Filmmaking, Sumo and Space Tourism Take Flight at IDFA indieWIRE
Swiss director Christian Frei also had huge bureaucratic hurdles to deal with for his look at the rising number of space tourists who pay millions for the chance to reach orbit via the Russian space agency. Frei takes his camera to remote Kazakhstan where the Soviet Union built its â€œStar City,â€ a secretive but once proud town that was the center of the USSRâ€™s thriving space program where the first satellite, Sputnik, launched the space race back in the â€˜50s.
The National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) today announced the winner of its first annual NCWIT Symons Innovator Award, Anousheh Ansari.
Ms. Ansari is Chair, CEO and Co-founder of Prodea Systems, a company addressing the challenges of complex digital home and small-business environments. Prior to founding Prodea Systems, Ms. Ansari served as Co-founder, Chair, and CEO of Telecom Technologies, Inc., which in 2001 successfully merged with Sonus Networks, Inc., in a deal worth approximately $750M.
Ms. Ansari also is the first woman private explorer in space and the first astronaut of Iranian descent. The Ansari family provided title sponsorship for the Ansari X Prize, a $10 million award to inspire the first non-governmental manned spacecraft, driving the commercialization of the space industry.
A federal judge has ruled that would-be Japanese millionaut Daisuke Enomoto can continue with a lawsuit against Space Adventures to recover $21 million he paid for an orbital flight he never went on. The Associated Press reports:
Space Adventures says Enomoto was medically disqualified in 2006 because of kidney stones. Enomoto says the kidney stones were a pretext to boot him off the mission because he refused demands from the company for more money.
Q: Mrs. Ansari! Two years passed since you made that historic travel to the spatial station as the first female space explorer; but on that specific time the mainstream media focused on you, not only for being a female voyager, but also for being an Iranian Muslim. Whatâ€™s your conception of being a Muslim born in Iran? Are you restraining to announce or approve it publicly?
“A federal judge heard arguments Friday in [Daisuke] Enomoto’s lawsuit against Virginia-based Space Adventures, a firm that made its name brokering deals with the Russian space agency to put half a dozen “space tourists” in orbit for fees of $20 million or more….
“Space Adventures wants the lawsuit thrown out, saying that Enomoto was disqualified because of a chronic kidney-stone condition. They say his money is nonrefundable. Enomoto claims the kidney stones were an excuse and that he was not allowed to launch in part because he refused Space Adventures’ demands for more money….He was replaced by Anousheh Ansari, who became the world’s first female space tourist (pictured at right).
An immigrant to the U.S. from Iran, Anousheh Ansari is the Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of Prodea Systems, an IT company. Her previous technology company, founded with her husband, was sold in 2001 for over $700m. Besides her IT and business achievements, Ms. Ansari is only the fourth private space traveler ever.
ADWC students responded with enthusiasm to their guest. ‘I am amazed at what she has been able to do,’ said one student. ‘I feel inspired when I hear her story.’ Dr. Bradley Cook, Director of ADWC of HCT, stated, ‘It is an honor for our campus to host a woman of such accomplishment. Our students, hearing her story, have seen how limitations can be overcome with determination and family support.’
Space Adventures CEO Eric Anderson and spacetouristspaceflight participantastronaut millionaut Anousheh Ansari will be among those promoting civilian spaceflight during the Global Space Technology Forum in Abu Dhabi from November 16-18.
Zawya.com quotes Anderson as being bullish on space tourism. “The momentum is building for space tourism, we’ve turned a corner and proven that a market exists for space tourism. Space was previously controlled by a small number of governments, and it’s now opening up to the private sector. There’s been a paradigm shift and we’re moving into an era of personal space flight.”
They report that Anousheh Ansari, who has been out promoting space tourism since she returned from her trip to the International Space Station, actually bristles at being labeled a space tourist.
â€œI had to train for six months and [learn] every part of the system on the capsule, the rocket, the space station,” she told Space Future. “I had to learn a new language, to interact with crew members, to do emergency practices. [I had] physical training. It took a lot of preparation. [I compare this to going] on expedition. You wouldnâ€™t call someone who goes on an expedition a tourist, and thatâ€™s why I donâ€™t like to be called a tourist: It undermines the effort that you have to put in.â€
Meanwhile, Virgin Galactic will fly almost anyone who can survive a centrifuge ride aboard its SpaceShipTwo vehicle. The suborbital flight is expected to be far more gentle than a Soyuz trip to the space station. Training will be minimal.
MarsDrive has an interview with space tourist and entrepreneur Anousheh Ansari. She described her flight to the International Space Station, waxed enthusiastically about the future of space tourism, and called on governments to loosen regulations on space tourism companies.
“Cost is definitely an inhibitor at this time,” Ansari admits. “We need established, sustainable businesses in the private industry using space flights to bring down the per flight cost.
“Also the regulatory and insurance requirements is another hindrance for the industry. I think we need new technology to be able to lower the cost of orbital flights. There should be greater collaboration between private industries and the regulatory bodies to be able to come up industry friendly regulation that will at the same time encourage passenger safety,” she added.
Most of her comments make sense, but the regulatory one is curious. At least in the United States, it seems that the commercial space industry has gotten more or less everything it has wanted from the industry friendly, anti-regulation Bush Administration and several states vying for its business.
Space Foundation Press Release The Honorable Wayne Allard, U.S. Senate and Ms. Anousheh Ansari, chief executive officer and co-founder, Prodea Systems, have confirmed their participation as featured speakers at the Space Foundation’s 24th National Space Symposium. Gen. C. Robert Kehler, USAF, commander, Air Force Space Command will deliver remarks at a dinner honoring Space Foundation corporate supporters. They join the list of previously confirmed speakers, which includes senior leaders from across the space industry. Scheduled to take place April 7-10 at The Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs, the symposium is the premier annual gathering of the global space community.