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Iranian woman Anousheh Ansari as next civilian space traveller

Moscow, Aug 22, IRNA-A US-based Iranian-American businesswoman, Anousheh Ansari, will travel into space as the world's fourth space tourist, instead of Japan's Daisuke Enomoto who has been ruled unfit to make the trip into space.

Russian Federal Space Agency announced on Monday it had decided, on the result of a medical test, not to take Enomoto aboard the Soyuz spacecraft set to be launched on September 14.

Enomoto, a 35-year-old former Livedoor Co. executive, had been undergoing training for the trip into space in Moscow, where he currently resides.

In an entry on his Web site dated on Monday, Enomoto wrote, "Twenty-four more days until space. Two days of training left. I went to the hospital for a CT scan, which they said was the last test." Under Enomoto's 20-million-dollar contract, he had been scheduled to spend about one week on the International Space Station.

Ansari, a 39-year-old businesswoman, who will be the first female civilian space adventurer, has indicated she's ready and eager to make the trip.

Whether she will also be ready to operate the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) gear to make contacts with Earth is not known.

Ansari is the co-founder -- with her husband and brother-in-law -- of Telecom Technologies -- acquired in 2000 by Sonus Networks Inc -- and the investment firm Prodea Inc.

The Soyuz TMA-9 flight will carry ISS Expedition 14's NASA astronaut Michael Lopez-Alegria, KE5GTK, and Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Tyurin, RZ3FT, to the space station.

It will launch from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The return Soyuz flight would carry ISS Expedition 13 crew members Pavel Vinogradov, RV3BS, and Jeff Williams, KD5TVQ, back to Earth.

Ansari has been in Russia training concurrently with Enomoto, who was to become the fourth civilian space traveler and the first from Asia.

Previous private space explorers have included Dennis Tito, KG6FZX, in 2001, South Africa's Mark Shuttleworth in 2003 and Greg Olsen, KC2ONX, in 2005.

ARISS arranged for all three space travelers to make contacts with students on Earth during their respective stays in space.

Ansari was the winner of the 2000 National Entrepreneurial Excellent Award sponsored by Working Woman magazine.

Her family made a major contribution to the X Prize -- now known as the Ansari X Prize -- which offered a $10 million prize for the first successful private reusable space vehicle.

The prize was won in 2004 by a team headed by aerospace designer Burt Rutan.


Related Stories:


American Businesswoman Could Step In as Next Civilian Space Traveler


Japanese entrepreneur ruled unfit to travel into space



... Payvand News - 8/22/06 ... --

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