Anousheh Ansari: First Female Private Space Explorer & Entrepreneur

Anousheh Ansari caught the world’s attention on September 18, 2006, for being the first female private space explorer in history. She earned a place in history being the fourth private explorer to ever visit space and the first Iranian astronaut to do so.

Ms. Ansari is a serial entrepreneur and co-founder and chairman of Prodea Systems, which is a company striving for the availability of the internet to all consumers and to dramatically alter and simplify consumers’ digital living experience. It is a leader in providing the platforms for the internet of things, making household products and appliances connected to the internet and therefore “smart”. She served as a co-founder and chairman of Telecom Technology, Inc. Later in the year 2000, the company merged with Sonus Networks, Inc because both parties believed they’d maximize profits if they joined forces.

Business career

Anousheh Ansari had a life-long dream of becoming an astronaut, as well as becoming an entrepreneur. With the help of her husband Hamid Ansari, and her brother-in-law, Amir Ansari, she managed to pool their resources and savings in pursuit to launch her own company named Telecom Technologies, in 1993.

Telecom Technologies is a company that supplied Softswitch technology and enabled telecom “service providers to enhance system performance, lower operating costs and furnish new revenue opportunities.”
Their main headquarters is located in Richardson, Texas, offering a variety of products enabling integration between existing legacy telecom networks and application-centric, next generation networks via switch software technology. In 2001, the company was acquired by Sonus Networks, Inc in a stock-for-stock transaction worth 10.8 million shares of Sonus stock. Prior to Telecom Networks, Anousheh Ansari became the vice president of Sonus and general manager of Sonus’ new INtelligentIP division. She remained in that position as of March 2001.

In 2006, Ms. Ansari co-founded Prodea Systems and is the current chairman and CEO.
Anousheh and her family provided title sponsorship for the Ansari X Prize, which was a cash award worth up to $10 million with the sole aim to help drive commercialization of the space industry.

Ms. Ansari is currently a member of the X Prize Foundation’s Vision Circle, as well as its Board of Trustees. She is a life member of the Association of Space Explorers and on the advisory board of the Teacher’s in Space project.

Due to her numerous contributions towards society, she has received several awards including the World Economic Forum Young Global Leader, the Working Woman’s National Entrepreneurial Excellence Award, George Washington University’s Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award, George Mason University’s Entrepreneurial Excellence Award, and the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award for Southwest Region.

Upon its initiation, Telecom Technologies has been under her leadership and supervision and has earned recognition as one of Inc. magazine’s 500 fastest-growing companies and Deloitte & Touche’s Fast 500 technology companies.
She currently works to enable social entrepreneurs to bring about radical change globally, with organizations such as X Prize, ASHOKA, and the PARSA Community Foundation.

Currently, she’s working towards ensuring that social entrepreneurs are able to bring about radical change globally, with the help and support of great organizations such as X Prize, ASHOKA, and the PARSA Community Foundation.


Anousheh has always dreamed of traveling to space, and while she is extremely excited to realize this dream, she is also focused on sharing her experience with others. Her main objective for this mission is to become a Space Ambassador and help to bring the space travel experience to others.

As a Space Ambassador, she acts as a messenger to create public awareness and stimulate grassroots enthusiasm about the virtues of space exploration, including inspiring youths, especially girls, around the world to pursue their dreams and to promote peace and understanding amongst nations as the world’s first Space Ambassador.

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