I’ve just departed Los Angeles this morning en route to Isle of Man (UK) to attend the Board meeting of the International Space University (ISU). Anousheh very graciously agreed to make a few special phone calls during her precious orbital downlink opportunities. One of these calls will be to the student body of the ISU. Another will go to the student body of MIT, and one more to Google employees at the Googleplex where fellow X PRIZE Board Member Larry Page will have a chance to say hello.
Speaking of phone calls, I have say that Anousheh is quite the trouper. She’s a member of the X PRIZE Foundation’s Executive Committee, which meets monthly by telephone to discuss management issues like where X PRIZE should be focusing, the status of prizes, etc. We had our monthly call scheduled for yesterday morning (Pacific time) and even while in quarantine out in Baikonur, Anousheh still joined the call, at 11 p.m. local time in Kazakhstan. I wonder if we can get her to call in from orbit? (just kidding).
I have to say that as her launch date approaches, I’m turning green with envy! Unfortunately the slip in the launch date from Sept 14th to the 18th makes it impossible for me to attend Anousheh’s launch. I’ve heard absolutely amazing stories about watching a Soyuz launch live in person. You are so close you can feel the blast of heat from the engines, not five miles away like at Kennedy Space Center.
It was my pleasure this morning to introduce Anousheh via email to NASA Associate Administrator Rex Geveden, who will be the senior NASA representative at the Soyuz launch, and present for her landing and recovery. Congrats to Rex, NASA and the rest of the team for getting Shuttle off just in time!
-Peter (somewhere over the Atlantic en route to Isle of Man)