On September 18, 2006, Anousheh Ansari captured headlines around the world as the first female private space explorer. She was the fourth private explorer to visit space and the first astronaut of Iranian descent.
Ansari is also a serial entrepreneur and co-founder and chairman of Prodea Systems, a company that aims to simplify consumers' digital living experience. Prior to founding Prodea, Ansari served as co-founder, CEO and chairman of Telecom Technologies, Inc.
To help drive commercialization of the space industry, Ansari and her family provided title sponsorship for the Ansari X Prize, a $10 million cash award for the first non-governmental organization to launch a reusable manned spacecraft into space twice within two weeks.
Ansari is a member of the X Prize Foundation’s Vision Circle, as well as its Board of Trustees. She is a life member in the Association of Space Explorers and on the advisory board of the Teachers in Space project.
Question: How do you hope your company will affect people’s digital lifestyles?
Anousheh Ansari: At Prodea, what you wanted to do was build a platform to be able to deliver Internet-based application to the users in sort of a mass-market environment regardless of their skill sets, or where they live. And we wanted to do that so they can consume the information, or the experience, or the application through any medium that they are used to using, whether it’s mobile or the TV or their PC or any other devices that could be created, in an ubiquitous manner. And making information and services ubiquitously and simply available to everyone will actually close the digital gap that exists today between generations sometimes, and create new opportunities actually for current applications service providers to address a much larger marketplace and be able to design applications that are more suited for this larger audience.