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X-Prize Funder Will Be First Female Tourist In Space 95

Posted by Zonk
from the where-no-woman-has-gone-before dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Reuters has the news that Anousheh Ansari, the funder of the X Prize, has been named as the first female tourist in space. She'll be going up in mid-September after a Japanese entrepeneur was deemed unfit for the trip." From the article: "Ansari, a 39-year-old chairwoman and co-founder of Prodea Systems, Inc., a digital home technology company, will be the world's fourth space tourist. 'Anousheh Ansari has been officially named to the Soyuz TMA-9 primary crew,' Space Adventures, working in partnership with Russia's space agency Roskosmos to launch space tourists, said in a statement."
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X-Prize Funder Will Be First Female Tourist In Space

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  • by UberGüber (122601) on Saturday August 26, 2006 @05:16AM (#15984247)
    ...Just don't let her drive.
    • by Pseudonym (62607)

      But then she'll keep hounding the pilot to stop and ask for directions when they get lost!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 26, 2006 @05:17AM (#15984250)
    The shuttle will now be pulling over every half an hour so she can go to the bathroom and stretch her legs.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by megaditto (982598)
      Not that funny. Going to the bathroom at zero-G is not pretty. While males have a condom-like urine collection device, females are forced to essentially urinate into a diaper. I guess this is because things like catheters carry a high risk of injury and infection.

      Also, it is impossible to have a smoke in space since the matches cannot be lit up.
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by BrunoBigfoot (996441)
        Really? I never would have guessed. I thought the joke was taking stereotypical male complaints about stereotypical female behaviour while road travelling and finding the space travel equivalent. But then again, I am fairly familiar with face-value humour.
      • by redleaf8 (894893)
        How do you do #2?
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by redleaf8 (894893)
          Forget it Google is my friend.

          http://imagine.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/ask_astro/answer s/970411a.html [nasa.gov]

          The Question
          (Submitted April 11, 1997)

          My first graders want to know, How do astronauts go to the bathroom in space? I think the potty chair is in place. Is this correct?

          The Answer
          We have come up with a number of answers to your question. We will let you, as the professional teacher, decide which is appropriate for your classroom and what is best left to the teachers lounge.

          I. The Official NASA pages:

          A. There is a
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by slashbob22 (918040)
      I personally hope she doesn't nag the pilot to death.

      - You're going to fast,
      - Watch out for that satellite
      - Meteors these days, No respect anymore

      I kidd and I for one welcome our space visiting overlord. Everyone practice now - "Yes, Dear".
  • Hmmm (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 26, 2006 @05:20AM (#15984254)
    Isn't it implicitly sexist to make such a big deal out of the first woman in space? Unless we're going to have stories over the first green eyed person in space and the first left hander etc. ad nauseam. Why pick this person out as exceptional?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by pedantic bore (740196)
      Well, she is darned exceptional.

      But you're right, the sexist spin of the article is both disgusting and archaic -- but easily explained. "Nth space tourist" doesn't get a headline; "First female space tourist" does. Given that these companies are trying to promote space tourism, they are likely to issue press releases with whatever hook will help get them published. "First space tourist with green eyes", etc. might not play in Peoria, but I bet we'll see "First grandma space tourist", "first cancer s

      • Re:Hmmm (Score:5, Interesting)

        by FleaPlus (6935) * on Saturday August 26, 2006 @06:36AM (#15984361) Journal
        But you're right, the sexist spin of the article is both disgusting and archaic -- but easily explained. "Nth space tourist" doesn't get a headline; "First female space tourist" does.

        Indeed. I actually tried submitting this story to slashdot a few days ago, but I didn't emphasize the "first female space tourist" angle. This was rejected, along with a later variant. For the curious, here's the text of my submissions. The submissions also include links to some better articles, and Anousheh Ansari's official site. For those of you who are curious, the links also contain photos of Ansari:

        X Prize Donor to Visit ISS

        The BBC reports that engineer-entrepreneur (and Iranian-American) Anousheh Ansari will be the next self-funded visitor [bbc.co.uk] to the International Space Station. Anousheh Ansari [anoushehansari.com] is known for her multi-million dollar donation to the Ansari X Prize and her company's funding of plans to build private spaceports in Singapore and the UAE. She will launch to the ISS on a Russian rocket next month.

