Anousheh Ansari Space Blog

September 16, 2006

Countdown to Launch

Filed under: Personal Spaceflight — by X PRIZE @ 7:58 pm

The countdown clock to Launch at AnoushehAnsari.com is at 1 day, 10 hours, 10 minutes.

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Rendez-Vous at X Prize Cup

Filed under: Space Explorer — by Anousheh @ 5:07 pm

I wanted to let you all know that I will be at the X Prize Cup event in Las Cruces New Mexico October 20-21. You will see me roaming around and spending a lot of time in the children’s tent 🙂 That’ s where I spent a lot of time last year. They have cool simulators and I’m a kid at heart so I stood in line with the 12- and 13-year-olds to play with the simulators.

The event last year was a pre-opening event and it was attended by a lot of space enthusiasts. There was a wonderful positive space energy in the air. 🙂

We had an excellent education program, and the kids and adults enjoyed it equally. I was so excited when X Prize Foundation was able to get support from the state of New Mexico to start this annual event. It is the best space event I have attended. There was so much excitement and this year it will be even better.

There are a few exciting competitions that will be fun to watch, like the Lunar Lander Challenge and the Space Elevator Games… and then you have the Rocket Man.

The X Prize Cup is a reminder that the Foundation is committed to inspiring technological advancement for commercial space — and dedicated to educating young imaginative minds about the potential of space.

If you see me around, come and say Hi 🙂 and tell me that you read this blog and I will give you my autographed personal patch.

I hope to see you there. Bring your telescope or binoculars — the night sky is beautiful to watch.

September 15, 2006

My Favorite Things!

Filed under: Space Explorer — by Anousheh @ 8:15 pm

Growing up, one of my favorite movies was The Sound of Music. I still remember a few of the lyrics in both Farsi and English. The song I like most is “My Favorite Things.”

I actually recited this song over and over when I had to do my spinning chair training. I will send a short, low-quality video that someone took with a small photo camera.

The test is supposed to help you with your vestibular system. As you may know, when you fly in zero-G your vestibular system gets all messed up, sort of like when you are on a boat. You can get nauseous and feel miserable. The effects differ by individual. Some people are more susceptible to this problem and some adapt very quickly, but one of the essential things that is packed in our space suit, in a nice easily accessible pocket, is a “barf bag” (sorry I don’t know the technical term for it).

The views on the effectiveness of this test vary. Basically there are two types of exercises, one is spinning in one direction for 10-15 minutes while you move your head from shoulder to shoulder, left and right. In the other test, you spin in one direction for one minute, stop and then spin in the reverse direction. While spinning you have to bend forward at the waist and back. This is also done for 10-15 minutes. You may think this one is easier, but actually it is more difficult. Feel free to try it at home… Have a friend spin you on an office chair and try it. Just make sure you have a barf bag nearby 😉

As you can imagine, this is NOT one of my favorite things, so by singing the song or doing simple math calculations in my head I keep myself from getting sick. I had to do this exercise several times in Star City and almost everyday since we arrived in Baikonur.

Talking about favorite things, I thought you may be curious to know some of mine… I love listening to music. I have no talent in playing any instrument but I love listening to all sort of instruments, specially violin, santur and daf (the last two instruments are used in Persian music, you can see them on this website.) .

I like instrumental and new age music, but I also love listening to jazz and blues, light rock and dance music. I guess the only music I don’t listen to often is heavy metal. I guess I’m too old for it ;-).

So here are a few of my favorite things…

Favorite books:
How to Change the World by David Bornstein (I’m trying to have this book translated to Farsi)
The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell
The Little Prince ~ Le Petit Prince ~ Shazdeh Khouchoulu (My favorite childhood book)

Favorite Movies:
Of course Star Trek 😉
Braveheart
Last of the Mohicans
Gladiator
Contact
Pay it Forward

Favorite Artists:
Googoosh J
Ebbi
Sting (especially Fragile)
Sade
Dianne Krall
Oysten Sevag (specially Norwegian Mountains)
Rod Stewart
Michael Buble
Pink
Madonna
Ziba Shirazi
Andrea Bocelli
Shahin & Sepehr
Deep Dish

Favorite Songs:
Faith of the Heart by Rod Stewart
Imagine by John Lennon
Fragile by Sting
Upside Down by Jack Johnson
Mass Destruction by Faithless
Rise Again by DJ Sammy
Fly Me to the Moon by Frank Sinatra
Zan by Ziba Shirazi
Title song for Last of the Mohicans soundtrack
Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong
I Don’t Want to be a Stupid Girl by Pink (Great, fun video too)
Stop Your Fussin’ by Toni Childs
The Entire CD from Notre Dame de Paris musical

Why Space?

