New Book Will Examine Lifelong Journey of First Female Space Explorer, from Immigrant to Entrepreneur to Astronaut
Anousheh Ansari Teams up with Best-Selling Author Homer Hickam to Describe the Wonders of Space and Its Deep Impact on Her Life
The world's first private female space explorer, Anousheh Ansari is writing a memoir of her life experiences with the assistance of Homer Hickam, author of the No. 1 New York Times best-seller "Rocket Boys," which was made into the critically acclaimed movie "October Sky."
"Homer and I share a deep love of space, as well as a passion for educating people about the importance of space in solving problems here on Earth," said Ansari, who plans to donate her proceeds from the book to charity. "I hope my story will inspire everyone around the world to pursue their dreams, because dreams do come true. In telling my story, I want to take readers on a magic carpet ride to space. They will see Earth from above and float weightless in a place that now seems unreachable and foreign to them."
Ansari, who always dreamed of becoming an astronaut, left her home country of Iran for the United States at age 16. Her memoir will describe Ansari's early struggles as an immigrant who could not speak English, her education as a student who earned a master's degree in engineering in just a few years, and her astonishing success as a businesswoman. In addition, the book will recount Ansari's historic trip to the International Space Station, from her selection and training for the mission to takeoff, landing and everything between.
An active proponent of world-changing technologies, Ansari followed up her business success with an entrepreneurial focus on space. She rallied her family to provide the title sponsorship for the Ansari X Prize. This $10 million prize became the catalyst for a new era in private space travel. The prize was awarded to Burt Rutan in 2004 for the first non-governmental launch of a reusable manned spacecraft into space.
On Sept. 18, 2006, Ansari blasted off from Kazakhstan on board a Russian Soyuz capsule and became the first astronaut of Iranian descent, the first private female space explorer and the fourth person to buy a ticket to space from Space Adventures. After two days orbiting the Earth, Ansari and her fellow crew members docked with the International Space Station. She spent the next eight days on board as an active member of the crew.
Ansari recounted highlights of her journey to space in a blog that attracted more than 25 million readers worldwide, making it one of the most popular blogs ever written. Although they had not met at the time, Hickam read Ansari's blog and followed her journey with interest.
"I was completely blown away by what I read in her blog," Hickam said. "I used to train astronauts, and I've read most of their books, but when I read what Anousheh was writing from orbit, I realized nobody had ever captured the sounds, smells and sensations of space like she was doing. I felt privileged when she asked me to work with her on her memoir."
"This is going to be much more than just another astronaut book," Hickam added. "This is going to be the story of a fascinating woman who overcame tremendous difficulties to succeed. I also see it as a book that will help bridge the gap of understanding between the West and the people of Iran, who are far different than they are often shown in the media. This will be a journey of hope in an often hopeless world that will stir the hearts of people everywhere."
Hickam has written eight best-selling books, including fiction and non-fiction. His memoir "Rocket Boys," also titled "October Sky," was a New York Times notable book of 1998, a finalist in The National Book Critic's Circle awards, and is one of the top picks in community reads across the country. His most recent work has included the historical fiction novels "The Keeper's Son" and "The Ambassador's Son."
Ansari serves as chairman and co-founder of Prodea Systems, which will help consumers realize the full potential of their digital homes. In addition, Ansari actively pursues ways to enable social entrepreneurs to bring about radical change globally.
Ansari and Hickam are represented by book agent Frank Weimann, founder of The Literary Group International in New York City.