        The BBC reports that engineer-entrepreneur Anousheh Ansari will be the next self-funded visitor [bbc.co.uk] to the International Space Station. Known for her multi-million dollar donation to the Ansari X Prize, she will launch to the ISS on a Russian rocket next month, fulfilling her lifelong dream of becoming an astronaut. Ansari recently discussed [space.com] her hopes for Bigelow Aerospace -- which successfully launched their private space station prototype this summer -- to provide a better-suited destination for an increased number of commercial astronauts in the future.

        • Kinda sad. Despite all the jokes, /. is pretty progressive compared to the rest of the world, but some biases are hard to shake, I guess. I'm sure /. gets tons of submissions, and yours could've simply slipped through the cracks, but it's also quite likely that the person reading this one was like, "oo! a woman!" :P
        • Yah, I submitted it twice before that too, with this link [arrl.org] and later this link [arrl.org]. I guess I'm just too nerdy for slashdot.
           
    • Re:Hmmm (Score:5, Informative)

      by kfg (145172) * on Saturday August 26, 2006 @05:50AM (#15984296)
      Isn't it implicitly sexist to make such a big deal out of the first woman in space?

      Well, it was 1963, you have to make some allowances for the attitudes of the time. Eileen Collins was the first shuttle commander after the Columbia disaster and Ansari will be the 40somthingth woman in space.

      KFG
      • Re:Hmmm (Score:5, Informative)

        by spaceyhackerlady (462530) on Saturday August 26, 2006 @06:04PM (#15986165)
        Well, it was 1963, you have to make some allowances for the attitudes of the time. Eileen Collins was the first shuttle commander after the Columbia disaster and Ansari will be the 40somthingth woman in space.

        In 1963 everything to do with space was A Big Deal.

        At the time of Mercury and Gemini a number of women quietly tried out to be astronauts. They did well, but NASA would have absolutely nothing to do with women in space. The 20 year gap between Valentina Tereshkova and Sally Ride included U.S. president Nixon signing legislation mandating equal employment opportunity for all U.S. federal government agencies. There were no exceptions, so NASA was dragged kicking and screaming in to the 20th century.

        ...laura, who meets Shuttle height requirements but would need to lose some weight

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by kfg (145172) *
          In 1963 everything to do with space was A Big Deal.

          I remember.

          They did well, but NASA would have absolutely nothing to do with women in space.

          Bloody goddam shame, but then at the time it was a big deal that Jackie wore pants. There were less well known women who got assaulted for doing the same, as I was once assaulted for letting my hair grow long.

          People are funny critters.

          KFG
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by antifoidulus (807088)
      Well, she is an Iranian woman, not a country that is, how shall we say, enlightened when it comes to women's rights. Whether or not this will make a damn bit of difference to some 13 year old girl forced to wear a hijab and told she can't get a good education because of her gender remains to be seen.
      • by arivanov (12034)
        As a matter of fact Iran out of all middle east muslim countries (if we consider turkey to be outside the ME) has the most women rights. IIRC they are entitled to vote, have education, have a profession and the hijab in Iran is not mandatory. It would have been even better if USA/UK did not sponsor the putch that put back the Shah into power overturning the Mossadeh government in the 50-es.

        You are mistaking Iran for Saudi Arabia where the women are not even allowed to drive or go out of the house without be
    • by solitas (916005)
      Why pick this person out as exceptional?

      Money talks, and self-promotion is everything? She's just another high-paying piece of baggage.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by smallpaul (65919)

      Isn't it implicitly sexist to make such a big deal out of the first woman in space?

