Iranian-American woman in space

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Monday, September 18, 2006

Correction — October 22, 2006
Baikonur is incorrectly described in the article as being in Russia. Baikonur is a city in Kazakhstan leased and administered by Russia.

Anousheh Ansari, 40, an Iranian-American became the first female paying passenger astronaut today. Paying $20 million [USD] for the trip, she replaced a Japanese businessman who decided not to take the trip due to medical reasons. The Russian made Soyuz Rocket lifted off at 04:10 GMT from Baikonur, Russia.

Ansari is accompanying Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Tyurin and American astronaut Michael Lopez-Alegria, who are joining German astronaut Thomas Reiter on the International Space Station.

Ansari is a businesswoman in the telecom industry and put up the Ansari X Prize for the first privately funded trip to space won by Burt Rutan of Scaled Composites and his team.

The mission is expected to dock with the ISS on Wednesday.