Namira Salim becomes first Pakistani to travel into space

Adventurer Namira Salim has become the first Pakistani to travel into space, riding aboard Virgin Galactic's fifth successful flight in five months, the US company announced.

"Astronaut 019 Namira Salim from Pakistan, marking the first person to fly to space from that country," Virgin Galactic said in a statement on Friday.

"Salim is also a resident of the United Arab Emirates and of Monaco."

Salim, who previously travelled to both poles and has also parachuted over Mount Everest, was among the first customers to buy a ticket with billionaire Richard Branson's space company after it was founded almost two decades ago.

"I love my title 'first Pakistani astronaut,' it's like being a very special princess of the country. Maybe nicer than being a princess," Salim told the AFP news agency back in 2012.

American Ron Rosano and Briton Trevor Beattie were also passengers on Friday's trip, dubbed "Galactic 04."

Beth Moses, a Virgin Galactic employee, and two pilots were also aboard.

"Three new astronauts journeyed to space today and brought back incredible memories and stories of their experience above the Earth," Michael Colglazier, CEO of Virgin Galactic, said.


Unlike traditional vertical launches into space, Virgin Galactic utilises a specialised, twin-fuselage aircraft to carry the passenger vessel high in the sky.

The mothership then releases the spaceplane, which in turn engages its thrusters to soar into space at speeds approaching Mach-3.

Passengers experience a few minutes of weightlessness, where they are free to perform somersaults and gaze out the window at the curvature of the Earth.

The craft then glided back down, landing just over an hour after takeoff from Spaceport in New Mexico.

Virgin Galactic competes in the "suborbital" space tourism sector with billionaire Jeff Bezos's company, Blue Origin, which has already sent 31 people into space using a vertical liftoff rocket.

But since an accident in September 2022 during an unmanned flight, Blue Origin's rocket has been grounded.

The investigation into the accident was closed at the end of September by the US aviation regulator, which requested the company make changes before its flights could resume.


Source: TRT