Anousheh Ansari has kept a relatively low profile since returning to the Us last week, but on Wednesday she participated in her first interview since the flight, on The Oprah Winfrey Show. If you, like me, don’t watch Oprah regularly (meaning at all), the Ansari interview segment is available online. There are no great insights in this interview, although it’s still worth watching; it includes some video of her stay on the ISS, as well as launch and landing.
The Dallas Morning News interviewed Ansari Thursday, her first full day back home. The article notes that “her celebrity has forced a new reality that includes the need for security while in public and demands from media worldwide” (see what happens when you go on Oprah?) As for the Iranian flag controversy that came up before her flight, she said is was Russia, not the US State Department or NASA, that initially balked at including an Iranian flag on her overalls:
Mrs. Ansari said politics and policy challenged her optimism while she trained for her adventure. Russian officials asked her to remove a patch on her launch space suit with the Iranian flag.
“I think they were afraid of negative publicity,” Mrs. Ansari said. “I told them there will not be any negative publicity unless you make me take off my patch.”
She protested and wrote a letter asking NASA to intervene. The American space agency declined, and rather than jeopardize her lifelong dream, Mrs. Ansari said she dropped the issue. She blasted into space with one country’s patch – the U.S. flag – on her left shoulder.