      No. Women (especially Iranian women) have greater hurdles to their accomplishment. So the article highlights that she's done something unique by overcoming those extra hurdles. It is only sexist to highlight this if one presumes that these hurdles are innate and not imposed. Second, such a media event could encourage young girls to reject sterotypes and study science and business. This could help increase the pool of engi

    • by mdwh2 (535323)
      Isn't it implicitly sexist to make such a big deal out of the first woman in space? Unless we're going to have stories over the first green eyed person in space and the first left hander etc. ad nauseam. Why pick this person out as exceptional?

      I take your point in general - but it doesn't apply to Slashdot, which appears to have covered previous space tourists anyway (e.g., see http://science.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=05/10/0 1/1625202 [slashdot.org] ).

      Has there been vastly more media coverage over this because she's fe
  • by BiggerIsBetter (682164) on Saturday August 26, 2006 @05:21AM (#15984255)
    I don't recall people having this attitude when Shuttleworth went up, so why all the smartarse comments just because she's female? She's done more with her life than most of you ever will. Mad props to her, she's worked hard to make this happen.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by aussie_a (778472)
      Mad props to her

      I don't recall people saying any such thing when any of the male tourists went up. So why offer her congratulations just because she's female?

      Oh and as for the comments. It's called having a sense of humour. You may want to look it up in a dictionary.
      • Of course, to be fair, when the first male astronaut went up, people weren't making jokes about he wasn't going to stop for directions. I don't think it's inappropriate to counter bad-sexism with good... I just wish we didn't need it to begin with :P
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by BrunoBigfoot (996441)
      Perhaps they consider Shuttleworth to be more Shuttle-worthy.
    • by Edzor (744072)
      what does "Mad props" mean? Personally i wouldn't want to give anyone an agitated propeller, let alone two.

        im not stupid, just british :)

        also wasnt the last female "tourist" the "teacher in space"..........
  • Commercial boobs in space, you know you're wondering, admit it.
  • Would you go? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by legoburner (702695) on Saturday August 26, 2006 @05:39AM (#15984285) Homepage Journal
    If you had the spare $20million knocking around, would you head off to the ISS or would you wait for the cheaper, (safer?) Virgin Galactic service to start trips to 100km up? Virgin costs $200000 per trip... is the ISS trip worth 100 times more?

    Personally I'd sooner go for 100 trips on Virgin Galactic. Maybe when the ISS is complete it will be more tempting, but only when the Disney fun modules are complete and equipped. (Not to mention the italian restaurant module).
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by starbird (409793)
      There is a huge difference between a suborbital hop lasting 15-20 minutes, and a 1 or 2 week stay in microgravity.

      20million is cheap.
    • by Kittoa (218844)
      If you had the spare $20million knocking around, would you head off to the ISS or would you wait for the cheaper, (safer?) Virgin Galactic service to start trips to 100km up? Virgin costs $200000 per trip... is the ISS trip worth 100 times more?

      It depends, if they let me take some special brownies and an mp3 player up there with me, then hell yeah. Otherwise? I'll take the suborbital hop, and eat the brownies at the Spaceport. Also, I believe that they use Soyuz rockets, which are the safest space vehic
    • by kfg (145172) *
      With that kind of grubstake you could go up on Virgin Galactic 5 times a year approximately. . .forever; and still have your twenty mil.

      But, as has been pointed out, it ain't orbit.

      Personally I'm waiting to be asked.

      KFG
    • Virgin "Galactic"? If these people are too stupid to know the difference between a galaxy and a planet, there's no way in hell I'm going to trust them with my precious body! :)
      • Yeah, I know what you mean. That's why I never watch anything from Universal Pictures. Presumptuous bastards.
        • by Xtifr (1323)
          With "Universal Pictures", I'm only risking $10 or so. With "Virgin Galactic", I'm risking my life. I'm much more willing to allow stupid people to try to entertain me than I am to allow them to strap huge amounts of explosives to my ass! ;)

          p.s. while my original post and this one were both tongue-in-cheek, I do have to say that I think whoever came up with the name "Universal Pictures" does deserve to be slapped around with a wet cluefish. Although I suppose I might need a time machine to do so at this
    • (Not to mention the italian restaurant module)
      Ahh yes, the bistromatic drive. I hear they're a little behind schedule in that area, but rest assured that your orders will be in shortly.
    • by pluther (647209)
      ... the italian restaurant module

      OK, I take it back. When I said that I will never wait tables again, I wasn't thinking far enough ahead.

