Anousheh Ansari Space Blog

Launch -8 Hours

Anousheh thanks for sharing your feelings on launch day. I can’t imagine you could possibly go to sleep today! I remember reading in Charles Lindbergh’s autobiography about the difficulty he faced the evening of May 19th, 1927, knowing that he would make a trans-Atlantic one-person journey the next morning. As I sit at home in Los Angeles, on the other side of the planet, at L-8 hours, I have to admit I’m nervous. I wish I could be there.

I guess that I and everyone else can take comfort in the amazing success record of the Soyuz, and the hundreds of people in mission control watching the vehicle’s systems.

For those who don’t know, the Soyuz is an amazing vehicle. The first manned Soyuz capsule flight carried a human to space in April 1967. Since then more than 220 vehicles have been built and flown with more than 100 cosmonauts on a variety of missions. Today, Soyuz is the longest serving manned spacecraft in the world. More information on the booster and spacecraft can be seen at Wikipedia

I can’t wait to see Anousheh again. I guess that will take place on October 4th (the 2nd anniversary of SpaceShipOne’s Ansari X PRIZE-winning flight) in Washington, DC. On that day we’re going to announce our next X PRIZE.

Anousheh, thank you for telling folks about the X PRIZE Cup. We’re really hoping that people will come from around the U.S. and the world to join us in person in Las Cruces, NM. Tickets to attend are only $10. Tickets are available for sale here. Our vision is to create the America’s Cup or Grand Prix of space, a place that families come to see the next generation of rockets fly, sit inside the capsules, meet the astronauts and eventually buy tickets for their own journeys into space.

I remember in 2002, when I first met you Anousheh, and you stepped up to funding the Ansari X PRIZE, one of my promises to you was to help you reach your goal of traveling into space. Frankly I never imagined it would happen so soon!

One of my favorite stories is The Man Who Sold the Moon by Robert Heinlein. The story is about a man named D. D. Harriman whose dream and passion is to travel to the Moon. He spends years working, risking all of his money to make this dream real. He himself plans to make the trip as part of the crew. Unfortunately in the end, he can not go because of the weight restrictions, and instead has to watch the rocket launch without him. A small part of me feels like D.D. Harriman, watching as Anousheh launches. I know I’ll get a chance to go eventually, I guess when I can afford it (!) — or when X PRIZE-class vehicles drop the price down so we can all get a chance to fly.

Until then, I’ll be down on the ground, here in LA, cheering “Go Anousheh Go! Gods speed and safe journey!”

— Peter