You were brought up in Iran…for women in the Middle East a career in space is not an option and, for many, neither are careers in science and engineering.
“Women in Iran have persevered despite all the difficulties and limitations put on them and that’s what inspires me. I’m very proud to say I’m an Iranian woman and I hope that things will start changing and there will be more opportunities for them.
“But when I look at it overall in the Middle East there’s this cultural limitation that’s put on women saying that there’re certain jobs that a woman shouldn’t do or certain fields that a woman shouldn’t study. But if there are role models young girls can look up to they say ‘why not, she did it, she’s happy, she seems fine, why not me.’ So that’s why I hope myself, and other women in science and technology from the Middle East, can try to help them to help achieve their dreams and their goals.”
What would be your advice to anyone who wants to go into space?
“When I was looking at different ways of getting into space, I didn’t make a decision on one. You want to have plan a, b, c through z – so I would pursue any opportunities and, at the same time, save up. I’m hoping the cost of getting into space will come down and the opportunity will open up to more and more people.”
The price of a seat with Space Adventures on a Soyuz has now risen to some $50m but you’ve made it clear you want to go back into space. You’ve booked a seat with Virgin Galactic [which costs $200,000] – is that because once is not enough?
“I tell people it’s an addiction almost – that’s why I’m so happy about sub-orbital flights. I plan to go on Virgin Galactic and not just once but many times. I think there will be many more companies in the future and I’m working on my new business, so I will have enough money to fly with all of them.”
And what about Mars – would you sign-up to the plan for a one-way trip to the red planet?
“I would…and I come across so many people that would say the same thing. I can’t explain why I want to live in space but it’s something inside me.”
If you would like to comment on this article or anything else you have seen on Future, head over to our Facebook page or message us on Twitter. You will also be able to hear an interview with Anousheh in the July 2013 edition of my Space Boffins Podcast.