Namira Salim will create history on Friday (today) when she will become the first Pakistani to reach the space on a Virgin Galactic plane.

“Proud to fly the national flag high in space Insha’Allah on October 6,” she said on social media ahead of her departure alongside three other space travellers.

The other two passengers are British advertising executive Trevor Beattie and Ameri¬can astronomy educator Ron Rosano. Beth Moses, Virgin Galactic’s chief astronaut ins¬tructor, will also join the trio.

It may be recalled that Virgin Galactic on Tuesday delayed the launch of space tourism mission by a day, to Friday, October 6.

“The slip will give our team an additional day to complete vehicle prep and checks,” they wrote on X, formerly twitter. “We look forward to taking to the skies (on Friday)!”

The upcoming mission, called Galactic 04, will see three paying customers sent into suborbital space and back on Virgin Galactic’s VSS Unity space plane.

 

The suborbital trajectory will allow passengers several minutes of weightlessness before returning to Earth. Though it doesn’t reach orbit, Unity will be high enough that passengers will be able to see the curvature of Earth against the backdrop of outer space.

Unity will lift off beneath the wings of its carrier plane, Virgin Mothership (VMS) Eve, from New Mexico’s Spaceport America.

Galactic 04 will be Virgin’s fourth commercial spaceflight endeavour, following similar flights in June, August, and September of this year.

In addition to Ms Salim, VMS Eve is also piloted by a Pakistani of Canadian origin, Jameel Janjua. He had completed over 4,000 flying hours in more than 45 different vehicles before he joined Virgin Galactic

Ms Salim was one of the first 100 people to buy a ticket with Virgin Galactic, having booked her ride in 2006. Back then, the price was $200,000; it has since risen to $450,000.

Namira, the founder and chairperson of the nonprofit Space Trust, is a longtime adventurer. According to her website, she’s the first Pakistani to visit both the North Pole (in April 2007) and the South Pole (in January 2008).

 

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