Namira Salim will finally fulfil her lifelong ambition of travelling to space when she and two other space tourists fly sub-orbitally on a Virgin Galactic mission, boosting the popularity of space travel.
Salim is making history with her spaceflight as is set to become the first female Pakistani and UAE resident to travel to space. Salim has been waiting almost two decades for her commercial spaceflight.
No less than Anwaar ul Haq Kakar, caretaker Prime Minister of Pakistan, wished her a safe voyage and praised her in an X post on Wednesday, saying: "By proving their mettle as trailblazers in multiple fields, Pakistani women are making the whole nation proud."
Salim responded to the tweet, saying: “Proud to fly the national flag high in space”.
Salim will be accompanied by Trevor Beattie, a British advertising professional, and Ron Rosano, a US astronomy educator. Beth Moses, the chief astronaut instructor at Virgin Galactic, will also be a part of the group.
On Tuesday, Virgin Galactic revealed that it had postponed its upcoming space tourism flight by one day, to Friday, October 6.
Salim is part of the Galactic 04, Virgin Galactic's fourth mission in 2023, and is one of the three paying customers sent into suborbital space and back on Virgin Galactic’s VSS Unity space plane.
Virgin's Unity will lift off from New Mexico’s Spaceport America.
The suborbital trajectory will allow passengers several minutes of weightlessness before returning to Earth and a view of the Earth's curvature against the backdrop of outer space as they will not be reaching orbit.
The trio will be taken out of this world on the VMS Eve, which will be piloted by Pakistani-Canadian Jameel Janjua who has over 4,000 flying hours in over 45 vehicles and will join Kelly Latimer and CJ Sturckow in flying the space plane.
Both vehicles will return to Spaceport America after the mission.
Salim was among the first 100 to purchase Virgin Galactic's ticket in 2006 for $200,000. The cost of her journey has since increased to $450,000.
Namira, a long-time adventurer, became the first Pakistani to visit both the North Pole in April 2007 and the South Pole in January 2008.
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