grew rapidly, earning several major technology patents; the Ansaris were able to sell it for hundreds of millions of dollars. The family later formed Prodea Systems Inc., a digital technology and investment company, in Plano, Tex., which is sponsoring Mrs. Ansari’s spaceflight.Ansari was on that first flight, and Prodea is a financing partner in developing another suborbital vehicle. Ansari says she had always dreamed of space flight. "“I’d lie there looking and wondering,” she said many years later. “I was so young but so fascinated with space; it’s always been in my heart.”
Mrs. Ansari’s involvement in space is not new. In 2001, she and her brother-in-law, Amir, made a multimillion-dollar donation for naming rights to what became the Ansari X Prize, a $10 million award for the first private company to build a rocket capable of two manned suborbital flights in two weeks.
On the dark side, after she and her family sold out of Telecom Technologies, the stock plummeted, and she's being sued for insider trading. But even if it's true, I kind of love her. She wore both Iranian and American flags in space, and was very open and consistent about wanting to be a role model and inspiration for women and girls to explore space and become interested in science. And, given the hesitation of western governments to fund space exploration full throttle, seeing private enterprise step in is refreshing. Sure, there's a lot of money to be made from restless bajillionaires looking for a new extreme adventure, but I get a strong idealistic hit off of these companies. If they get somewhere, they'll be the first on the ground to milk whatever cash cow is milkable, but you can tell they also have stars in their eyes.
There's an infinite amount of energy resources out in space, that given the right technology and the right environment, we can benefit from.
... The spaceflight experience gives you new perspective on your environment and the planet we live on and the understanding of how fragile it is and how our actions impact our environment.
Looking at it from up there you can't see any borders or any differentiation between different races or anything like that and all you see is one planet; one place that all of us have to take care of if we want to be able to live on it for a long time. Our current technologies and everything we have does not afford us the luxury of saying ok if we blow up this planet and make it inhabitable for ourselves we can pack up and live some place else. So on one hand you look at your safe haven on Earth and then you turn around and then you look at the blackness of the universe and see that there is not a lot of habitable planets or moons around you. You sort of feel like you need to take care of the precious gift you've been given and I think that's sort of how I am hoping the message would be.
How do you decide how to spend your money or effort when it comes down to making a change? ... 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. Did you know that space research helps figure out changes in soil conditions and environment and ways of preventing crop damage?Of course, we all know she'd go into space even if the research weren't there, because space travel is just amazing, for the people who do it, and for the people who see them doing it. Octavia Butler made that argument in Parable of the Sower, that even with the mess we have on Earth, as a people and a culture, we need to be able to look to the stars with a real hope of being able to attain more, as a race, as a species. So whatever Ansari's personal motives are, she's accomplished that much.
The previous issue of Hyphen is available in its entirety for your perusing pleasure. Almost as good as having it right in your hands!