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