Monday, September 18, 2006

Space Tourist breaks three records

Anousheh Ansari, 40, an Iranian-American telecommunications entrepreneur, broke three records, as she left with the Russian Soyuz spacecraft for a flight to the International Space Station, along with both a Russian and American astronaut. Ansari is the first woman tourist, first Muslim woman, and first Iranian in orbit.

Ansari came to the US in 1984, and is now an American citizen, living in Texas. She says she wants to be an example to her compatriots. She thinks her trip into space could be a ray of home for the youngsters in Iran, amid all the talk of war and bloodshed. But, she has been told to remove the Iranian flag from her spacesuit. She also had to promise there would be no political messages during her trip to space. Ms. Ansari had been scheduled to go on a later mission, but took the place of a Japanese businessman who was unable to go due to illness.

They will dock with the space station tomorrow. Ansari won't be staying the 6 months with the astronauts. She will be returning to earth in 10 days with the other Russian crew who will be coming home.

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