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First female private space explorer

21/09/2006. Contributed by Jessica Martin

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X-prize founder Anousheh Ansari arrives at the International Space Station.

Anousheh Ansari successfully arrived at the International Space Station (ISS) after launching onboard a Soyuz spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome on Sept. 18 2006.

The spacecraft docked to the ISS at 1:21 a.m. (EDT) with Mrs. Ansari and Expedition 14 commander Michael Lopez-Alegria and flight engineer Mikhail Tyurin aboard. They were greeted at 4:34 a.m. (EDT) by NASA astronaut Jeff Williams, Russian cosmonaut Pavel Vinogradov and European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Reiter when the hatch was opened.

Eric Anderson, president and CEO of Space Adventures, the company which organized the spaceflights for the world's first and only private space explorers: Dennis Tito, 'First African in Space' Mark Shuttleworth and Gregory Olsen, Ph.D., said, "Anousheh is enjoying her spaceflight and looks forward to the time she will spend aboard the space station. Since the time of her launch, Space Adventures has been overwhelmed with inquiries from around the world with interest in future orbital flights. We plan to send many more individuals to space in our continued effort in opening the final frontier."

After Mrs. Ansari's eight-day stay aboard the space station, she will return to Earth on Sept. 28 with the Expedition 13 crew members Williams and Vinogradov.

In preparation for her spaceflight with Space Adventures, Mrs. Ansari completed a cosmonaut training program at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center located in Star City, Russia.

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