The X Prize Foundation was set up in 1995. It’s a nonprofit organization that aims to encourage the creation of innovative technologyfor the benefit of humanity. Its first project was the X Prize. The challenge was to create a private spaceship that could meet certain specifications. The winners, Mike Melvill, Burt Rutan, and Paul Allen were awarded $10 million for their spaceship. In 2006, their spaceship officially made private space travel possible.
None of that would’ve been feasible without the following people:
The founder of the X Prize Foundation is Peter Diamandis. A son of Greek immigrants, Peter showed an interest in outer space at an early age. At 12 years old, he won a prize at the Estes Rocket Design Competition. For this competition, he designed a launch system that allowed 3 rockets to simultaneously liftoff. He graduated from MIT with a degree in molecular genetics. He pursued a master’s degree in aeronautics and astronautics at the same institute.
In 1989, Diamandis cofounded International MicroSpace Inc. This foundation was a failure, which led to Diamandis starting the X Prize Foundation. After the success of the foundation’s Ansari X Prize, he went on to dabble in other space-related business ventures. With Steven Kotler, Diamandis has written 2 books on exponential technology and dreaming big.He’s also one of the best innovative technology speakers at present.
Anousheh Ansari is an Iranian-American business woman. She emigrated with her family from Iran to the U.S. in 1984. A graduate of electronics and computer engineering, she, her husband, and her brother-in-law cofounded Telecom Technologies, Inc.
As a young girl, Anousheh always had a fascination for the space beyond Earth. Upon hearing of the X Prize Foundation’s project, she and her brother-in-law donated millions of dollars to the cause. The project was then renamed after their family, becoming the Ansari X Prize.In 2006, she became the first Muslim Iranian woman to have visited outer space. Today, Anousheh serves as the foundation’s CEO.
Amir is the brother-in-law of Anousheh Ansari. Like Anousheh, Amir was born in Tehran and immigrated to the United States. He holds a degree in computer science and electrical engineering from George Mason University. In 1993, Amir, his brother Hamid, and Anousheh created Telecom Technologies, Inc. Upon its acquisition by Sonus Networks, Inc., he became the CTO of its IP Division.
Along with his sister-in-law Anousheh, Amir helped fund the X Prize. At present, he’s a member of the X Prize Foundation’s Board of Directors and its Vision Circle.
Peter, Anousheh, and Amir are just 3 of the many people behind the X Prize Foundation. These people, like innovative technology speakers, are constantly pushing the boundaries of what’s possible.