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Dubai-based Pakistani astronaut to fly into space today – News

Namira Salim will make history by becoming the first female resident of the United Arab Emirates and the first space tourist from Pakistan.

Photo: @namirasalim/X

Published: Friday, October 6, 2023, 6:00 am

The day has finally come for Namira Salim to make her lifelong dream of going to space come true. At 6pm (UAE time) today (October 6), she and two other space tourists will travel suborbital on a Virgin Galactic flight, furthering the popularization of space tourism.

Salim, who has been waiting for almost two decades for commercial space flight, is making history by becoming the first female resident of the United Arab Emirates and Pakistan’s first space tourist.

None other than Anwaar ul Haq Kakar, Pakistan’s caretaker prime minister, wished him safe travels and success. He tweeted on Wednesday: Good luck Namira Salim @namirasalim. I wish you success as you are ready to make history on October 6 by becoming the first Pakistani woman to travel to space on #Galactic04. By proving themselves as pioneers in multiple fields, Pakistani women are making the entire nation proud.

Salim responded that she is “proud to fly the national flag high in #space.” She also represents the national flags of the United Arab Emirates and Monaco (as she is a long-time resident of these two countries) in today’s space flights.

Astronaut 019

Salim, who will be known as Virgin Galactic Astronaut 019, will be joined by Ron Rosano (Virgin Galactic Astronaut 017), who is another space tourist and astronomy educator from Muir Beach, California; and British citizen Trevor Beattie (Virgin Galactic Astronaut 018), advertising executive and founding partner, president and creative director of Beattie McGuinness.

Photos: supplied

Photos: supplied

The trio will be led by mission commander Kelly Latimer and pilot CJ Sturckow. he will be leading VSS Unity. Virgin Galactic Chief Astronaut Instructor Beth Moses will join the three private passengers in the cabin.

Three crew members and space tourists are scheduled to launch on a suborbital trajectory aboard Virgin Galactic’s reusable spaceplane, VSS Unity. Takeoff of Unity’s carrier aircraft, VMS Eve, is at 6:00 pm (UAE time) from Virgin Galactic’s Spaceport America in New Mexico.

On their way up, passengers will experience up to four times the force of Earth’s gravity, known as 4G. They will then enter near-zero gravity and experience four minutes of weightlessness aboard the VSS Unity spaceplane.

‘For my father’

Last week, Khaleej Times met Salim at his Dubai residence before leaving for the United States. She seemed relaxed and serene when she narrated the preparations and adventures she experienced before the flight. She was moved when she shared the inspiration for her dream of reaching space.

She said it was her late father, a former Pakistani army officer, who inspired her, and it is only fitting that her next flight would be dedicated to him. “My father was the one who first showed me the North Star. He taught me the constellations of the night sky for navigation purposes and inspired me, from a very young age, to reach for the stars,” Namira told Khaleej Times, while holding a brooch that she personally designed it in the shape of Ursa Minor or Ursa Minor.

“I grew up as a child in Pakistan looking at the night sky. And when we moved to the United Arab Emirates in the 1980s, I also spent my youth looking at the stars,” she added.

adventurous wanderer

Salim’s space dream dates back to 2006, when she became the first UAE resident to purchase a suborbital flight ticket for Sir Richard Branson’s space company. She paid $200,000, less than half the current reported price of $450,000 for a seat on a Virgin Galactic flight.

From then until now, he kept his adventurous side busy conquering the north and south poles. She also became the first Asian and the first Pakistani to skydive over Mount Everest.

For her achievements, Namira was recognized as the first Pakistani astronaut by the Pakistani government in 2006, and served as Pakistan’s honorary tourism ambassador the following year. She also became a peace activist and was awarded the ‘Tamgha-e-Imtiaz’ (Medal of Excellence) by the President of Pakistan in 2011.

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