Anousheh Ansari Space Blog

September 23, 2006

Following Anousheh

Filed under: Personal Spaceflight — by Peter @ 7:28 pm

Thank you to everyone reading this blog and taking the time to share your thoughts and enthusiasm.

I guess I’m just like you are… excited, happy and inspired by Anousheh’s trip… and ready to go someday myself. The really cool thing about Anousheh’s flight and this blog is that she is one of us! A person with a dream! Whether you’re a young girl, a mom, an engineer, American, Iranian, from Dallas or just a dreamer… you can imagine taking this flight into space someday.

In the early days of the space program it was really the “fighter jock”… the person with the right stuff, who trained for a decade for a chance to fly, the person with a few PhDs in math and physics, or the test pilot…

But it doesn’t need to be that way. The same way that millions of people can explore the oceans, mountains or the rain forests, it’s time to make it possible to allow the general public to explore space. That’s what X PRIZE is all about. That’s why Space Adventures was created. That’s what Anousheh is doing… paving the path for many, eventually thousands, to follow in her footsteps.

There can be no doubt that it will happen, it’s only a matter of when. Humans have always explored — it is in our genes. When we find a new frontier, a few pioneers travel first… then the masses follow. Whether it was the European travels to the Americas, or the American Colonists opening the West… dreams, pioneers and eventually families followed. Space is no exception.

It is during our lifetimes that we will irreversibly open space for humanity. After all, everything that we hold of value on Earth… metals, minerals, real estate, and energy are in infinite quantities in space. I like to say that the Earth is a “crumb” in a supermarket filled with resources. The first Trillionaires will be made in space, but most importantly the resources to help humanity grow without destroying this precious planet we live on will be made available.

In reality, the greatest benefits for exploring space are not yet known… how could they be? To borrow from Sir Arthur C. Clarke, to try to pre-judge what we will discover in space is like asking the first colony of lungfish crawling onto land to predict fire. Fire is one of the most important technologies ever, but something totally unknown to the underwater dwellers.

What will be the equivalent of fire that humanity will discover as we travel toward the stars?

-Peter H. Diamandis (Chairman, X PRIZE)

September 20, 2006

Email From Space!

Filed under: Personal Spaceflight,Space Explorer — by Peter @ 6:56 pm

Subject: Hello from Peter Diamandis, Welcome to Space!

Hi Anousheh-

Welcome to your ISS Home! Earth watched your beautiful launch on the Internet and TV. You looked great… all smiles the entire time!

Here’s my blog entry of your launch (how it looked from NASA TV).


My Dear Peter,

You were on my mind the entire time. I remembered our first meeting with you sitting across the table and passionately talking about goals of the X Prize foundation. I was enjoying watching you make a sales pitch with such a passion.

You had me sold from the first minute but your passion was contagious and I wanted you to finish telling your story. I arrived in the station a few hours ago and it feels like home. I have been making notes all along the launch and I will be posting a blog on the trip.

The launch was very smooth. The trip to the station felt long but it was worth it. I cannot keep my eyes off the windows. Earth is magnificent and peaceful from up here. You don’t see any of those awful things you hear on the news, from up here.

The Earth is so beautiful and if we could all see it this way I’m sure we would do everything in our power to preserve it. I truly hope that more and more people get to experience this trip first hand. But more than anyone else I hope that you will experience this trip soon, because I cannot think of a more deserving person….

with my best space wishes 🙂

Docking Successful

Filed under: Personal Spaceflight — by X PRIZE @ 5:26 am

Vostok’s smooth and uneventful docking confirmed.

New residents have arrived at the International Space Station.

Vostok is now just one kilometer away from the International Space Station (ISS) and closing at a rate of 2 meters/second. Then it does a “fly around” and positions itself to dock to the Svesda Service Module on ISS. This docking port was occupied yesterday by the Progress 21 cargo craft.

It’s relatively busy in orbit around the Earth right now… with a crew on ISS, a crew on Soyuz TMA-9 and a crew on the Space Shuttle on the way home, there are 12 people on orbit. I look forward to the day when there are hundreds of human carrying spaceships in orbit, not just three.

