Ever since Anousheh Ansari was a young girl growing up in Iran, she had stars in her eyes…literally! On September 18, 2006, she made a childhood dream come true and paid a reported $20 million to become the world's first female space tourist.
"Ever since I was a kid, I've always dreamt of traveling to space," she says. "I would just gaze at the stars for hours and hours and wonder if there are other people like us out there."
In 1984, Anousheh and her family immigrated to America from Iran. Anousheh was just 16 years old and didn't speak English. After seven years of hard work, she graduated from college with a master's degree in electrical engineering.
Anousheh went to work for MCI, where she met her husband, Hamid. The business-savvy couple decided to pool their money together and start their own company. "We knew we would succeed … but the level of success was a little bit more than what we expected," she says.
In just seven years, Anousheh and Hamid sold their corporation for $750 million, making her one of the wealthiest businesswomen in the world. She put her money toward a life-long dream and bought a seat aboard a Russian spacecraft!