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First Female Space Tourist Blasts Off

September 18, 2006

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Anousheh's Official Site

Anousheh Ansari is her name. She is the first female space tourist. She is going into space today aboard a Soyuz space capsule.

Ansari is a member of the three-person crew of Soyuz TMA-9, which launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The mission will take Ansari and her Expedition 14 crewmates, NASA astronaut Michael Lopez-Alegria and Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Tyurin, to the International Space Station. They will stay aboard the Space Station for eight days and perform numerous scientific experiments.

The Iranian-born businesswoman made a fortune by starting a telecommunications company. That's how she can afford the $20 million price tag of her spaceflight.

She underwent cosmonaut training in Kazakhstan and Texas. She was the backup to a Japanese businessman whose health problems forced him off the mission. Ansari will now become the first female non-astronaut in space.

She hopes her trip will inspire young girls to study science, as she did in her native Iran and then in the U.S.

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