A & S Interview: Anousheh Ansari
The X-Prize sponsor and space tourist talks about trips to orbit, past and future.
- By Bettina H. Chavanne
- AirSpaceMag.com, September 01, 2007
(Page 5 of 5)
A&S: What are your opinions on the personal spaceflight “revolution”? How close do you think we are to making space tourism a reality?
Ansari: I think we’re very close. The X-Prize has played a huge role in changing the paradigm about personal space flight. Before that, people laughed at it. When we [the Ansari family] became part of the X-Prize foundation at the beginning, three years before SpaceShipOne, when I talked about it, people said, “Are you crazy to put money in that?”
People couldn’t fathom it. Now those people ask “When can I fly?” It’s a revolution that has started, and it’s going on. It has gained support from regulatory bodies and government agencies. At first, the government held a harsh stance toward space tourism, but they’re softening. I think the industry will grow and flourish. I think it’s here to stay and won’t go away.
A&S: You’re involved in many projects. What direction is your career going to take from this point? Will you be involved in space travel again in the future?
Ansari: I certainly hope so. I’m definitely involved in educational aspects of space. I definitely hope I’ll be able to experience space flight again. I’ll definitely be on a sub-orbital flight because I’m a junkie now.
Career-wise, we’ve started a new technology company that has nothing to do with space, called Prodea Systems. I have been focusing on that product and hoping to have social uses for it. I’m also collaborating with people building space ships, and those developing regulatory information for spaceflight like those in insurance or law. If I see an area I can get more involved in, I will.
A&S: You attended the X-Prize Cup in October 2006, and I assume you talked to a lot of people about their ideas and dreams for space. You’ve also received a lot of feedback on your blog. Is there any one recurring theme you hear from the public in their comments regarding their dreams for space travel?
Ansari: One thing I hear a lot is, I think there’s a sort of mysterious draw that people have with Mars. I think Mars exploration and potential future flight to Mars is something lots of people are really excited about. At least people in the space industry. I think maybe it’s the concept of Martians or the possibility of life on Mars.