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Spaceflier Anousheh Ansari named CEO of XPRIZE

Anousheh Ansari and Peter Diamandis
Anousheh Ansari, the newly named CEO of XPRIZE, comes on stage with co-founder Peter Diamandis at an XPRIZE Visioneering Summit in Los Angeles. (XPRIZE via Twitter)

In 2004, Iranian-American entrepreneur Anousheh Ansari helped fund the $10 million Ansari X Prize for private spaceflight. In 2006, she traveled to the International Space Station, becoming the first Muslim woman to go into orbit. Now she’s playing a leading role in the XPRIZE saga once again as the California-based foundation’s CEO.

Ansari’s ascension to executive leadership was announced today during the annual XPRIZE Visioneering Summit in Los Angeles, where 10 teams are vying for a chance to have their ideas turned into multimillion-dollar technological challenges.

“As I take on the helm at XPRIZE, I feel the same exhilaration as I did the day I was sitting in my capsule atop of my Russian Soyuz rocket – waiting impatiently to be launched into the infinity of the universe that I had dreamed about as a child, and in nervous anticipation of the enormous possibilities in front of me,” Ansari, 52, said in a news release.

Ansari takes over from XPRIZE co-founder Peter Diamandis, who’ll continue in his role as executive chairman.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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