Memorial Spaceflights

Reda Anderson

"An Inspiration"
1939 - 2012

Reda​'s greatest desire was to be an inspiration to others.

She was born in October of 1939 in Oxon Hill, MD to 1st generation Italian and 2nd generation German parents. Throughout her life that combination of passion and practicality/precision were evident. Her early years on the farm were tough including her having to sew her own clothing. Yearning for more, she left the farm at 17 to head west to the Bay Area in California. Ultimately, she passed away in October, 2012 at her home in Beverly Hills, CA.

Reda was fiercely independent and carved her own path. At one early point she was evicted from a flat after the landlord saw her pull up on a moped as he "didn't want that type of girl" living there. She was the first woman to be offered a manager position at Safeway which she declined; again planning for more. She put herself thorough college earning a degree in finance - often bringing her baby son to classes. Education was extremely important to her and for her son's early education she often paid more for private school than rent. She had been adventurous early saying "one of the stupidest things I've ever done was go to the beach in San Francisco to watch the 1964 tidal wave. I think I'm one of very​ few people that's seen the bottom of Seal Rock."

Her degree allowed her to transition to a bank where she focused on trusts and estates. She later earned a Masters in Taxation, went to work for the IRS, moved to DC eventually writing the internal IRS textbook on trusts as well as regularly teaching the IRS attorneys, eventually landing back in Southern California. While in SoCal, still working for the IRS as an appeals officer, she began flipping houses.

Again yearning for more - and again on the side - she began development of a small apartment building becoming if not the first, one of the first solo female developers in SoCal. When her contractor quit and her banker asked what she was going to do she replied "Same thing as a man" and took a leave of absence to work on the project. After success on that project, she declined to return from the leave of absence. Thus began her development career during which she built a number of multifamily and townhouse projects. While she enjoyed development, success there allowed her to pursue her true passion - travel and adventure.

Reda was an "honorary member" of the men's only LA Adventure's club at one point being awarded "Hero of the Year." She counted among her good friends Bob Gilliland (1st SR71 test pilot), Ralph White (Titanic Discovery team), and many others. In fact, the highlight of her adventures was "having tea on the deck of the Titanic" while in a MIR sub 12,500 FT below the Atlantic. She visited Africa several times; among them once with active hostilities in the immediate area and once being involved in a small plane crash with her 12 yearold granddaughter. She did, however, succumb to intense family pressure and not visit 150 miles from Kabul in October 2001. She led and participated in numerous 4WD trips around the world including a drive from Los Angeles to Peru as well as multiple trips to Mongolia. She loved driving through the desert or mountains, seeing some random road (forget topo maps) and saying “let’s see where this leads."

Her terrestrial pursuits were many, but she was always interested in aviation and took a particularly keen interest in space. She signed the first contract to go to space in a commercial (non government) vehicle. She’s done flight school, the Vomit Comet, appeared in Popular Science, The Robb Report, been featured in the book “The Rocketeers”, and was a regular speaker, panelist and interviewee on Space issues, as well as advised the FAA on legislation and regulation of Space Tourism. Sir Richard Branson has his arm around her at the Ansari X-Prize. She's even been asked by designers to consult on space tourists' flight suits. She wanted to be among the first to go to Mars fully knowing it was a one way trip.

She came a long way and was indeed an inspiration and will be missed by family and friends alike - especially by her son to whom she spoke every day and her granddaughters with whom she had a very special relationship.


Photo Captions (from top to bottom):

With RocketPlane (first commercial space ticket)

With Sir Richard and Paul Allen immediately after Space Ship One landing at the Ansari X-Prize

Again with Sir Richard at XPrize

Prior to her dive to the Titanic

With her very good friend, Ralph White (Titanic discovery team)

With her friend Burt Rutan

Mom on Space Show (regular guest)

With her good friend Bob Gilliland (first test pilot of the SR-71)


Participant Aboard:

Fulfill The Dream of Spaceflight

Contact us today to learn more about Memorial Spaceflights and to make reservations.

× Close

Subscription Result



Note: It is our responsibility to protect your privacy and we guarantee that your email address will be completely confidential. × Close