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.