Namira Salim is set to make history as the first Pakistani to venture into space flight with Virgin Galactic. She is embarking on her space journey today, October 6. Expressing her excitement on social media, Salim said, “Proud to fly the national flag high in space Insha’Allah on October 6.”
Joining her on this remarkable journey are Trevor Beattie, a British advertising professional, Ron Rosano, a US astronomy educator, and Beth Moses, the chief astronaut instructor at Virgin Galactic.
Virgin Galactic had recently announced a one-day postponement, moving the space tourism flight to October 6. Salim is part of the Galactic 04 mission, Virgin Galactic’s fourth mission of 2023, and is one of three paying customers on board the VSS Unity spaceplane. The journey will take off from New Mexico’s Spaceport America, offering passengers several minutes of weightlessness and a view of Earth’s curvature against the backdrop of outer space, although they won’t reach orbit.
The VMS Eve will transport the trio out of this world, piloted by Pakistani-Canadian Jameel Janjua. Janjua, with over 4,000 flying hours in more than 45 vehicles, will be joining Kelly Latimer and CJ Sturckow in flying the spaceplane, and both vehicles will return to Spaceport America after the mission.
Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar ul Haq Kakar extended his congratulations to Namira Salim, recognizing her as the first woman from Pakistan to venture into space. He expressed pride in Pakistani women who continue to excel in various fields.
Namira Salim was among the first 100 individuals to purchase a ticket from Virgin Galactic in 2006, initially costing $200,000. However, the cost of her journey has since risen to $450,000. Salim, a seasoned adventurer, previously became the first Pakistani to visit both the North Pole in April 2007 and the South Pole in January 2008.