At the National Museum of Mathematics here Thursday (Oct. 5), U.S. entrepreneur Anousheh Ansari wowed the crowd with tales of her 10 days aboard the International Space Station in 2006 as the first civilian woman to fly to space.
After months of training with astronauts as backup for Japanese businessman Daisuke Enomoto, who was supposed to be the world’s fourth “space tourist,” Ansari was called to fill in three weeks before Enomoto was supposed to launch. The businessman was disqualified from flying due to a health concern, and Ansari would take his spot aboard the Soyuz TMA-9 capsule. In September of 2006, she officially became the first woman unaffiliated with any space agency to fly to space.
But Ansari’s journey to space began long before that launch.