Pioneering private space explorer Anousheh Ansari welcomes ISS commercialization
XPRIZE CEO and Prodea founder Anousheh Ansari dreamt of being an astronaut as a child growing up in Iran, but understandably most people around her were skeptical about her ambitions. Yet in 2006, she made that dream come true when she became the first woman to visit the International Space Station as a privately funded citizen (as well as the first Iranian citizen and the first Muslim woman), traveling aboard a Russian Soyuz rocket as a trained and paying guest of the Russian Space Agency.
At the time, NASA wasn’t thrilled about the idea and definitely did not want Ansari to pay a visit. 13 years later, the U.S. space agency announced earlier this week that the ISS is officially “open for business,” and revealed that pricing for a night’s stay will be around $35,000 per person (that’s just lodging – you still have to figure out your own transportation). At a Creative Destruction Lab event in Toronto this week, I spoke to Ansari about what this milestone announcement means for commercial spaceinterests, and her perspective on the field and opportunity for space-focused startups in general.
“Actually, I wish I had my laptop to I could show a slide from