Namira Salim, adventurer and 1st Pakistani astronaut has achieved a historic milestone as she became the first Pakistani to venture into space on a Friday. She was riding aboard Virgin Galactic’s fifth successful flight in a span of five months, according to an announcement from the US company.
Namira Salim, known for her previous expeditions to both the North and South Poles and her daring parachute jump over Mount Everest, was among the initial customers to purchase a ticket with billionaire Richard Branson’s space venture, nearly two decades after its inception.
Reflecting on her unique title as the “first Pakistani astronaut,” Salim expressed her fondness for it, stating, “I love my title ‘first Pakistani astronaut,’ it’s like being a very special princess of the country. Maybe nicer than being a princess,” as she conveyed to AFP in 2012.
Virgin Galactic disclosed that Salim holds residency in both Monaco and the United Arab Emirates, further solidifying her groundbreaking status. Consequently, she became not only the first person from Monaco but also the first Emirati woman to embark on a journey to space.
Accompanying Salim on Friday’s mission, named “Galactic 04,” were American Ron Rosano, Briton Trevor Beattie, Virgin Galactic employee Beth Moses, and two skilled pilots.
The spaceplane, a unique feature of Virgin Galactic’s approach, was transported to high altitudes by a specialized twin-fuselage aircraft. Subsequently, the spaceplane was released to engage its thrusters, propelling it into space at speeds nearing Mach-3.
During their brief but awe-inspiring journey, passengers experienced moments of weightlessness, allowing them to perform somersaults and marvel at the Earth’s curvature through the window.
Following this breathtaking experience, the craft gracefully descended, touching down just over an hour after departing from the Spaceport in New Mexico.
Virgin Galactic finds itself in competition with billionaire Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin in the burgeoning suborbital space tourism sector. Blue Origin had previously sent 31 individuals into space using a vertical liftoff rocket.
However, an unfortunate accident during an unmanned flight in September 2022 led to the grounding of Blue Origin’s rocket. The investigation into the incident was officially concluded at the end of September by the US aviation regulator, which stipulated that the company must implement changes before resuming its flights.
Via: Arab News Pakistan