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Space Oddity

8:00 AM -- Anousheh Ansari just set a new benchmark for startup launch parties.

The former Sonus Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: SONS) executive's new venture is Plano, Texas-based home networking vendor Prodea Systems Inc. , which she launched Sunday evening from space.

Ansari, who sold Telecom Technologies to Sonus in 2000 for $550 million in stock, blasted off on a 10-day trip in a Russian Soyuz spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan Sunday night, becoming the first ever female space tourist.

And as she launched, so did her company, though early reports failed to mention whether the company's Earth-based launch party had any atmosphere...

A Prodea press release confirms Ansari is one of those people who just can't resist working while on vacation:

"On her 10-day mission, she will spend two days orbiting earth and eight days at the International Space Station. She will perform a series of experiments, including a live demonstration of Prodea Systems technology. Ansari is the fourth private explorer to visit space, and the first astronaut of Iranian descent."


Apparently there is some sightseeing involved, too.

But while Ansari's space trip is an out-of-this-world way to launch a company, it's an expensive one. According to the BBC, Ansari's trip will cost her about $20 million.

She must have sold her Sonus stock sooner rather than later, then. — Ray Le Maistre, Vacations Editor, Light Reading

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