Anousheh Ansari, the world's first female private space explorer and fourth private citizen ever to visit the International Space Station, will speak at Virginia Tech on Monday, Oct. 1 at 7 p.m. in the Haymarket Theatre in Squires Student Center.

The presentation will be preceded by a reception starting at 5:30 p.m. in the Williamsburg Room at Squires. The event is free and open to the public.

Ansari, who emigrated to the United States from Iran in 1984, made history last year with her voyage to space. Not only was she the first female private space explorer, but also the first astronaut of Iranian descent and the first female Muslim in space. She was also the first person to publish a weblog from space. During her eight-day stay onboard the International Space Station, Ansari performed a series of experiments on behalf of the European Space Agency.

Ansari is an entrepreneur and CEO of Prodea Systems, a consumer technology company headquartered in Plano, Texas. Prior to founding Prodea, she served as co-founder, CEO and chairman of the board for Telecom Technologies, Inc. In 2000, the company successfully merged with Sonus Networks, Inc., in a deal worth approximately $750 million.

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. Her presentation titled, “Journey to Space – A Dream Realized,” will chronicle her path to reaching her dream of becoming an astronaut. Her story is both inspiring and uplifting.

Ansari emigrated to the United States as a teenager who did not speak English. She earned a bachelor’s degree in electronics and computer engineering from George Mason University and a master’s degree in electrical engineering from George Washington University. She has an honorary doctorate from the International Space University. Her visit is sponsored by the Iranian Society at Virginia Tech, and the university’s College of Engineering, College of Science, Center for Vehicle Systems and Safety, and the departments of mechanical engineering, aerospace and ocean engineering and biological systems engineering.

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