Anousheh Ansari is still writing posts on her space blog, and plans to continue to do so during her stay on the ISS. MSNBC reports that such space blogging, as well as planned podcasts from the station, won’t come cheap: the data/phone link costs $250,000. The X Prize Foundation is picking up the tab for the link (and is also hosting the blog); maybe they can recoup that by selling a lot of t-shirts at the X Prize Cup next month. A lot of t-shirts.
WFAA-TV in Dallas reports on a minor controversy associated with the flight, namely Ansari’s original plans to wear both the Iranian and US flags on her spacesuit. According to the report, both NASA and Roskosmos officials forbade Ansari from wearing an Iranian flag patch, citing growing tensions about Iran’s nuclear program. The agencies also wanted Ansari to cover the Iranian colors visible in her mission patch; that is “still up in the air.”
RSC Energia published some photos taken Wednesday during the crew’s inspection of their spacecraft and a press conference. In one photo a US flag patch, and only that, is visible on Ansari’s left sleeve. In another photo Ansari’s mission patch is visible on the right breast of her overalls; it doesn’t appear that the Iranian flag colors on it have been covered up.