      This would tempt me back to it.

  • by Mistshadow2k4 (748958) on Saturday August 26, 2006 @05:47AM (#15984295) Journal
    But as a nerd, I gotta say "It would be even cooler if she were going to head a project afterward to make a great, totally free Linux distro".
    • by kfg (145172) *
      "It would be even cooler if she were going to head a project afterward to make a great, totally free Linux distro".

      I told her we already got one.

      KFG
    • by SeaFox (739806)
      Meanwhile normal men say "It would be even cooler if she were going to head a project to make a great zero-g space porno!"
  • by owlnation (858981) on Saturday August 26, 2006 @06:08AM (#15984318)
    OMG!!!!11!! Space Ponies!!!1!
  • Oooo (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Konster (252488)
    Male, female. Don't care what. Buying your way to space is just that weather you wear pantyhose or not.

    This is not news. News for those that don't care.

  • by sunhou (238795) on Saturday August 26, 2006 @07:28AM (#15984451)
    Surely someone will have a good description of this photo of Anousheh Ansari. [anoushehansari.com]
  • Enomoto ain't going? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Megane (129182) on Saturday August 26, 2006 @08:05AM (#15984547) Homepage

    It was only last week, but I'm surprised that I hadn't heard in the "usual places" (slashdot, digg) that Dice-K [dice-k.com] (check out that picture!) got grounded. Damn, now we don't get to make jokes about Otakus! In! Space! Rumor had it he was planning to wear some sort of costume [google.com] while up there.

    Trivia: it was only revealed a few months ago (because that's now long it took Neil to realize it) that translator Neil Nadelman came up with that nickname.

    • by saskboy (600063)
      "after a Japanese entrepeneur was deemed unfit for the trip"

      Darn, that's gotta hurt, eh? All the money in the world can't buy... love, happiness, or a flight to the ISS.
    • The BBC article mentioned that also:

      The Japanese businessman - a young-at-heart science-fiction fan - had sent ahead his spacesuit: an outfit modelled after cartoon pilot hero Char Aznable from the Gundam animation series.

      http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/5278190.stm [bbc.co.uk]
      That article also has a picture showing that she is quite pretty on top of being smart and wealthy. If she weren't married, I think she'd be getting more marriage proposals from us geeks than congratulatory messages from Iranian women. :)

  • Will be Katsumi with a live video feed for only $49.99. Which will pay for her trip expences and put her just behind Oprah as the richest woman in the world.
  • And currently all the feminists are trying to decide between "Yay for her" and "Why does it have to be mentioned she's the first female tourist in space?"
    She's just the so-and-so many tourist in space. Why is it special she's a female, just because she has to wear a diaper when trying to pee??
    Sheesh. I'll just go with the "wish I was her" here.
  • She Deserves This (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Rob Carr (780861) on Saturday August 26, 2006 @10:33AM (#15984843) Homepage Journal
    Anoushe Ansari funded the X-Prize. She deserves this, and yet she's paying for it -- again helping to grow the private space industry.

    Even more entertaining, she's a lot of people's worst nightmare:

    • The Muslim extremists are horrified that a woman is accomplishing so much...and not having to walk 10 paces behind the Soyuz on the way to orbit.
    • The Christian extremists are horrified that a woman is accomplsihing so much...and not having to walk 10 paces behind the Soyuz on the way to orbit.
    • The Iranians are horrified because it's showing their people what the West and a modern lifestyle can provide.
    • George Allen is terrified he'll forget and refer to her as "Macaca".
    • The American loonies -- how long until the paranoid "They shouldn't allow Muslims on the space station" screaming starts?
    • Slashdot readers are horrified because she's a beautiful, intelligent woman who wouldn't go out with them, if they could even get the courage to ask her out in the first place.
    • I'm horrified because I blogged about Ms. Ansari going 4 days ago [unspace.net] and never thought to submit it to Slashdot.