Friends at Star City send reports that Anousheh is doing well, but recovering from an initial bout of space motion sickness. Space Motion Sickness hits about 40 percent of the astronauts who enter space. A quick injection of intramuscular phenergan can usually help. I’ve had the pleasure of flying Anousheh on two different occasions in parabolic flight with Zero-Gravity Corporation. She did amazingly well without any problems.

I bet Anousheh is looking out the window and can’t wait to open the hatch to visit her new home! The docking is being carried by NASA TV and the hatch opening ceremonies should take place at about 1:10am PDT / 4:10am EDT.

The NASA TV channel is now showing a beautiful view of the ISS with the Earth in the background. The view is coming from the Soyuz camera. In the middle of the image is a set of cross-hairs. The Soyuz is now at 10 meters and closing. Flight controllers are standing by for contact and capture of the ISS.

We have contact! Docking confirmed at 12:21 am CT, 9:21 am Moscow time! I bet Anousheh is happy!

The next step is the retraction of the docking probe, and a hard docking between the two vehicles to provide a tight seal.

Now we’ll have to wait for 3 hours of leak checks and system checks before the hatch is opened… then Anousheh will get nine days onboard the ISS to float around and share with us her adventures in orbit!

Peter H. Diamandis (at home in LA)

September 19, 2006

Docking Tomorrow

Filed under: Personal Spaceflight — by Peter @ 3:23 am

Mission Elapsed Time is now 23 hours and the crew of Soyuz TMA-9 reports all is well in orbit.

Progress undocked from the station so that Soyuz can dock there tomorrow, at 9:30 p.m. Pacific Time.

I’m definitely planning to stay up late until 1:10 am PT to watch Anousheh enter ISS for the first time — the hatch opening and welcoming ceremony will be carried live on NASA TV.

There has been an overwhelming response to this blog. So many great people and friends leaving greetings and great questions that will be read by Anousheh in space. I even saw my good friend Granger Whitelaw, CEO of Rocket Racing League, cheering Anousheh on here today.

So many kindred spirits never met before this conversation began — thanks for joining in!

— Peter

September 18, 2006

Launch -30 minutes

Filed under: Personal Spaceflight — by X PRIZE @ 3:36 am

At L-3 hours, in a small room, Anousheh and Expedition 14 crew members Astronaut Michael Lopez-Alegria and Cosmonaut Mikhail Tyurin are being suited up in their Sokol spacesuits. Once inside the special form-fitting pressure suit, they are asked to sit in a duplicate of the seat that they will sit in during their ascent to orbit. I’ve had the chance to sit in a Soyuz launch seat once while touring Star City. It is extremely cramped, your knees pulled close-up into your chest. I’m sure getting out of the suit is very much a relief once you reach orbit.

I’ve been watching Anousheh’s preparation non-stop on NASA TV, both on the web and on Direct TV. She’s all smiles, having a blast, laughing, throwing kisses and waves to her family. Across the room through a glass window you can see the crowd of visitors and press watching the final preparation. Anousheh’s husband Hamid, and her sister Atousa are watching and waving. Also in the front row is Rex Geveden, the senior NASA representative.

After about an hour of suiting up, the three cosmonauts are seated in front of the glass window to face their friends, family, and the media – once last chance to say thank you and goodbye. The head of the Russian Space Commission has just arrived on the “public side” of the window and informed the Cosmonauts that the Shuttle has completed its activities on orbit and is now ready to undock, making ready for the Soyuz to launch.

A few minutes later, the three cosmonauts have walked out the pre-flight integration facility and into the bus that will carry them to the Soyuz Booster. Anousheh is the first to get onboard. Her smile is wider than ever! She looks happy, confident and doesn’t look scared in the least!

Onward to the Stars!

— Peter

Live on NASA TV

Filed under: Personal Spaceflight — by X PRIZE @ 3:15 am

NASA TV is showing pre-launch preparations. Live coverage begins in 15 minutes.

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