Filed under: Personal Spaceflight — by Peter @ 4:28 am

Great blogs Anousheh! I know that your upcoming trip into Orbit is just the beginning. Together, the Ansari Family, X PRIZE, Space Adventures, ZERO-G, Rocket Racing League and many companies yet to come will give birth to a new industry that will allow millions to follow in your footsteps. It is only the beginning!

I spent today at MIT giving two keynotes about the Ansari X PRIZE and the future X PRIZEs. The students here are all looking forward to receiving your call from the space station next Friday the 22nd. MIT professor Jeff Hoffman (five-time Astronaut), a faculty member of the Man Vehicle Laboratory, is working to coordinate the event with Karina and choose the questions.

Early today I spoke to Charles Simonyi (Microsoft billionaire creator of Excel and Word) who is flying next spring on Soyuz through Space Adventures. He sends his very best and wishes you a safe journey. Turns out I called your old apartment in Moscow by mistake and he answered. He’s living there during his training at Star City.

He wants to ask you what he should plan to bring with him to Orbit… He mentioned that he has an amazing 10 kilogram allocation of personal effects. By the way, what personal items are you bringing with you orbit? Did you get a chance to bring along the X PRIZE flag and patches?

He also would appreciate knowing what kind of photographic equipment is up there on ISS… what equipment is operational, what lenses you have access to during your stay. He looks forward to seeing you when you come down to get the “scoop” on his upcoming trip.

Anousheh, what I believe most people don’t understand is why space is important. Why did we create the Ansari X PRIZE first? Why not an X PRIZE in some other field like poverty, medicine or energy, some of the next prizes we’re working on?

The future of humanity lies in space. As we continue to develop on Earth, we will need to reach out beyond this planet for resources. Space offers humanity infinite resources… the energy, metals, minerals and real estate we need to grow.

Space also offers us hope, hope for new tomorrows, for unknown discoveries, for growth, discovery and experimentation. It’s where we will spread the knowledge and seed of humanity… “back up the biosphere” as a friend Elon Musk likes to say. During our lifetime humanity will irreversibly move off the Earth into the cosmos.

These early steps that we “astropreneurs” are taking are critical. They are the equivalent of Lindbergh for aviation or Netscape for the internet.

Thank you Anousheh for investing and risking to make your (our) dreams come true!

Peter H. Diamandis (at MIT in Cambridge, MA)

September 14, 2006

Price of a Dream

Filed under: Space Explorer — by Anousheh @ 7:55 pm

How do you put a price on your Dream? Is it worth one month’s salary? Is it worth one year’s salary? Is it worth your child’s college savings account? Is it worth all your retirement money? Is it worth losing a limb? Is it worth dying for? What is the right price for a dream?

I don’t have an answer for it. But I believe it is different for every person. For me, I was ready, and still am, to give my life for my dream. Someone once asked me, “Would you go, knowing all the dangers?”

I said I would go even if I knew with certainty that it would be a one-way ticket. Russian Space Agency might not be interested in my life, but they are interested in my money 😉

Where did my money come from… From hard work, an incredible amount of risk, and many sacrifices that my family and I had to make. Do we have the right to decide what to do with this hard-earned money? I would think so! Does this mean that I’m selfish and do not care about all the suffering that goes on in the world? Well, I must say that you need to get to know me better and decide for yourself.

However, I would like to share a few thoughts with you. How do you decide how to spend your money or effort when it comes down to making a change? A Big Change!

Let’s say you want to cure cancer. Do you go buy medicine for the cancer patients? Do you create support centers for the patients? Do you give it to a university doing research? Do you create a prize for cancer research? Do you create scholarship funds for medical students who will do specific research on cancer? Do you go find the biggest cause of cancer and try to lobby to destroy the cause?

As you can see there are many ways to tackle a problem. What you choose is up to you. The impact could be local and small and help a few in the short term — or it could be cause for a long-term epidemic change in cancer cases and prevention.

Personally, I almost always focus on long-term fundamental activities that address the root causes of a problem. I may not feed hungry children, not because I don’t care, but because feeding 100, or 1000, or 100,000 does not solve the problem. Many of the hunger problems occur because of drought and bad farming practices. Did you know that space research helps figure out changes in soil conditions and environment and ways of preventing crop damage?

