First Female Space Tourist Readies for Monday Launch

American entrepreneur Anousheh Ansari is set to become the world’s first female space tourist on Monday when she departs the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on a Russian Soyuz rocket as part of Virginia-based Space Adventures plan to bring ordinary (if wealthy) tourists to the stars. 

The AP provides details: 

After months of preparation at Moscow’s Star City training centre and a payment of some 25 million dollars (20 million euros), Ansari is due to spend 10 days on board the ISS, fast becoming the world’s most exclusive resort.

After Ansari, Michael Lopez-Alegria of the United States and Mikhail Tyurin of Russia have adapted to weightlessness, the Soyuz TMA-9 capsule will dock at the ISS on Wednesday.

Ansari, a 40-year-old engineer who made her millions in the US telecoms sector, is planning to take pictures, shoot film and write an Internet travel blog during her stay. notes that Ansari is no stranger to space flight:

Ansari’s family made a multimillion-dollar contribution to back the Ansari X Prize, a $10 million suborbital competition for privately-developed, reusable spacecraft. A team led by veteran aerospace designer Burt Rutan and backed by millionaire Paul Allen won the contest in 2004 when their piloted SpaceShipOne vehicle launched into suborbital space twice in two weeks.

Together with her husband Hamid and brother-in-law Amir, Ansari also co-founded the Dallas-based company Prodea to develop the Explorer line of air-launched suborbital vehicles under a partnership with Space Adventures.

Explorer spaceport plans in the United Arab Emirates and Singapore are moving ahead in anticipation of the spacecraft’s development. also offers a great interview with Ansari.

We’ll have more coverage of the launch and, of course, Ansari’s blog, on Monday.