Anousheh Ansari is the founder of Prodea and the CEO of Xprize. She had a childhood dream of becoming an astronaut. But the surrounding people didn’t give any kind of encouragements on that. However, in the year of 2006, her dream came true. She was the first woman to visit the International Space Station as a citizen who was privately funded. She also was the first Iranian Citizen and the first Muslim woman. She was a trainee and paying guest at the Russian Space Agency. At that time she also traveled by a Russian Soyuz rocket.
In the meantime, NASA was not paying any interest in the idea and they didn’t want to let Ansari visit their space agency. After thirteen years, the space agency of the US has officially opened the space agency and they revealed the pricing of the stay per night. The rate is around $35000 per person. This is the rate of just lodging, anyone who wants to go there has to pay for their transportation. Ansari said about how they filed an opportunity for space focused startups at a Creative Destruction event that:
“Actually, I wish I had my laptop so I could show a slide from probably six, seven years ago, maybe even longer, which I used that said ‘ISS for rent. It’s coming true! I’m telling you, I can predict the future,” and she joked that “But I think it makes so much sense.”
There are a few reasons about how the situation changed and the involvement of NASA for visiting private people in the space station. The space station has created a foundation on the parameters of the mission.
Ansari stated on this that:
“The space station is […] already on extended life right now,” and she also added that “So now they can generate revenue from, make good use of the space station [beyond its intended mission] so they can invest in the next generation.”
The main thing is that according to NASA, there are a lot more things which a private company can do.
She stated that:
“There’s so much interest in doing research and experimentation on board the space station, I think the cost is incredibly low,” and she also said about the price which was fixed by the controlling board of NASA. “I mean, there’s still the cost of access, which will mean it’s not affordable for everyone. But renting the space station for $35,000 a night and doing experiments. It’s incredible.” “I think there will be a lot of companies, a lot of, you know, pharma, medical and health companies will definitely take advantage of that and do experiments,” Ansari continued. “And, and I’m excited. I’m glad it’s happening.”
She also advised the startups to figure out all the processes and knock down all the difficulties to achieve the level where NASA is right now.
Afterward, she added that:
“It’s a difficult thing because as engineers we just like to play with toys and play with technology,” and she also said that ” But it’s up to us in this room to help make sense of this.”