On September 18, 2006 – Anousheh Ansari (b. Sept. 12, 1966) hit world’s news headline for becoming the first Muslim famale astronaut of Iranian descent. She spent 8 days in space aboard Soyuz TMA-9. The 14-member expedition crew included NASA astronaut Michael Lopez-Alegria and Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Tyurin.
Anousheh emigrated to United States in 1984. She took her MSc degree in electrical engineering and computer science from George Washington University. While working at Virginia-based MCI Inc., she met Hamid Ansari, whom she married in 1991.
In 1993, Anousheh, her husband Hamid and his brother Amir started Telecom Technologies, which later they sold to Sonus Network. Inc. in 2000 for US$550 million.
Jewish Lobby and other anti-Iranian individuals could not bear her wish to have Iranian flag (pre-Islamic Revolution) along with the US flage on her austronaut space suit. Under NASA and Russian official pressure, she agreed not to wear Iranian flag officially, but wore Iranian flag colours instead and kept the Iranian flag on her official flight patch.
Recently, Kourosh Ziabari interviewed Anousheh Ansari on second anniversary of her adventurous space journey.