    Godspeed Anoushe Ansari. I hope you have a great time.

    • You're right, she makes a good symbol.

      Sadly though, I don't think most of those people will ever hear about her, since what they don't want to hear won't be reported to them. (by the media they listen to). So it goes...
    • She does seem like an awesome person. This quote gave me a hopeful, warm, fuzzy feeling:

      "One good thing is, maybe, I will generate some positive media about the Middle East with everything going on," said Ansari, who was born in Iran. "I've gotten so many calls and e-mails and mail, especially from women in Iran, and other Middle Eastern countries that are excited that someone from [there] gets to go up...and a woman!"

      http://www.space.com/news/060810_ansari_spaceprep. html [space.com]

  • by Laser Lou (230648) on Saturday August 26, 2006 @11:03AM (#15984924)
    I think that's great; between the X-Prize and this, she spends her money on things that are worthwhile.
  • Why can't she just be called 'the second (or Nth) tourist'

    I'd be pissed.

    We will know the PC fabric is being stretch thin when we hear about 'the 1st half brazilian, half japanese albino, siamese twins in space'.

    ffs. making a big deal about the fact she is a female, is so stupid.

    I mean, if someone with more melanin wins an oscar, yeah, ok that is news, but women have been in space, can they just go ONE day with the feminist media exploiting their sex for headlines?

    Who gives a fuck if she is an innie or an ou
    • by be-fan (61476)
      There is no feminist media at work here. The fact that this is news is the result of the fact that its novel to people. The world is not what you seem to think it is. If it were truely equal, then it wouldn't be news at all. If the probability of a space tourist (or founder of a tech company or benefactor of scientific a scientific prize, for that matter) being a women was an even 50%, then nobody would report this, because nobody would find it interesting. But it's not. It's quite rare for a women to do an
    • by FleaPlus (6935) *
      Why can't she just be called 'the second (or Nth) tourist'

      I'd be pissed.


      It's also worth noting that her official website [anoushehansari.com] doesn't make any mention of her being the 'first female space tourist.' Instead, she describes herself as 'the fourth private space explorer to visit space, and the first astronaut of Iranian descent.'
  • The Ansari family did indeed generously donate a great deal of money to the X Prize foundation, so much so that the prize name changed from the "X Prize" to the "Ansari X Prize." In no way would I want to take away from their generosity. However, it's unfair to the many other people who donated gobs of money [xprizefoundation.com], years before the Ansari family's donation, to make the Ansaris out to be the sole investors. (Look at the donor list, linked above, and you'll see that many others were donating serious wads of cash
  • I know Christa McAuliffe was well trained and had mission responsibilities, but she was for all practical purposes a tourist (and a NASA public relations stunt).
  • by BlueCoder (223005) on Saturday August 26, 2006 @02:37PM (#15985534)
    Nothing more to say, she's hot.
  • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Saturday August 26, 2006 @03:54PM (#15985762)
    All the jokes so far, at least the ones modded up have been about her being a woman. Big deal, chicks in space, it has been done before people. Won't someone think of the children? What we should be worried about are the terrorists! She's Iranian and we all know they are part of the axis of evil terror boogey-people, so:
    1. Will the TSA make her take her shoes off before boarding the rocket?
    2. At rocket school did she go to the how to pilot a rocket classes, but skipped the ones on landing?
    3. Where was she when the Challenger blew up?
    4. Did Osama promise her 72 male virgins in the afterlife?
    5. Does she have ID? Terrorists never have ID, so that will keep the rocket safe.
    6. She better not bring a water bottle on board, she might make a bomb out of water and blow up the space station.
  • She's hot, and she has a brain! amazing.

    I wish I had 20 million to go to space with her, and be the first to have sex in space too!

    Oh well... a guy can dream right?

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