Adventurer Namira Salim achieved the historic milestone of becoming the first Pakistani to venture into space aboard Virgin Galactic’s fifth successful flight in five months, as announced by the US company.
A seasoned explorer, Salim had previously undertaken daring expeditions to both polar regions and parachuted over Mount Everest. She was among the early ticket buyers of billionaire Richard Branson’s space venture, dating back almost two decades.
“I cherish my title as the ‘first Pakistani astronaut’ – it’s akin to being a cherished national figure, perhaps even more special than being a princess,” Ms. Salim remarked in a 2012 interview with AFP.
Virgin Galactic also noted that Ms. Salim holds residency in both the UAE and Monaco.
On the “Galactic 04” journey, American Ron Rosano and Briton Trevor Beattie joined Namira Salim as passengers. The flight also included Beth Moses, a Virgin Galactic employee, and two pilots.
Virgin Galactic’s unique approach involves using a specialized twin-fuselage aircraft to transport the passenger vessel to a high altitude. Subsequently, the mother ship releases the spaceplane, which activates its thrusters, propelling it into space at speeds nearing Mach-3.
During the flight, passengers relish a brief period of weightlessness, affording them the opportunity to perform somersaults and admire the Earth’s curvature through the windows. The spacecraft then gently glides back to Earth, touching down a little over an hour after departing from Spaceport in New Mexico.