Space scientists may be microbiologists, engineers, nutritionists, chemists, plant pathologists or other field specialists who work together to find ways of growing better crops here on Earth and in orbit, to produce renewable raw material for industries here on Earth as well as for use in remote moons and planets, and to find ways to save and protect our environment. I’m hoping I will inspire more and more people to go to these fields to find ways to keep crops from getting destroyed and better ways to grow crops so people will not go hungry.

You may also argue that hunger happens because of war. I would agree with that. I also think many people go hungry not because there is a lack of food or help from other countries but because of the lack of honest and effective systems to get the food in the hands of those hungry children. The only way we can change this is through education of our youth to become free thinkers. To be people of high moral standards in their own consciousness not based on standards set by others, and to use their imagination to bring about radical change when they see that change is needed. This is also a message that I’m trying to send to the world.

I support organizations like X Prize and Ashoka Foundation because they are not about making a difference in a small community. These organizations are about Changing the World and making it a better place to live for everyone.

What is the price of a dream…? For me, it is putting my life and my money where my mouth is.

A quick note

Filed under: Space Explorer — by Anousheh @ 7:17 pm

… responding to these comments on “Training in Backup”

2. hi dear Anousheh , my name is Anousheh too ! and i am from IRAN too! one years ago , i found your site in google and i am very happy that your name in ANOUSHEH! because in IRAN ,this name is very limited,now.
i hope that your tour will well and i am very happy that knowing you.
if you like email for me and you know i will happy so much …so much and so much..
TAKE CARE ,AND WITH THE BEST WISHES..
Anousheh M Majlesi

Comment by anousheh — September 13, 2006 @ 5:57 pm

Hi Anousheh,

I’m happy to know another Anousheh as well. Our name is indeed rare in Iran, or anywhere else for that matter. But I have to say everyone likes our name when they hear it. Especially here in Russia, our name has been a big hit. They have a similar name and to them it sounds very sweet and endearing. Do you know what Anousheh means :-)?

35. I was there during the two milestone runs in the Mojave, when Burt Rutan set the marker for the rest to take heed. I remember Burt’s speech afterwards, in particular his clever word-play on NASA (the Nay Sayers!). It was all encapsulated so perfectly. As I sat there, fluttering through my cue cards, I was reminded of a great story that was poignant then, and still resonates in light of Ms. Ansari’s choice today:

When Christopher Columbus neared the West Indies, his ships were well within eyesight for many days. Meanwhile, the natives on land would fish in the same ocean, swim and bathe, never taking into their reality that the ships were looming closer, just at the horizon line. How could they? They had never SEEN a ship before. The concept of such a thing was SO remote in their minds that they literally could not SEE it in their scope of the world.

But there was one native who was beginning to feel a stir in the air. He couldn’t quite focus on it, but his innate connection to his surroundings compelled him to take a sabatical to the shoreline. There he sat, and meditated, all the while searching in his soul for the thing he felt but could not see. And on the third day, he opened his eyes, and woke the village with it.

The medicine man turned to a fisherman, and he asked him: “Do you see that? Those vessels coming our way?”

The fisherman was confused, but would not dare dispute the medicine man’s vision. “Maybe. I don’t know. Wait. What are those crosses in the water?”. And it swelled like a brushfire. By the end of the afternoon, everyone in the village could SEE the ships. Suddenly, the massive ships that rowed forward with each passing wave, ignored by the natives who had no previous knowledge of them, came to form. Their spectrum of possibility was broadened that day, and the world would never be the same…

I don’t know if how I’m relating this story makes any sense, only that it took ONE PERSON to see, for everyone to acknowledge. In short, we don’t recognize what we don’t know. So when I see someone, a human being just like any other, walking along that seemingly impossible path, it suddenly makes it plausible to me. Why not space? It begins with that first step.

Anousheh, you’re taking that first step for yourself, while leaving behind a path for us to someday follow. I’m exhilarated with the possibilities that will be discovered, and the new world that your dreams have opened for us.

Humanity should be so grateful.

Comment by Ray Izad-Mehr — September 14, 2006 @ 4:47 am

I must say your analogy was beautiful… Thank you… It made me think of one my favorite books: “The Tipping Point.” I hope with the help of all you bloggers we would bring about the tipping point for a new world where dreams can come true, where people live together with understanding and peace, and where Space Travel is an everyday commute 🙂

p.s., you may enjoy one of my favorite quotes: “Space isn’t that far – it’s only an hour’s drive if your car could go straight up.” — Sir Fred Hoyle

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