Anousheh Ansari, 1st Woman Private Space Explorer, Joins Scientific BoD

Anousheh Ansari, SEAS MS ’92, the first female private space explorer, first space ambassador and first astronaut of Iranian descent, has joined CRDF Global’s board of directors. The company, an independent nonprofit organization, promotes international scientific and technical collaboration through grants, technical resources, training and services.

Ansari became the fourth ever—and first female—private spaceflight participant when she flew to the International Space Station (ISS) in 2006. During her eight-day stay onboard the ISS, Ansari performed a series of experiments on behalf of the European Space Agency, including consequences of space radiation on crew members and different species of microbes on the ISS.

Ansari is now a “Space Ambassador,” seeking to create public awareness for space exploration and promote peace and exploration among nations. She is also co-founder and chairman of Prodea Systems, her latest endeavor to address the challenges of today’s increasingly complex digital lifestyle by combining state of the art technology and simplicity in a single solution for the everyday consumer.

To help advance commercialization of the space industry, Ansari and her family provided title sponsorship for the Ansari X Prize, a $10 million cash award for the first non-governmental organization to launch a reusable manned spacecraft into space twice within two weeks.

The Ansari family investment firm, also named Prodea, has announced a partnership with Space Adventures, Ltd. and the Federal Space Agency of the Russian Federation (FSA) to create a fleet of suborbital spaceflight vehicles for global commercial use.

“Anousheh is an extraordinary addition to our distinguished Board, and an active participant in international science engagement,” said CRDF Global president and CEO, Cathy Campbell.

“As a Space Ambassador, she is uniquely able to use her experiences as a scientist and space explorer to inspire youth to pursue their most bold dreams, as she promotes peace and understanding amongst nations. We are very fortunate to have her as an active participant at CRDF Global,” added Campbell.

“The key to a better future for humankind is in the hands of our young generation, and it is up to us to provide them with inspiration, education and opportunities,” said Ansari. “I am pleased to serve on CRDF Global’s Board of Directors because I believe in their mission and am excited about the impact that they are having in numerous countries. The world’s younger generation should not have boundaries or borders to their imaginations or their potential. International science engagement offers hope and opportunity for all of us.”

With dual Iranian-American heritage, Ansari immigrated to the United States as a teenager. She holds a master of science degree in electrical engineering from GW, a doctor of science degree from George Mason University, as well as two honorary doctor of science degrees from Utah Valley University and International Space University.

To learn more about CRDF Global, visit their website.

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